As the 2024 UK Poker League (UKPL) makes its highly-anticipated stop in the picturesque Scottish capital of Edinburgh, poker enthusiasts are gearing up for an unforgettable experience. With its rich history, vibrant culture, and breathtaking landscapes, Edinburgh offers a perfect backdrop for a thrilling poker event. The UKPL Edinburgh stop is set to take place from February 13-18 at the city’s Grosvenor Casino, and I’ll be there to cover the event for Cardplayer Lifestyle.
It’ll be my first time in Scotland, my first time at an 888poker-powered live event in four years and my first time in the UK since my honeymoon back in 2002. I always advise people to arrive a day early or stay a day late before/after the poker they want to play on a trip. That’ll give them ample time to explore without having to “sacrifice” any poker time.
In that vein, I’ll be arriving a day before the UKPL Edinburgh festival begins, ready to gain a deeper appreciation for the city’s unique character and storied legacy. Plus, with poker action only starting at around noon each day, I’ll have the mornings free for additional exploration.
Here, then, is a list of five things I’m looking forward to while covering the 2024 UKPL Edinburgh stop.
1. Walking Tour of Edinburgh
I’ve always maintained the importance of “getting out” to see beyond the walls of the poker room during a poker trip, and this upcoming excursion will be no exception. Of course, I’ll be producing a good deal of content about the UKPL itself and spending plenty of time at and around the poker tables at the Grosvenor Casino (see #3, below). But I’d be remiss to let the opportunity to explore Edinburgh proper slip away.
When visiting a city for the first time, I usually enjoy taking one of those free 2-hour walking tours. I’ve already done a good deal of online research on Edinburgh and it seems to be a pretty compact city, meaning I’ll be able to sample many of the major highlights on foot in one fell swoop. From the cobbled alleyways of the Old Town to the grandeur of the New Town, every corner holds a story waiting to be discovered.
To be sure, I’ll have to bundle up nice and warm, but I anticipate delving into the city’s fascinating past, marveling at its iconic landmarks like the Edinburgh Castle and soaking in the lively atmosphere of the Royal Mile. Moreover, the walking tour will provide a unique opportunity to interact with a knowledgeable guide who can offer insights into Edinburgh’s rich cultural heritage and architectural marvels.
2. Johnny Walker Princes Street Experience
Scotland is renowned for its whisky, and while I’m certainly no connoisseur when it comes to alcohol or drinking, no trip to Edinburgh would be complete without indulging in a tasting experience. I’m always up for learning, and the interactive, multimedia presentation sure looks like a winner of an activity.
From learning about the intricate process of whisky-making to sampling a selection of premium blends, I look forward to treating my senses to the rich flavors and aromas that define the nation’s spirit. Additionally, the tour offers an opportunity to delve into the history and heritage of one of the world’s most iconic whisky brands.
I may not be able to appreciate the difference between red, black, gold, green, or blue label whiskies, but I can sure appreciate the effort that goes into crafting a premium worldwide brand and product.
3. The UKPL Edinburgh Experience: Getting to Know the Locals
I don’t just cover poker events, I also love playing the game myself. While the job of reporting on what goes on at poker tournaments can often be repetitive, I’ve learned over the years that the best way to come across unique stories and get to know the players is to actually sit and play with them.
The UK poker scene is pretty legendary and, never having had the opportunity to play poker there, I can’t wait to experience it myself. I anticipate engaging in a couple memorable cash game sessions and forging new connections with fellow players. Plus, I’ll be prepping a room review and likely speaking with the Grosvenor Casino Edinburgh manager to learn about the room’s unique features, offerings, and characteristics.
4. Seeing Dolly the Sheep at the National Museum of Scotland
Touted as the UK’s most popular attraction outside of London, a visit to the National Museum of Scotland seems like a must to add to the itinerary. While it has multiple exhibits you could likely find at other similar museums around the world, there are galleries dedicated to Scottish history and archeology that are most certainly one-of-a-kind.
Similarly one-of-a-kind (in a manner of speaking) is the display featuring Dolly the Sheep, the world’s first cloned mammal. Watching the news broadcast this iconic scientific breakthrough back in the late nineties, I never thought I’d actually get to see Dolly in person. Plainly put, seeing Dolly the Sheep in person is an experience that cannot be replicated anywhere else in the world.
Additionally, the museum offers a wealth of exhibits showcasing Scotland’s rich natural history, technological advancements, and cultural achievements. Plus — perhaps best of all — admission is free!
5. Visiting the Scottish Parliament
Another free attraction is the Scottish Parliament building, which I’m sure will be an educational and enriching experience. I’m only casually familiar with the UK political system and how governmental powers are split among the United Kingdom’s different countries.
It’s one thing to learn in a classroom or from behind a computer screen, but it’s another to partake in a guided tour of the institution itself; immersion to that degree guaranteed to add another layer of knowledge.
In conclusion, the 2024 UKPL Edinburgh stop holds the promise of an unforgettable blend of poker excitement and cultural exploration. From strolling through Edinburgh’s historic streets to sampling its finest whiskies, immersing oneself in its vibrant poker scene, marveling at scientific breakthroughs like Dolly the Sheep, and gaining insights into Scottish governance at the Parliament; that’s just a handful of the many things I’m looking forward to on this upcoming trip.