Poker in the UK - The Number Three Poker-Playing Country in the World!
That statistic above may surprise you - that the United Kingdom holds the third position in the rankings of all the poker-playing nations across the globe (according to Betfair anyway), but it really shouldn't. True, these figures are influenced by the fact that United States players are thwarted in their online poker playing as so few sites currently accept US-based players, but it's been known for a long time that British people love to have a bit of a gamble, so there's no real reason to suspect that UK players wouldn't seize upon the gambling opportunities offered by poker and its many, many variants.
This hasn't always been the case though. Although poker grew in popularity at the same pace in the late 1800s and early 1900s as it did in the States, there came a sudden drop in the game's appeal in the 1950s. Poker became known as a seedy game, one that was practiced by gangsters, swindlers and card-sharps. If "law-abiding" people sat down to a game of cards, it was more than likely to be the quintessentially British game of Bridge, fun games such as Rummy or Cribbage, or simple family games like Newmarket and Old Maid.
Like many things, the arrival of the internet changed everything. Poker rooms had begun to spring up in the United States, leading to a rise in interest in the game, and especially in tournaments such as the WSOP. The new-ish UK TV channel Channel 4 were always keen to introduce new TV concepts to the viewing public, and in 1999 launched Late Night Poker, in which poker pros played alongside celebrities.
The pace of the growth of poker accelerated when Texas Hold'em Poker was introduced to the United Kingdom - a game that had been previously almost unheard of in Britain, let alone played. Today there are many dozens of sites across the internet where UK-based players can get their fill of poker-based action. Here I list a few of the best:
William Hill Poker
Full Flush Poker
The UK has yet to provide a world-beating poker superstar, but surely it's only a matter of time (and if you keep honing your poker talents at the sites I have listed, then that person could be you!). The closest the UK has to a genuine poker world champion is Sam Trickett from East Retford in Nottinghamshire, whose live tournament winnings reached close to $20,000,000 in February 2014, placing him fifth on the world all-time poker money list. The UK ladies are no stranger to the poker table as well - Liv Boeree from Kent won the 2010 European Poker Tour, whilst TV presenter Victoria Coren-Mitchell became the first-ever two-time winner of the European Poker Tour in 2014. Keep practicing if you want to join Sam, Liv or Victoria at those money-filled tournament final tables!