It all began with a red bus in the distance.
A red double-decker city bus packed with a marching band in full regalia, dancing girls and one out-of-place looking poker superstar meandered into London’s Leicester Square like an invasion force preparing to conquer a great city.
Red buses are a common sight in central London.  But this one was different.  Instead of hauling rush-hour commuters, this bus had one very special passenger aboard.  The special passenger’s name was Phil Hellmuth.
A small crowd consisting of a few dozen bystanders who had previously been enjoying a breezy autumn afternoon swelled to at least a hundred.  Then, several hundred people began to swarm around the red bus as it pulled up to the Casino at the Empire, and stopped.  Then, the hundreds became more than a thousand curious onlookers, who stood and waited. 

Waited for what, exactly -- they didn’t know.  Within seconds, their questions would be answered, their curiosity satisfied, and for those who actually knew what was coming – the worst fears would be realized.
First to exit the red bus were the musicians in the marching band.  One by one, they moved into formation.  Then, they began to play.
Next, a dozen scantily-clad women adorned in faux Lady Gaga motif pranced around and took positions amongst the band.  Then, a singer with bleached white skin, black leather pants, oversized sunglasses and long platinum locks took out a microphone and began to wail at the top of her lungs.  The singer bore a strong resemblance to the real Lady Gaga and barring that, would certainly be the odds-on favorite to win the top prize in the drag contest on amateur night.  The song she sang was predictably, “Poker Face.”
The band played.  The pretties pranced.  Some people laughed.  More than a few jaws dropped.
Just when one couldn’t imagine a more ridiculous scene in a section of London which contains many of the worlds top stage actors and plays, the deranged-looking woman impersonating Lady Gaga swirled around on her platform shoes and launched into the chorus.  A few foreign teenagers packed closely together in the crowd witnessing the madness, previously gabbing in a language no one could recognize, immediately piped up and began singing to the words to the iconic smash hit, which actually has little or nothing to do with poker.
P-P-P-poker face, P-P-P-poker face
(Mum mum mum)
P-P-P-poker face, P-P-P-poker face
(Mum mum mum)

Casual bystanders must have wondered -- what was next to come?  Would the ersatz poker diva herself Lady Gaga make an appearance?  Was it Queen?  Was it the Queen?  Was it George Michael?
No!  Alas, it was Phil Hellmuth!
Hundreds of cameras towered over the heads of the crowd and media.  It was most certainly a YouTube moment.  Gasps of disbelief were punctuated by more than a few puzzled utterances of “Who is that?” -- obviously by some disconnected non-poker playing hermits living under a rock somewhere.
Hellmuth exited the bus like Aulus Plautius stepping off his war chariot onto the fields at Exeter.   Depending on one’s perspective, it was either an annoying megalomaniacal embarrassing himself in front of thousands of people, including some of his peers -- or else a genius public relations stunt designed to shine attention on himself and a website he boldly represents.
The show was only beginning.
Next, Hellmuth -- decked out in his trademark black trousers and leather bomber jacket, his pasty all-knowing grin masked by dark motorcycle glasses -- stood with his arms crossed and posed whilst the Gaga girls danced around their fictitious god.
By the second, Hellmuth’s famous grin was growing more and more annoying as the volume was pumped up and the band struggled to keep time.  He mugged for the cameras.  He signed some autographs.  He predicted victory.
Next, the Great One did an about face.  He waved to the crowd as if to say goodbye.  Once again, cameras trumpeted and tromboned towards Hellmuth, worshiping the diva like he could somehow make world peace or reunite The Beatles.  Hellmuth then marched straight through the blonde beauties, plowed in-between the marching musicians blarring away, and walked directly through the front door of…..
A movie theater.
No doubt, this part of the show wasn’t planned.  A perfectly choreographed, if appalling publicity initiative, ended with Hellmuth goose stepping into the wrong door of the building awaiting his grand entrance.  Witnessing the spectacle was kinda' like watching a toilet overflow.  Shocking.  Outrageous.  Awful.  But somehow, you still can’t peel your eyes away.
Hellmuth, positively expecting to enter the Empire Casino, somehow got misdirected by the blonde girls, the band, and the humongous crowd and mysteriously wandered through the wrong door.  Instead of making a magnificent entrance to the most important poker tournament played this year in London and sitting down to £10,000 in chips, instead he was met with the confused gaze of someone named Ahmed, who was working the day shift at the movie theater.
“Ummmm, would you like butter on your popcorn Sir?”
Hellmuth, finally coming to his senses and realizing he had entered the wrong door and was in the wrong place, summarily marched out the front door quicker than Edward VIII’s reign on the throne.
Confusion led to chaos.
Cameras swirled around.  Bodies which were following The Great One into the movie theater fell back like dominos.  Indeed, it’s fitting that the word “bedlam” is derived from an English mental hospital, as the word perfectly described Phil Hellmuth’s grand entrance in London.
In other news, there was a poker tournament which started today.  The £10,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Main Event Championship began with the first of two playing days -- designed at 1-A and 1-B.  The first day attracted 137 entrants.
Over the next six days, most of the world’s top poker players will compete for one of the most prestigious titles in the game of poker, which is the WSOP Europe championship. 
One might expect to read much more here about the actual tournament.  And, we are pleased to bring everyone up to date.

First, Phil Hellmuth reportedly won a round of blinds.  Later, he won a small pot when he flopped a set of nines.  After that, he lost back some of his stack, then all of his stack.  Hellmuth's entrance lasted about as long as his play in the tournament.
At other tournament tables, it was reported that many of the world’s best poker players -- including former world champions and gold bracelet winners -- could actually be found participating in the tournament.  Some of these players were eliminated on incredibly exciting and interesting hands.  Others won huge pots.  The chip lead changed several times.
Meanwhile, Phil Hellmuth exited quitely, left with plenty of time to plot and plan his next grand entrance to a World Series of Poker championship, one presumes. 

To read more about WSOP Europe and the Main Event Championship (in addition to news other than about Phil Hellmuth), please click HERE