Manchester is one of the best places in the UK for music, football, and culture - everyone knows that. But many people may be unaware that’s it’s also a hotspot for aspiring card players. In addition to the wealth of casinos and poker rooms in the city, Manchester has also spawned some famous players. The most inspirational of all is Julian Gardner, who is best known for finishing second in the Main Event at the World Series of Poker in 2002.  

 Many Card Players Learn Their Trade Online First 

The common path for card enthusiasts nowadays is to get a feel for games online. They’re easily accessible and there’s a lot of choice. Many people start out playing online blackjack, as it’s arguably the simplest gambling game to grasp. Players are also well catered for online, where there are different variants like Blackjack Switch and Blackjack First Person. There are also the live games where players have the chance to chat with the dealers and feel as though they’re sitting in a real casino.  

Poker also blew up online in the 21st Century, and most modern players master the game online before entering live tournaments. The poker boom brought about a greater focus on the mathematical side to the game, with players also requiring to develop strong strategical skills to prevail. After mastering the online format, players often attend live games to hone other facets of their game, such as the psychological.  

Julian Gardner is an Inspiration for Poker Players

Gardner is an example of a player who found success just before the poker boom, and he’s one of the stalwarts that straddles the worlds of online and live poker. The Manchester-born player was inspired to play by his dad, Dave Gardner, who was also a reasonably successful professional. Julian plied his trade in local casinos prior to the poker boom and entered the WSOP before it became the sprawling competition it is today.  

The 2002 WSOP runner up helped inspired many other Brits who went on to find success in the poker scene across the pond. There are numerous UK-based card sharks who’ve made names for themselves since Gardner blazed the trail, including players like Sam Trickett, Stephen Chidwick, and Ben Heath. Some of these people have become regulars in major tournaments and televised poker events.  

Plenty of Places to Play in the City

As well as practicing online, there are various places in Manchester where keen card players can hone their skills. Aside from the typical options at the various casinos in the city, there’s the dedicated poker club in the Great Northern that’s put Manchester on the map for Texas Hold’em fanatics. The former railway goods warehouse is now known as the Poker Lounge, and it attracts players from far and wide with its various tournaments and cash games.  

The UK is far behind the USA in terms of representation at the top of the poker tree, but cities like Manchester are helping put some Brits on the map. The game is loved here, and there’s a strong chance that others will follow in the footsteps of Gardner.  


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