Jack Oakshatt reports on this year's fiercely contested SIAS poker tournament
On 22 March, the Staple Inn Actuarial Society held its annual poker tournament at the Loose Cannons club in central London. As ever, it proved to be a popular event, with the total 120 available tickets selling out several weeks in advance.
The evening began with tutorials on how to play the game for those who didn't know their 'big blind' from their 'bluff ', and for anyone who simply fancied the chance to hone their p-p-poker face.
The main tournament got going at 6.45pm and, after 45 minutes, play broke so that players could grab some refreshments and enjoy a drink from the venue's bar.
Things got serious after the break and, over the course of the next four hours, the 120 players that had started were whittled down to a final table of just 10. With over £1,000 of cash prizes to be divided between them, the stakes were high.
In the end, it was Alex Darsley who narrowly pipped William Parry and Sholto Moore, taking the £300 top prize. When pressed on his victory later, he replied in modest fashion: "Sometimes the cards just go your way."
For those that didn't have enough luck on their side to make it to the final table, the venue had set up numerous cash and 'sit and go' games in which players could give themselves one more shot at glory.