LONDON, England -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- If you ever doubted the popularity of poker in London for a moment, think again -- Poker is alive and thriving in London. Hundreds of poker enthusiasts descended upon Leicester Square yesterday as Bluff Europe Magazine held their 'Poker in the Park' event sponsored by the World Poker Tour® (WPT).
Greeted by celebrities, including WPT Board Member, Hollywood actress and poker player Mimi Rogers, players either partook in a series of play-for-fun mini-tournaments or honed their game with complementary poker tuition.
The inaugural event kicked off with Bluff Europe Magazine presenting a plaque to the city of London, officially recognising it as the #1 Poker Destination in Europe 2007. Labour Peer Lord Lipsey accepted the honour on behalf of the city:
"I am honoured to accept this award on behalf of the city of London," said Lord Lipsey, MP and Vice Chair, Parliamentary Betting & Gaming Group. "London has truly established itself as THE poker destination in the 21st Century. The opportunities to play here now are even greater with the World Series of Poker Europe coming to London in September. We look forward to welcoming that. Additionally, I firmly believe the 2005 Gambling Act, also coming this autumn, will move the UK in the right direction. People should have the right to spend their own money as they wish. That freedom is the British way. Thank you very much for doing my City this honour today," Lord Lipsey continued.
Clouds gave way to sunshine as novel and seasoned poker players of all types came out on their lunch breaks. Curious tourists took a break from the sights of London for quick lessons, and a few die hard fans even admitted to taking the day off work to join Bluff Europe and WPT for a spot of open-air poker. The intensity of play could have rivaled some of the biggest pot tournaments.
"The event accomplished exactly what we set out to do," added Editor-in-Chief of Bluff Europe, Michael Caselli. "We proved that poker is a massive sport, maybe even bigger than we originally thought. The response from the public has been immense. There's a real hunger for poker in this city, and the event proved that London is the place to be for players."
Steve Lipscomb, WPT president, founder and CEO, said, "The World Poker Tour is honoured to be here, and we appreciate Bluff Europe magazine helping to make this event happen."
"Poker in the Park was a great way to bring poker to fans in London. We are honoured to have been part of this event. I just want to take a moment to reflect as we launch WorldPokerTour.com at the same time London receives this prestigious award. It's only appropriate that the show that launched the international poker phenomenon is here. WPT is a place where you can go to learn and play poker and really get a chance to potentially win life changing money and to be a superstar on television. "
'Poker in the Park' pictures can be viewed online.