I’m in London this week on business so a couple of my co-workers drug me out to the Gutshot Poker Club on Clerkenwell Road for lunch. This is the infamous London poker room owned by Derek Kelly who challenged the UK courts that poker was a skill game and was thus exempt from the gaming act. It is also where 2005 WSOP sweetheart Tiffany Williamson won her entry into the main event.

Being from Los Angeles and a frequent visitor to Las Vegas I was expecting a proper card room. Gutshot is anything but. You walk in and there are computer monitors all over the place. People are seated in front of a keyboard playing online poker . . . in a poker room. I had to become a “member” and pay a £3 fee as well as sign a involuntary tipping agreement which basically said I had to pay the house a percentage of any wins.

We came for lunch so we ordered from the bar. It’s a cramped space and we had to fight to find a place to sit to eat.

There was a tournament starting at 2pm with a £20 buyin so the three of us bought in and finished lunch. I can’t say that they run a smooth operation but they try. They use round tables so every table had the same confusion of people trying to figure out where the 1 seat was and then all the seats numbers that followed which delayed things a bit. It’s also a deal your own place so the staff simply resolve disputes and yell out when the blinds have gone up.

I had one guy at my table who had a laptop and was playing online poker and playing in the tournament at the same time. In LA they kick you off the table for taking a phone call.

Tournament started with about 50 players. I went out in 12th. Blinds were $250/$500 and I had about $2000 in front of me. MP limps and I’m on the BB with ATs. I push. He calls with A4s. Not only does he hit his 4 but he also pulls the flush so I’m sent to the rail. Oh well. That’s poker.

If you’re ever in London it’s worth checking out.