Thursday, 31 May 2012

Poker In London 7-Days A Week (Sometimes For Girls Only)

By Laura Collins.

“Snap!”


“Rummy!”


“Cheat!”

This is card playing lingo that I understand.

“Two paired on the river”


“Ace in the hole”


“The chips are down”

This is card playing lingo that I don’t understand, or, at least, I didn’t until I attended Poker Night for Women at The Lucky Pig in Fitzrovia last week.

Prior to gaining education in the way of poker, my card game knowledge was somewhat basic, with games such as Pairs, Go Fish and Whist in my repertoire. Mastering poker was therefore well overdue, although, for me, it has always been one of those games that I’ve dismissed as something I’d never be able to play. I was convinced I wouldn’t have the patience or ability to learn but it seems I was doubting myself too much, and the Poker Night for Women proved this.

This monthly event is ideal for those ladies of London who want to learn and play poker. It’s a chance for girls across the city to get together to see if they’ve got what it takes to become the next poker champion. They can learn the rules, enjoy a few cocktails, and have a natter in a non-intimidating atmosphere; perfect for poker beginners.
 It was certainly perfect for me and thanks to Tim, our very patient poker guide from Poker Vision, I managed to learn the basic rules of Texas Hold Em Poker within a few hours. I played a number of games and even managed to win a couple of hands. Admittedly, I am no hustler and my poker face (more of a confused, worried look) leaves much to be desired, but that’s not to say that I can’t try becoming one. And if I can do it, anybody can.


Luckily, it seems this can be done fairly easily because poker nights are rife across London. Budding poker champions can practice their card playing skills almost any night of the week, with nights open to both males and females of all levels.

The poker playing week can begin on a Sunday at the Cross Keys pub near Ravenscourt Park. Poker games are held here on a weekly basis and start around 8pm. There is usually a £10 buy in and normally a few games can be played throughout the evening due to small player numbers.

On a Monday, hustler wannabes can take residence at The Goat in Boots pub (right) in Chelsea. Every week, a poker evening is held in the venue’s upstairs bar, the 333 Sports and Cocktail Bar. The night starts at 8pm and there is a £5 buy in. The winner takes all. Every level of player is welcome and the top players can be entered into the London finals tournament.

Poker fanatics can continue playing the following evening at The Samuel Pepys Bar and Restaurant near Mansion House and the banks of the River Thames. Poker nights are held here every Tuesday, although advanced booking is required as is a minimum bar spend.

The fun doesn’t have to stop mid week because a poker night is held in the North Nineteen Steak and Ale House in Holloway on Wednesday nights. This weekly event starts at 8pm, but make sure you arrive early to ensure you’re sat down and ready to play.

Thursday nights can be spent at The Furzedown pub in Streatham where poker is rather a big deal (excuse the pun), and is organised by Pollards Hill Poker Club. The pub houses seven LED lit, 96 inch poker tables capable of sitting ten players, so you won’t be short of opponents. The games are traditional pub poker club leagues consisting of several live poker tournaments. The evening starts at 7.30pm and beginners are welcome.

For a less intense evening that has a broader focus, perhaps try the casino night at Yager Bar (video below) in the City of London. Held on the last Thursday of every month this event offers a variety of games and starts around 7pm.



Remember, if you see a girl with a confused look on her face it’s most certainly me trying my hardest to hustle you. Let the game commence; may the best man or woman, win.

To discover more bars and pubs in London that offer a variety of games, click here.

The Goat in Boots image courtesy of Flickr user Ewan-M.

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