UK Online Gambling October

As the days grow shorter and the temperature drops, people have a strong urge to head indoors, so you would think that the poker action would heat up in the UK, but historically speaking this has not been the case, with October one of the quieter months in UK poker.

However, that all changed in 2004 when the European Poker Tour (EPT) was launched with one of their key stops being an October visit to London.

In this installment of This Month in UK Poker History we’ll take a look at all of the big moments in EPT London history, as well as one of the first major online gaming acquisitions, which occurred way back in 2004.

For UK players who are as interested in playing poker as reading about it – why not check out a free money offer from Sky Poker or Bet365 no deposit bonus offer?

Sportingbet acquires Paradise Poker in 2004

Before online poker companies were publicly traded on the world’s largest stock exchanges, and before there were mega mergers like Party Gaming and bWin, or Full Tilt Poker and PokerStars, we had the sale of Paradise Poker to Sportingbet for a whopping $297.5 million in 2004.

At the time of the sale, Paradise Poker was the cat’s meow (or the bee’s knees if that folksy saying is more agreeable to you) in the poker world. Paradise was at the top of the online poker world in terms of traffic, and was one of the most popular online poker rooms thanks to their awesome software that let you put virtual food and drinks on a side table next to your screen-name, not to mention their great Seven-Card-Stud action –yeah, online poker was in a bit of a different place back then.

In the end the purchase of Paradise Poker proved to be one of the great follies in the still short history of online poker, as the site was unable to keep up with the likes of Party Poker, PokerStars and all of the other new players, and went downhill faster than Alberto Tomba.

For the nostalgia-minded, you’ll be happy to know that Paradise Poker is still alive and kicking in the world of online poker, currently operating on the International Poker Network (IPN), which is one of the lowest trafficked networks in online poker. Considering the state of the other early online poker standouts –Ultimate Bet, Planet Poker, and even Party Poker—I think a fitting line would be: Oh how the mighty have fallen…

2009 EPT London sets UK attendance record

In 2009 the European poker scene was booming, the WSOP Europe Main Event had just drawn a crowd of 608 players, but this was nothing compared to the EPT London’s turnout just a month later. The 2009 EPT London Main Event drew a record crowd of 730 players, and the £3.5 million prize-pool was also among the biggest in UK poker history.

The record was short-lived, and was bested the following year, when an incredible 848 players registered for the EPT London Main Event. 2010 is still the high-water mark, as attendance dropped off dramatically in 2011 –I’ve been told that something significant happened on April 15, 2011, but have yet to confirm this #sarcasm.

Here is a look at EPT London attendance over the years:

  • 2004: 175 entries

  • 2005: 242 entries

  • 2006: 398 entries

  • 2007: 392 entries

  • 2008: 596 entries

  • 2009: 730 entries

  • 2010: 848 entries

  • 2011: 691 entries

  • 2012: 647 entries

Benny Spindler wins the 2011 EPT London Main Event

As you’ll see below, the EPT London has crowned quite a few big-name champions, but few poker players have ever used a tournament win as a launching pad to better effect than German poker pro Benny Spindler, whose 2011 EPT London victory was just the beginning of a terrific run that saw Spindler win the 2012 EPT San Remo High-Roller tournament, finish second in the GCOP High-Roller in the Czech Republic in early 2013, and a 6th place finish in the WSOP APAC Main Event earlier this year.

Spindler not only produced results, he also became a well-known name in the poker world, mainly on the back of his EPT London win.

Spindler’s career tournament earnings sit at nearly $4 million according to the Hendon Mob.

More historic UK poker moments in October

Past PokerStars EPT London Winners

This space is usually reserved for birthdays and important anniversaries, but since there aren’t any notable birthdays this month I’ve decided to keep with the EPT London theme and list the former EPT London Champions, beginning with John Shipley back in 2004:

  • Season 1 (2004) Champion: John Shipley

  • Season 2 (2005) Champion: Mark Teltscher

  • Season 3 (2006) Champion: Victoria Coren

  • Season 4 (2007)Champion: Joseph Mouawad

  • Season 5 (2008)Champion: Michael Martin

  • Season 6 (2009)Champion: Aaron Gustavson

  • Season 7 (2010)Champion: David Vamplew

  • Season 8 (2011) Champion: Benny Spindler

  • Season 9 (2012)Champion: Ruben Visser

For a great look at these players EPT London exploits and to see what they are up to now I highly recommend this article from