By Marissa Davison
LONDON (Reuters) – A poker tournament featuring a 1 million pound ($1.2 million) buy-in – a record according to organizers – started in London on Thursday, with 54 players from around the world competing for the 19 million pound first prize.
Eleven players will walk away with winnings and the remaining 43 will lose their buy-in during the three-day Triton Million event, which is part of the Triton Poker Super High Roller Series held at the London Hilton hotel.
The players will pay an additional 50,000 pounds entry fee that will go to charity, organizer Triton said.
Triton Poker Series touring director Luca Vivaldi said the tournament had been designed to have a balance of recreational poker enthusiasts and top professionals.
Some of the world’s best-known recreational players had been invited to take part, he said, and they could register a guest, who was likely to be a top professional, to play too.
Professional player Jason Koon from the United States said he would try to exploit some of the recreational players for any mistakes they made.
“But against the tougher competition, poker players play more of a defensive strategy where we just try not to be exploited,” he said.
“I’m not feeling the pressure whatsoever,” he said. “I’ve played stakes this big for a very long time.”
But for Wai Kin from Malaysia it was a different story – his first time playing such a big event. “I hope the pressure doesn’t get to me,” he said.
(Writing by Paul Sandle; editing by Stephen Addison)