GUKPT Goliath Poker tournament
What could be better than spending 12 hours on the green baize, pitting wits against the oth …. wait a minute, 12 hours ? Holy crap, that’s a long time ….
So the Goliath is a huge poker tournament run by Grosvenor Casinos at their Coventry G Casino, which is presumably the only one big enough to stuff in 60 plus poker tables in one sitting. It’s a multi day affair, so they have 6 “Day one” events, which trim down the players from about 3,000 to a more manageable few hundred for day two (sensibly, the Saturday) until just a handful are left for the Gala event that is day three. As a concept, it’s great – a World Series scale event with an affordable buy-in (of £120). Plenty of people picked up their entry ticket through online satellites or in club smaller competitions, so it’s not as if you have to shell out the whole lump in one go.
Given that I’m not a patient person at the best of time, I drove up there on a fairly quiet Tuesday (aka Day 1c) and paid my wedge. It’s a really well organised affair, with signs everywhere and a particularly friendly team. That was pretty handy in all fairness, there was a wide variety of types of punter there from your archetypal poker dullard complete with hoody, shades and Ipod, to your 11am JagerBomb dropping wide boy. To be honest, that’s part of what makes the whole thing so much fun – there’s not much enjoyable for a recreational poker player surrounded by sullen poker nerds who do nothing other than talk in about the previous hands and their online records – note they say “standard” and “sick” a lot – so having a few normal people about, who are looking for a laugh, is pretty good fun.
Perhaps the only drawback for the recreational player is simply the time spent on the tables. Maybe that’s the difference between a serious player and an amateur such as myself, but with a noon kickoff and a midnight finish, that’s an awful lot of concentration and I started to lose the will to live. I even generally had a decent set of table mates – just the one table for a half hour or so spend every second re-analysing the previous hand, to the extent I mentally designed elaborate ways to murder them all with a stick – but by 11pm I was ready to knock it off.
I started to take a few more risks, and was delighted to get my fairly crappy stack all in on a 50/50, with the reasoning that I wasn’t going to go all the way back to Coventry unless I had a stack worth playing, so I might as well go big or get KO’d. The luck went against me, but then again I had tickets for the test match on the Saturday, so all was well.
A good experience all round, then, although an exhausted drive back to London wasn’t helped by three sets of midnight roadwork delays – thanks very much to the authorities for that one. All things considered if you like poker and want to take a shot at the big time – with a £250K guaranteed prize pool – it’s the biggest event in Europe and needs to be seen.