With seven of Britain’s biggest and best football grounds being visited by the Dusk Till Dawn partypoker Grand Prix Tour in 2015/16, we thought we’d look at each stadium’s history. From epic nights the fans will never forget to moments in time that will live forever, here are a few reasons why you should dig out that replica shirt and come along and shoot for glory. Back of the net!
Stamford Bridge, London – November 28th & 29th, 2015
The home of West London Premier League giants Chelsea is Stamford Bridge, a 41,798 seater stadium at which the current champions of English football reside. Managed by Jose Mourinho – at time of going to press! – last year’s untouchables may be this year’s nearly men, but the club is steeped in a rich recent history, winners of the English Premier League four times in just over a decade. Long a favourite haunt for the celebrity football fan, Stamford Bridge has been host to some incredible games over the years. One of the truly magical days would surely be Chelsea’s 3-0 victory over Manchester United in 2006, which sealed their back-to-back Premier League title wins, something only United themselves had achieved until that day or since. While there have been many highlights for fans of ‘The Blues’, an undoubted low-point was the Champions League semi-final of 2011 when Barcelona scored the winning away goal with just seconds left on the clock, Andres Iniesta the Catalan hero on a night of pain for Chelsea fans everywhere. Can you win in West London to inspire the champions’ resurgence?
Old Trafford, Manchester – January 16th & 17th, 2016
Also known as the Theatre of Dreams, Old Trafford is home to 20-time English champions, Manchester United. The biggest club in the world has legions of fans from Altrincham to Zagreb, and everywhere in between. Holding 76,000 fans, the stadium has been host to European Cup Finals, England qualifiers (remember that David Beckham free-kick against Greece?) and non-football events for years. Sure to be popular with poker players ‘mad for’ a bit of the action, Old Trafford is not only the home of the most successful football club in Britain, but also one steeped in history. From glory nights featuring legends such as Bobby Charlton, Denis Law and George Best (a statue of ‘The Holy Trinity’ stands outside the East Stand) to others such as the 2008 Champions League Semi-Final victory when a Paul Scholes thunderbolt was enough to defeat a Messi-inspired Barcelona, the ground has it all. In modern times, there have been defeats to take, such as the thumping 6-1 derby victory for Manchester City, but with the Red Devils back on the rise, the New Year could be the perfect time to come and fight for a trophy. After all, the trophy cabinets don’t need any more at Old Trafford!
St. James Park, Newcastle – February 2016
One stadium which hasn’t seen a trophy in over forty years is in the North-East. St. James’ Park is the home of The Magpies, a.k.a. Newcastle United. Associated with heady nights of celebration around swashbuckling football, the team may have been through some hard times recently, but the stadium is still a haven for football fans everywhere in a hotbed of the sport. Geordies are crazy for football. they live and breathe it, and with recent WPT National events in Newcastle’s Aspers Casino proving highly popular, the taste for poker seems the same in the area! From low points such as Kevin Keegan’s team in 1996 coming so close to winning the title but being denied largely due to an excruciating 0-1 defeat by eventual champions Manchester United thanks to a sole Eric Cantona goal on a nightmare evening in Newcastle. Plenty of dreams have been realised, however, and no fan of The Toon will ever forget seeing Faustino Asprilla score a hat-trick in the thrilling 3-2 defeat of Luis Figo’s Barcelona in the 1997/98 season. Bring back the glory days and claim the title at the Gallowgate End!
Elland Road, Leeds – April 9-10
While far from being one of the biggest clubs in England nowadays, Leeds United have enjoyed many glorious nights in English football history and Elland Road is still a testament to the fans who worship The Whites as it is packed week after week. With the memories of players like Billy Bremner now fading, the time is now for Yorkshire-based players to make a play for a trophy and take down the Dusk Till Dawn Grand Prix when it stops in Leeds in early 2016. Elland Road has played host to games of huge drama, with Leeds’ run to the semi-finals of the Champions League by the game-changing handball of Juan Sanchez after a phenomenal performance in the opening leg back in Yorkshire. The glory nights of European battles dominated by players such as Alan Smith and Lee Bowyer as well as the 1991/92 title-winning season are now held in stark contrast by the current problems. The mighty Leeds United encountered financial problems and dropped into The Championship in 2004, and since have been suffering the frequency of managerial changes that would make a compilation of Doctor Who regenerations look pedestrian by comparison. March on together with your friends and bring back the glory days to the Elland Road faithful!
Hampden Park, Glasgow – May 14-15
Bringing the Grand Prix to poker players North of the Border, we arrive in one of the most historic stadiums in the world of sport. Scotland’s Hampden Park hasn’t just hosted football, with the old stadium the home of many other sporting occasions, with Athletics a big part of its history. Holding a whopping 52,000 fans, it is one of the biggest stadiums in Britain, and although it has hosted many Scotland national games, and was host of the 2014 Commonwealth Games, it has also played host to no less than three Champions League finals. The most famous of those was probably the 2002 final between Bayer Leverkusen and real Madrid, with Zinedine Zidane scoring one of the best goals ever to grace a European final at Hampden Park, volleying in the winning goal with his left foot in spectacular fashion!
Cardiff City Stadium – September 3-4
Home to The Bluebirds of Cardiff City, and holding 33,000 passionate fans every other Saturday, the Grand Prix stop of Cardiff City Stadium is sure to be a full-blooded weekend of power poker! Until recently, Cardiff were a Premier League side, sharing that honour with Swansea as one of two Welsh teams playing in the English Premier League. Despite some thrilling victories, however, they were relegated to The Championship and are looking to bounce back this year by putting together a promotion push. With some terrific poker players coming from Wales, it’s sure to be a fantastic atmosphere in the Welsh capital in 2016, as, two years from hosting the 2014 UEFA Super Cup between European Cup winners Real Madrid and Europa League winners Sevilla (Real Madrid won 2-0) the famous ground, which has also hosted rock giants such as Bon Jovi and the Stereophonics will play host to the greatest card game on Earth!
Amex Stadium, Brighton – July 23-24
One of our most popular stops on the Grand Prix will surely be the Battle of Brighton as The Amex Stadium will see poker players from the South descend on one of the best party towns in the UK for a weekend of poker action and celebration. The home of Brighton since its construction in 2011, it is easily the newest of our venues, and sure to be host to a a great atmosphere. Brighton & Hove Albion play their home games at ‘The Amex’ and are currently flying high, sitting at the top of The Championship with a great shot at playing host to Premier League football in 2016/2017. Also playing host to live music experiences such as Fatboy Slim, the whole stadium is geared towards a good time! What better way to jump on the bandwagon of optimism than by coming along to the hoe of the Seagulls and winning thousands of pounds?
Qualify For the Grand Prix Poker Tour and Play Day 1s Online at partypoker
Now that we’ve whetted your appetite for some poker action in iconic venues, it is up to you to win your way to them. Use our satellite tips to bank yourself a seat in the many qualifier tournaments running around the clock. Join the Players Choice tournaments and if you progress to Day 2 via one of these you can choose which stadium to take your stack through to — how amazing is that?