Europoker and the Blokes from Down Under
by Nic Szeremeta
most American players seem to be content to stay at home to play, many
Europeans have adopted the have bankrollwill 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
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 years Australian event was a dress rehearsal for a much bigger
affairthe 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 dollarsthe 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 Ashesa 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 Argyross 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 Moba 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
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 hatit was Billys 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.
Ive never seen one like it and I dont know where Ill
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
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 planes first class section into a poker room to
run satellites on the way over.
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