Ever since the poker boom of the early 2000s, tournament organizers have been looking to harness the potential of a widely known variant: strip poker. Professional tournament directors have been confounded by how to appropriately host a game that's best enjoyed in a dimly lit apartment at 3 a.m. while under the influence of fine spirits and/or boxed wine. The tremendous gender inequality among poker enthusiasts complicates the equation; Step into any card club in the world, and you're likely to find a male:female ratio of at least 10:1, if not higher. Though I have no experience in the area, I can only assume that convincing a table of men to disrobe is difficult to pull off and liable to make one question the reasoning behind the whole endeavor.
Today, it seems that London nightclub Stringfellows may have solved the pernicious problem. Stringfellows recently played host to the so-called "Baller Strip Poker Championship." Their key innovation lies in pairing every entrant with an exotic dancer who graciously provides the "strip" element of the game while her partner takes care of the "poker." Dancers remove clothing when their player loses a pot--but not before blindfolding their partner to ensure he doesn't reap the benefits of his own misplay.
In addition to entry into the tournament, a 200 Euro ticket to the Baller Strip Poker event gave each player exclusive access to a cocktail reception sponsored by Moet & Chandon where they mingled with the dancers and were given a chance to select their partner for the tournament. Players no doubt made their choice carefully, as the top prize they were competing for was a private dance from their own loyal teammate.
Lest this start to sound a little too sleazy, Stringfellows is quick to assure players that it's for a good cause. A portion of all proceeds from the event will be donated to a cancer research charity.
The Baller Strip Poker Championship is part of the ongoing London Poker Festival that has been running since August 28th. The festival is a partnership of 11 of London's largest cardrooms and casinos that has hosted poker tournaments for all budgets, as well as lectures, parties, and a free, two-day, outdoor poker event.
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