'Amazing Race' poker challenge gets backing of The Hendon Mob

A magnifying glass rests on a map of Europe.
Andrew Burnett
Posted on: January 22, 2024 21:10 PST

Sometimes genius ideas appear from nowhere, and the latest to catch the imagination of poker players is Niall Farrell’s 'bag a flag across Europe' adventure...

Scotland’s leading moneywinner added: “First person back wins a prize, maybe a seat for a major event or something. Inspired by @xxl23 Canada journey which I loved as an idea.”

Although Farrell said he was just 'spitballing', there seems to be genuine interest in his poker version of the 'Wacky Races' or 'Amazing Race' that requires players to bag a Hendon Mob flag in each country along the way.

For those new to the Hendon Mob database, which charts live tournament results, players who cash in a reported event see the flag of the event’s country displayed. The Hendon Mob crew were behind the idea immediately:

The Hendon Mob tweet shows support for Niall Farrell's European poker challenge, with the promise of a prize for the winner

Players already discussing best routes across Europe

There are several routes to get from Romania to the UK cross-country and plenty of poker available along the way. The northern Baltic route might be a bit too difficult even for the most extreme poker adventurer, however, with war-torn Ukraine the first stop.

However, a more sensible route was offered by Twitter poker fan 'MOMO' who tweeted:

“Best route due to flagged tournaments and amount of tournaments would be Bucharest>Budapest>Vienna>Berlin or Hamburg>Amsterdam>UK.”

Vienna could of course be replaced by visiting Bratislava and then Rozvadov (or Prague), all of which have great poker pedigree. But with it being a race – and a cash required to move to the next country – the permutations are trickier than they might appear at first sight.

A selection of the trials and tribulations players might face didn’t take long to appear:

“Sounds brutal...imagine grinding the Brno €10r for a mincash only to find out it's not tracked on @TheHendonMob,” was Daniel Williams’ worry.

 Jason Blount clearly hasn’t been having much luck at the tables recently, offering: “My vlog: "hey guys, it's day 57 of the challenge and... yup... still in Romania."

Xuan Liu's Canada challenge provides inspiration

Some of the bigger names in the game were super-keen on the race idea. Andrew Neeme tweeted: “This should definitely happen,” while Kyna England enthused: “Sounds like a cool adventure!!”

What's more, PokerOrg’s Terrance Reid has volunteered himself for the adventure.

Firaldo’s inspiration was highstakes cash game player Xuan Liu’s month-long Canadian trip that saw her traverse 10 provinces and 3 territories in order to bag a $50,000 WPT Global bonus.

Liu set out with a very modest $2,000 bankroll ($1k for live play and $1k for online play) and had to pay for her own food and travel along the way, the main stipulation being that she had to have at least $1 left by the end of her travels.

The Beijing-born Canadian pro revealed that grinding the small stakes had some humorous moments: “In the beginning, a lot of the players at these stops were like, ‘What are you doing here? Are you broke? I was just watching you play $100/$200.’”

Having completed her challenge successfully, Liu explained: “It’s gonna be one of those things I can look back and talk to my grandkids about...Tell them about it and be proud.”

All we need now is for Firaldo’s European adventure to get off the ground and supply similar stories, but who would you put your money on to complete the challenge first? Let us know what you think via the usual social media channels.