By all accounts, the 2016 Cash Game Festival London at Aspers Casino Westfield Stratford City – an event sponsored by us – was a huge success. Leading up to the festival, more than 250 players reserved their spots, with hundreds more coming in off the streets to jump in the action.
The five-day cash game extravaganza peaked with 28 tables as cash games, ranging from £1/£1 to £25/£50, ran non-stop for 120 hours. Among the games players were No-Limit Hold'em, Pot-Limit Omaha, Six-Plus Hold'em, Sviten Special, Open Face Chinese, and more.
Cash vs Tournaments and a Whole Lot of Fun
"Where I think it is very good for the operator is compared to a festival of tournaments, an operator makes more money off cash games," said Marketing and Gaming Consultant Warren Lush. "So, it makes business sense. In other words, I believe the idea behind the Cash Game Festival is excellent."
Not surprisingly, the festival, which was streamed on Twitch, attracted some notable players. They included Mikal Blomlie, Mikko Petteri Turtiainen, Leo "ISILDRooN" Nordin, Silje Nilsen, World Series of Poker bracelet winner Tomas Alenius, former Premier League footballer Jimmy Kébé, 2014 WSOP Main Event runner-up Felix Stephensen, and former child chess prodigy, Jeff Sarwer.
"The festival itself is really fun, and the games are really fun," said Sarwer. "I played for the first time Six-Plus Hold'em. We played the pineapple version. While I am familiar Sviten Special, and I haven't played it in a casino yet, so that was really fun."
Big Action, Bigger Pots
According to PokerNews, who was on hand to report the action, two of the biggest pots from the festival took place at the £25/£50 No-Limit Hold'em tables. In the first, which took place Friday night, a big three-way all-in pot saw Javier Perez Estevez win more than £20,000. His pocket aces held up against Andrew Paul Baar and David Pedro Lega, who held pocket queens and kings respectively. The trio ran it twice, but the bullets held on both runs to give Estevez the win.
Then on Saturday, Romania's Vasile Cosmin Stancu and Matthew Moss squared off in a big pot that began when Stancu raised to £175 holding the Qd-Qs and Moss, who held ace-queen in the blinds, three-bet to £1,600. Stancu made the call, which ballooned the pot up to £3,800 before the flop came down Qc-9c-8h.
Moss checked his top pair; Stancu bet £3,200, and Moss called to see the 10h turn. Action went check-check and then Moss bet £4,300 on the 7s river. Stancu called with his set and was pushed a hefty £18,100 pot.
More than Just Poker...
Another highlight of the festival was the popular table-tennis tournament, one that saw Sweden's Michael Renato Graucob defeat Estonia's Maret Komarova.
"Winning the ping pong title in itself is a win," Graucob told PokerNews after claiming victory after three sets. "It was one of the greatest things I have done so far. Hopefully, I will keep winning them and maybe even next time I will win money playing poker."
In addition to the cash action and extracurricular activities, event organisers offered special customer bonuses throughout the five days, including a high-hand bonus of £200 every couple of hours. Whether they won, lost or broke even, it seemed everyone had a great time.
"What I particularly like about the Cash Game Festival is that it's offering something new the poker world really needs at the moment," said reigning European Poker Media Person of the Year Marc Convey, who served as lead commentator on the live stream. "It's been really good building a relationship with the organisers, and I'm really glad they've got me on board … I'm really looking forward to joining everyone in Malta, and hopefully, we can build on the success here in London and make it even bigger and better."
The next Cash Game Festival will take place in Malta from June 8-12.