The majority of visitors in London complain about the weather, but not Tom “Majin” Hayward.
The PokerStars Team Pro has flown in from New Zealand to participate in the European Poker Tour (EPT) London festival, but a little rain? He is accustomed.
After spending five years in Christchurch, where he studied production and acquired the talents he would later use to his distinctive Twitch feed, he recently chose to go back to Dunedin, his original university hometown, to live with an old university buddy.
He comments, “It’s inexpensive and a pleasant change of scenery.” “The weather is a tad dreary, comparable to London. A great deal of precipitation! But I just want a change.”
On this particular day, the weather in London is unusually damp. The lightning is illuminating the dreary, gray sky, while the thunder is sure that everyone remains inside.
Poker players have never really had a problem with staying inside. Hayward has just been eliminated from the £5,300 EPT London Main Event on Level 3.
“I ran queens into aces for fifty to sixty large blinds,” he recalls. “However, in all honesty, it was an honor to play it.”
So now he is at the feature table assisting the TV team with setup and testing in preparation for tomorrow’s Main Event broadcast.
Hayward dominated the UKIPT Main Event last week.
Hayward was competing in his first EPT Main Event. He had no actual intention of attending EPT London. Ultimately, there is still a considerable distance to go. “But PokerStars helped me get here,” he explains. “It’s fantastic.”
He has been playing a considerable amount of live poker recently, having spent the summer preparing for his first World Series of Poker schedule. He states, “Vegas was my own thing.” “Due to covid, it had been a long since I had played live poker. However, anybody who plays poker seriously considers a trip to Las Vegas at some time. I appreciated the adventure.”
Hayward claims that the players he met in the first three stages of the EPT Main Event were harder than the typical WSOP Main Event participant. He responds, “There are more regulations.” The individuals that attend these $5Ks are unquestionably difficult.
However, whether it comes to poker, travel, or anything else (within reason), Hayward seems to be game.
“I just don’t say no to possibilities,” he explains. “I’m just participating when I can.”
The main event for Hayward finished in a cooler.
Although this is his first EPT, he had previously visited London. Hayward was first able to meet other streamers, many of whom are now his fellow PokerStars Ambassadors, at the second edition of Lex Live in 2019.
“This vacation is similar, although I haven’t played as much poker this time,” he admits. “I’ve seen a little more of the city now that I’ve gone on a bus tour and am considering seeing The Book of Mormon. It is difficult to fit everything. But I’ve liked meeting folks.”
His stream has risen in popularity over the last several years (“It’s not like I’m a household name or anything”), and he’s seen the fruits of his labor. The last time we met, Hayward had just won the Sunday Million, realizing a lifelong ambition (and putting to rest the repeated hallucinations he’d had about winning it, only to realize they weren’t real).
And his admirers are devoted, listening in every time he broadcasts live and, in some instances, journeying seven hours over the pond to meet him. Jennifer Carter, a two-time Platinum Pass winner, informed us that the presence of Hayward at the EPT London was one of the primary reasons she opted to make the trip.
“Isn’t she a sweetheart?” Hayward says. “We enjoyed catching up. She is one of the users that have been on my stream from its inception. It’s nice to meet others who are similarly committed to the cause. Due to the recurring joke that my hair makes me like an alpaca, she crocheted me an alpaca, which is extremely awesome.”
However, how do alpacas react to the rain?