London European Poker Masters Tournaments
The maiden event of the European Poker Masters had to be to be real eye-catcher, ensuring that the remainder of the tour would enjoy the viewership and popularity dreamt of by the organisers, Nieboer and Hopkins, who had literally put life and limb on the success of the venture.
The invitational event had a buy-in of £2000 and attracted the unsurpassed heroes of the tables with the UK, and possibly Europe, getting its first taste of the tactics and skills of the best in the business from the United States. Boasting a total of more than 30 WSOP bracelets between them Eric Seidel, Gus Hansen, John Juanda, Tony G, Jennifer Harman and Phil Ivey took to the felt tables of the Fifty Club in St James, London for the first showdown of the newly invented EPM.
‘Fifty London’ is the epitome of elegance and majesty and is one of the most celebrated casinos in London. Originally opened as a gentleman’s club, ‘Fifty’ has re-invented itself as a club-casino with sumptuous restaurants, bars and the fabled gaming room which was once the haunt of the Duke of Wellington, Benjamin Disraeli and the notorious Comte D’Orsay an inveterate dandy and friend to Lord Byron.
The club was originally opened to the public in 1827 and soon became known as ‘the Ascot of gambling’. It boasts four floors of upscale bars and eateries and the gaming room is absolutely unique. The walls are adorned with custom made silk coverings in the colour of Dom Perignon, and the gaming tables are made from solid mahogany. Games on offer include Black Jack, single zero American Roulette, three and five card Poker and Punto Banco.
The glittering array of poker pros included one man who will best be remembered for his adeptness with the football, West Ham and England striker Teddy Sheringham. He showed enormous potential and claimed a very respectable 12th place finish. He was not one of the early casualties, which oddly enough included John Gale, Allen Cunningham and ‘the Mouth’ Matusow.
After twelve hours of intense concentration the successful eight moved onto the final table which included the fabulous Phil Ivey – arguably the finest poker player in the world with five WSOP bracelets in his closet already – and Gus Hansen, a WPT poker player of stature with four WPT titles under his belt. Marc Goodwin joined the throng as chip leader and it was soon heads-up time between Goodwin and Hansen. In one of the finest fight backs the game has ever seen, Hansen managed to claim the inaugural EPM trophy and a cool £53 600 in prize money after nearly losing all his chips in a stand-off with Goodwin.
- Gus Hansen – £53 600
- Marc Goodwin – £26 800
- Melissa Hayden – £13 400
- Jeff Buffenbarger – £10 720
- Willie Tann – £9 380
- Nathan Lee – £8 040
- Phil Ivey – £6 700
- Charalambos Xanthos – £5 360