The following article was from the February 2000 editorial of the website Poker in the UK.
It is reproduced in Gaming floor with permission and details the opening of the first 24 hour Poker club in the suburbs of Birmingham, England.

UK'S FIRST 24HR CARD CLUB - 'ELITE'

    A new club opened its doors at the end of December. Based in Moseley, Birmingham the owner has spent over half a million pounds sterling on it and, by all accounts, it looks like money well spent.

    If I was talking about a night club then you wouldn't be surprised. If I was talking  about a gym or health club then you wouldn't besurprised but I'm not. I'm talking about the UK's FIRST POKER CLUB.

    Open 24hrs a day, 7 days a week, tournaments 5 nights a week and all the food and drink you can consume for a few quid an hour. There are NO table charges, you CAN tip the dealers and, by all accounts, the place is so busy on a Saturday night they have to turn people away.

    What makes this the more remarkable is that up to now poker players in England have been subject to rules devised and written back in the 60's when gambling was a 'sin' and 48hrs were required beforeyou were even allowed on the premises.

    Even today those rules haven't changed that much. You still need to become a 'member' giving 24hrs intention to set foot in the place in all UK casinos.

    At the Elite club they do things differently. Although membership IS required there's no waiting time. Just arrive at the club, fill out a form and in you go. The club itself comprises of around 30 tables and all manor of games are spread. Table charges are NIL but there is a charge for 'food & drink' per hour.

    This 'rule' is what makes the legality of it all.

    If clubs charge 'table fees' for playing cards then the games come under the 'Gaming Board' rules & regulations. This in turn leads to the club coming under those rules and a 4am closure. No Fee = No GB!!

    Dealers are NOT employed by the club itself but are MEMBERS of the club. As tipping is allowed there's usually no shortage of willing volunteers to take the cards and deal. Some are good and make more money in one night that a full time job would pay in a week, especially at the bigger games!!

    As you can probably understand the regular clubs and casinos are somewhat perturbed and upset by what they see  as 'unfair competition'. One of the biggest losers at the moment is the Rainbow club in Birmingham whose trade has dropped off dramatically in the early weeks of the year.

The 'Elite' are now chasing the EPPA for permission to run a MAJOR tournament week there. Why not? With seating for 300 players and what looks to be the best card room north of Luton it can only be a matter of time!

   We'll have pictures of the club very soon. Stay tuned!

Mark Strahan
http://www.poker-in-the-uk.com
 
 

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