The vision of the International Stadiums Poker Tour (ISPT) finally materializes at Wembley Stadium and it’ a sight to behold as Alban Juen takes the chip lead on Day 2A.
The last time I was at Wembley Stadium was back in 1992 when Manchester United beat Nottingham Forest to win the Football League Cup with a sweet left foot strike from Brian McClair. I was surrounded by over 76,000 people on that day and the only thing I kept thinking was, ‘man this looks smaller than it does on TV.’
I would never have imagined that it would be poker that would drag me back here 21-years later. This time when I walked onto the hallowed turf I thought to myself, ‘man this place looks huge.’ The 76,000 fans were gone, but it didn’t take any of the majesty away from this amazing stadium.
“It’s the most beautiful poker tournament I have ever played,” Said Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi.
It didn’t matter where you hailed from; Wembley touched everyone today. It was a classic case of you needed to be there to understand the magnitude of it. The complaints about marketing gaffs and ever changing minds had quickly vanished as the players started to understand the magnitude of these things.
The poker village looked like a scene from the future. Six large inflatable domes protecting the players from the searing British heat (I’m not joking either). It looked like a scene from a Martian colony after a decade of 3D printing. Each dome was represented by a famous footballer of the past, and there were a few famous sportsmen plying their trade underneath the bubbles as well.
Boric Becker, David Benyamine, Tony G, Michael Mizrachi, Anton Wigg, Ramzi Jelassi, Freddy Deeb and Michael Tureniec were involved with a top heavy field of quality Brits including Joe Beevers and the Boatman brothers from the Hendon Mob, Chris Brammer, JP Kelly, Rhys Jones, Toby Lewis, Tom Middleton and Sam Trickett.
319-players took part in Day 2A and it was a Frenchman who took the chip lead at the end of the night. Alban Juen dumping 367,500 into a plastic bag as we all headed out of Wembley before the clock struck midnight. The top five chip counts look a little something like this.
Top Five Chip Counts
1. Alban Juen – 367,500
2. Leigh Wiltshire – 326,900
3. Bruno Launais – 305,300
4. Rhys Jones – 250,000
5. Fabian Stache – 210,000
Players who busted from Day 2A have the opportunity to re-enter on Day 2B today, where the organizers are hoping to see a much bigger field than the one that graced this iconic stadium for the first time in the history of poker.