Major steps forward in return to live poker as 888poker celebrates successful conclusion of its London Series
Major live poker tournaments in Europe remain on hiatus as the latest wave of the COVID-19 pandemic still has a firm grip on the industry. Most of the big operators fear their potential return to live action, but a few are treading cautiously in this direction and the latest to take the first big steps was 888poker. From January 6 to 17, 2022, the popular 888poker INHABIT the series returned to London and was a resounding success.
The operator has returned to The Poker Room – formerly known as The Vic – in the heart of London for 12 days of live poker. Once the last river card was dealt, the series ended with £1,032,168 in prize pools awarded in nine tournaments. These events attracted a total of 1,398 entries and kicked off the brand’s 20th anniversary year with a bang.
888poker’s first stops on the live poker circuit date back to 2015 and all events through 2020 have taken place at Aspers Casino Westfield in Stratford. In October 2021, the 888poker INHABIT London Weekend moved to the Vic and only returned to the same location a few months later.
During the recent London series, the operator unveiled British boxer Chris Eubank Jr. as its new cultural ambassador, which is starting its great anniversary year with a historic partnership. The world middleweight champion has been a fan of the game for several years and has previously competed in high-stakes cash game competitions. put pen to paper and signing big-name celebrities and sports stars has definitely become a trend in the poker industry and 888 followed suit.
The hospitality venue in London itself is one of the most well-known casinos in the city and in England. The festival came out of the gate with promising numbers as the £444 Opening Event attracted a field of 581 entries and created a prize pool of £232,400.
It was the third most expensive event on the schedule and the next highlights followed soon after. In the £2,200 High Roller, Jamie O’Connor dominated a field of 93 entries and won the biggest share of the Prize pool of £186,000.
However, all eyes were on £888 Main Event, which shook an incredible 642 entries on five days of departure. Only 122 runners made it to Day 2 and top 68 finishers locked in part of £513,600 in cash prizes. As usual, the conclusion of the tournament was also broadcast on the 888poker Twitch Channel,
Unibet Poker ambassador and former Irish Open champion, Ian Simpson, reached the final tables in both £2,200 High Roller and the £888 Main Event but failed to lift the trophy. Simpson had to settle for 5th place and £19,520, while regular London Bhavin Khatri went on to claim victory for a salary worth £126,340.
It was certainly a successful live poker streak for the global operator, which has also been affected by the ongoing pandemic. Typically four 888poker INHABIT shutdowns would take place every year, but this has not been the case in the past two years. In 2020, full stops in Madrid and Tallinn were accompanied by two Weekend series in London and Sochi.
With live poker still suspended for the first half of 2021, 888poker hosted the WPTDeepStacks festival on its global platform. At the same time, it broadcast the Iberia edition on the Spanish and Portuguese network as well as the Italian edition on its own bounded platform.
The operator again traveled to Russia in July 2021 for another 888poker INHABIT stopover in Sochi. In cooperation with poker party, they also returned to Bucharest in August 2021 to conclude the previous year with two of the usual four flagship festivals.
Besides their own major tournament series, 888 has also co-sponsored regional live poker events in Italy and Spain. One of them, National Circuit of Poker (CNP888), will host the last stage of the current season from January 21 to 30 at the Casino Gran Madrid.
Regarding the global 888poker INHABIT series is affected, no further events have yet been announced for the remainder of 2022. For now, the operator’s main focus in its anniversary year belongs to its online poker platform. The Ace the Slopes Freeroll promotion launched on January 12 and will run through April, while the XL Winter Series started on January 16 and runs through the end of the month.