The Authority on Gambling Since 1977 - State of Nevada Honors Gambling Times - Versión Española


Europoker and the Blokes from Down Under
European Poker
by Nic Szeremeta

Crocodile Billy Argyros and his famous hatWhile most American players seem to be content to stay at home to play, many Europeans have adopted the “have bankroll—will travel” attitude. Anywhere in Euroland is not more than a couple of hours flight from anywhere else and low fare airlines travel has cut travel costs. English players in the know are making weekend Poker trips to the Slovenian town of Nova Gorica where the Park Casino has some rip-roaring action. The catalyst for this is Irish airline Ryanair opening up a route from Stansted airport near London to Trieste. The round trip can be had for around £60.

The Eurostar train service under the English Channel means that Londoners can be in Paris in three hours. Leave work on Friday evening and be in action at theACF Club on the Champs Elysees before supper.

The Australasian Open PokerChampionships were staged at the Crown Casino, Melbourne and several raiding parties from Europe made the trip. Half a dozen turned out from Ireland, another ten or so from England, and a handful from Austria, Belgium and Poland. This was a significant number as the 10,000-mile journey involved over twenty hours in a 747 and mind-numbing jet lag on arrival.

This year’s Australian event was a dress rehearsal for a much bigger affair—the Aussie Millions tournament in January 2003. The globetrotting tournament director, Keith Sloan, is targeting Europe as a source of participants. To further this aim, Crown Casino is sponsoring the European Poker Rankings to the tune of 50,000 Australian dollars—the irony of which will be lost on few. Tournament organizers and poker operators in Europe have long been seeking sponsorship in their own backyards but it has taken a casino the other side of the planet to ante up some real money. The ranking list leaders will collect their prizes in the form of tournament seats at the Aussie Millions and the expenses of getting there.

Another promotion will also guarantee the Brits attendance in Melbourne next January. An eleven-a-side heads up match will be contested between England and Australia with A$100,000 per team as the side bet. The match is being billed as the Poker Ashes—a take off of the ongoing test match series between the two countries’ cricket teams. Apart from the money, the teams will be competing for some ashes, respectfully held in an urn. The ashes are of Crocodile Billy Argyros’s hat!

How it came about was that when Billy (see pic) came over to the World Heads Up Championships in Vienna last June he came up against Londoner Barney Boatman, a member of the Hendon Mob—a group of four playing companions. After losing to Billy heads up, Barney threw out a challenge: the Hendon Mob would take on Australia in a heads up match during the Melbourne happening and if the English side won Billy would have to burn his hat.

The match duly took place, the Hendon Mob won 3-1 and, as well as collecting A$10,000, demanded that Billy stick to his promise. Now this was not any old hat—it was Billy’s trademark, made in the form of a crocodile, which he had been sporting at the World Series for the past ten years as well as elsewhere in the Poker village.

“I’ve never seen one like it and I don’t know where I’ll get another,” he groaned as he watched it go up in flames. The poker management team at the Crown knew a good marketing opportunity when they saw one and invited Aussie cricket star Shayne Warne along to roast the hat on a barbecue. Of course the newspapers and TV were there, resulting in coverage of the bonnet burning and Poker pictures in the Australian media.

The Hendon Mob will have the responsibility of choosing an England team for 2003 to go for a repeat win. Hopefully, the journey next year will be less arduous. Some enterprising Europeans are hoping to charter a jumbo jet, turning the plane’s first class section into a poker room to run satellites on the way over.

Back to Playing Strategy | More Nic Szeremeta Columns | Mail this Article to a Friend

Blackjack  |  Slots  |  Poker  |  Roulette  |  Craps  |  Baccarat  |  Keno

Poker News
Info: Poker Tournaments | Card Room Directory

Visit Poker Player and sign up for the newsletter.

Join the thousands that get the inside scoop on poker and gambing.

© 1977 - 2010 Gambling Times Inc. & Green Room Media Inc. All rights reserved. Reproduction in whole or in part without written permission is prohibited.