The Gutshot Poker Club is located in London on Clerkenwell Road, a quick walk from the Barbican Tube stop, left on Aldersgate past an Asian restaurant, then left again on Clerkenwell. There really may not be a place like it in the entire world. The Gutshot is the kind of club that W.C. Fields would appreciate. It isn't a posh, elegant establishment like the Borgata or the Bellagio. No, this is a card player's dive with a mix of daily tourneys, dealer and self-deal tables, and tough Pot-Limit Holdem cash games. The Gutshot hit American poker's radar when qualifier Tiffany Williamson, a native of South Carolina practicing law in London, turned her £20 into $400k with a 15th place finish in the 2005 World Series Main Event.
This year, a contingent of 24 players landed in Las Vegas, ready to duplicate Williamson's feat. Nine of these players have seats courtesy of satellites at the Gutshot. Helena Gannon plays weekly at the Gutshot and qualified like her peers did: winning a freeroll with £5 rebuys, which qualified her for a £200 month ending qualifier, which got her to the Main Event. These aren't professional poker players, just acquaintances and friends gathering nights to play some poker. Gannon's day job is that of a publican, Moshe Ash is in IT as is Rod Davies. Brian Hallows drives a London cab and trains racing greyhounds, and you'll also find William Dick in his cab. "I always play at the Gutshot," said Dick. "Most of us have played cards forever."
For Dick, his expectations couldn't have been too high. "I've really been running bad recently, but since I landed here, I've started winning," he said. When asked how they've prepared for the Main Event, Davies said, "I've played as many big tournaments as I could at the Gutshot." Moshe had a different regimen. "I've been running up and down steps like Rocky so I'll be ready. I've also been reading Harrington's book, and hopefully I'll get on a roll."
Will one of these players carry on the Gutshot legacy started by Tiffany Williamson last year? Hoa Ngo, Adeboyo Odetoyinbo, Andreas Constantinou, and Talet Mahmood along with Hallows, Gannon, Davies, Dick, and Ash will be giving it their best. And if any of these blokes are drawing to a gutshot in a big hand, watch out. They'll have all of London pulling for them.
An update on their progress: William Dick and Andreas Constantinou are out of the Main Event, and former Gutshot qualifier Tiffany Williamson busted during the first days. Brian Hallows is mixing it up with Marcel Luske and holding his own. Quest of a Closet Poker Player will provide updates of the Gutshot Ten throughout the Main Event.