PBirmingham has a lot going for it as a city to visit and a place to live. There’s plenty of green space, shopping, and nightlife that includes a unique and eclectic mix of bars and clubs. Gamers will also be well aware that Birmingham is quickly establishing itself as a hub for console expos and e-sports, as well as a destination for casino gamers and poker players. Let’s take a look at what the city has to offer.
Play and Watch eSports
There’s no doubt that eSports is growing and becoming a mainstream activity, with an increasing number of people interested in watching the competition as a stadium sport. Birmingham will once again play host to a major DOTA2 tournament this year, the ESL One Birmingham, which will feature most of the top pro level squads, who will compete for an epic prize pool of $300k. The event will take place 31st May to 2nd June.
For those who want to get more involved with the world of eSports and cross the line into participation, the Insomnia Gaming Festival is the place to be. It is the UK’s biggest gaming festival, and it happens to be held at the NEC. There’s too much going on to mention here, but over the course of four days the event will feature pro and amateur eSports tournaments, special guest performances and talks, tabletop gaming sessions, Cosplay Masquerade, Q&A seminars and evening entertainment. There’s a 2,000 seat hall for B.Y.O.C (bring your own console), where you can play in multiplayer battles or enjoy co-operative social gaming.
At Insomnia, you can explore everything from the latest gaming technology and published releases, to indie developments and retro titles. When your eyes get too dry and heavy to continue, you can retire to your indoor camping spot to rest up. If you like gaming, you can’t miss this!
Casino and Poker Scene
The casino and poker scene are thriving in Birmingham. Notable casinos in the city include Genting and Grosvenor. You can find Grosvenor casinos on Broad Street and also on Hill Street, near the famous Bull Ring shopping centre. Genting casino is in Chinatown, and has six baccarat tables, along with the usual selection of casino games. There is also a Genting at Resorts World, which often hosts some of the higher stakes poker tournaments. At all major Birmingham casinos, you can find popular games like roulette, blackjack, slots and poker.
Birmingham has also been host to major live poker tournaments, such as the UKIPT. Big winners in the past include Ted Jackson-Spivack, who had his best birthday ever in 2016. This year, major events include the upcoming £40k guaranteed ‘Easter Bunny’ at Resorts World, as well as the Genting Series of Poker, which returns to Birmingham from 9th May.
Birmingham Gaming Expos
If you’ve had enough of the action at the tables, why not take a stroll around one of the world’s largest tabletop gaming conventions? The UK Games Expo is held at the NEC from 31st May to 2nd June and provides an excellent opportunity for fans of board games, role play, fantasy, card games and little dinky figurines to gather round and make (or play!) magic.
At the expo you can learn, play and buy tabletop games, enter competitions, watch shows, take part in demos and discussions, try out your hand in competitive tournaments, and much more. The event is suitable for all levels, from total noob to top wizard, so there’s something for everyone.
There’s also the Birmingham Gaming Market on 6th July, taking place for the first year ever at South and City College. This is a collectors event, so the main focus is on buying and selling games. Shop around, chat and find a bargain classic game, old computer, or retro artwork. The event starts at 11am for 500 early birds, with general admission at midday.
As you can see, Birmingham caters to many tastes. The fantastic nightlife and culture of the city blend with contemporary hobbies and interests. 2019 is a great year to be a gamer in Birmingham.