World Open making strong return

Juha Helppi and Barny Boatman

The World Open will return with the strongest field in the history of the tournament April 27. Several poker pros are packed into the 72-player televised tournament as they try to take home the possible $200,000 top prize.

The tournament will be kicked off April 27 at the Three Mills Studios in London with a celebrity table, and the semi-final will take place May 3 with the final following May 4.

Already signed up to participate are pros such as Tony G., David Ulliott, Ian Frazer and Vicky Coren.

All four members of the Hendon Mob will also belly up to the felt. This will be the first time that Joe Beevers, Barny Boatman (pictured above right) and Ross Boatman have made an appearance at this tournament together.

Last year the tournament was won by Pippa Flanders, who took some abuse from fellow pros as she kept a cuddly stuffed toy donkey named Eemore at the table with her throughout the entire competition.

Unfortunately Flanders won't be returning to defend her title as she decided to spend some of her hard-earned fortune from last year on a cruise. In her place, she's sending her 23-year-old daughter Charlotte.

And, yes, Eemore will be back at the tables with her.

"It's a shame that Pippa Flanders isn't back to defend her crown," said a spokesman. "But Charlotte and the lucky donkey are sure to defend the title valiantly and fair well in such prestigious company."

Charlotte has been making poker waves of her own. The Manchester law student recently won a televised tournament and had Eemore along for that ride too.

Eemore received a lot of threats from pros at last year's tournament, and Pippa had a warning for them this year: "If anybody touches my daughter's ass, there will be trouble."

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