Suddenly it got serious…. A huge amount of chips was on the table and all the cards had been shown. Three players had been in the pot and one of them had been knocked out. The rules on how the chips would be awarded to the two remaining players were clear but no one cared, something more important was at stake. The “pit boss” was called over and a critical decision had to made. Which of the two players would get the Tsum Tsum (Rey) from the knocked-out player. Ladies and Gentlemen, I give you the joy that was the inaugural Rancho Obi-Wan poker tournament….

A new element to the well establish Rancho Obi-Wan gala, 22 players of varying experience had signed up and at 9pm found their allocated seat on the 3 tables in Jabba’s throne room and got ready for some, semi, serious poker action.

Organised by Rancho’s Stewart Levy the rules were quickly explained:

• Standard Texas Hold’Em rules applied
• Blinds would raise every 10 minutes (a good way of getting the action going)
• Prizes for final 5 players
• Everyone starts with a unique Tsum Tsum
• If you knock out another player you keep one of their Tsum Tsums
• Pit Boss’s decision is final!

With that we were off. Almost immediately the most important part of live poker kicked in – The Table Talk. With all of us having a big interest in Star Wars it wasn’t difficult to find something to talk about and as you would expect it made the game an incredibly enjoyable experience.
I quickly established that there was a wide range of experience around the table. There were clearly some regular players but also some novices. One player admitted that they didn’t really know how to play but just wanted the swag.

Ah yes, the swag! – each player received the gifts (donated by Cartamundi) for taking part. I got the following:

• A set of “Heroes of the Resistance” playing Cards (in Finns Stormtrooper Helmet)
• A set of “Heroes” playing cards in collectable embossed tin
• 2 packs of Casino quality cards

With the swag, everyone was a winner however all eyes were on the 5 prizes sat in front of Jabba that were up for grabs. 5th place received a rare Lucasfilm Ltd folder, 4th place received 3 Star Wars builders sets, 3rd place got the Lego 18” General Grievous, 2nd place a pile of Fantasy Flight Games gear and top prize was a Sphero BB-8!

As the game went on the mood got, slightly, more serious and we soon dropped to 2 tables. Quick tip for all gala attendees – find out when the break in the poker is and make sure you don’t need the toilet during the poker break. The rush to the loo when the break is called could be an event on its own!

After the break the blinds were getting quite large and players were beginning to be knocked out in quick succession. It wasn’t long until we were down to the final table and those remaining could sense that the prizes were within their grasp if they could just stay in for a few more hands. Professional poker dealer and tournament director Sheree Kelly (who was amazingly good fun) made sure that everything was above board and before long the game was complete, and the prizes were presented to winners.

So how did I do? I am proud to say I finished 3rd and therefore found myself going home with that amazing Lego set. If anyone has even a basic knowledge of Poker and wants to play in a fun but professionally run live poker tournament then I would highly recommend going to the Gala and signing up for the game. You are guaranteed fun and may even walk away with a prize and some well-earned Tsum Tsum’s.

Actually, talking about Tsum Tsum’s you may still be wondering who got that controversial Rey mentioned at the beginning of this piece? Well in the true spirit of the evening an extra Rey was found and both players got one. As said before, everyone was a winner really.

SOURCERancho Obi-Wan
Martin’s most notable achievement is organising and running the pre-party for Celebration London #Cantina at the Brooklyn Bowl in the O2 Arena, an achievement he matched in 2019 at Celebration Chicago when he helped to organised A Night At Canto Bight at the Science Museum in Chicago. Martin has also been a guest on podcasts such as RADIO 1138, Skywalking Through Neverland and Blabba the Hutt. Martin is the brains behind Fantha Tracks TV.