Manchester has always held a special place in my heart, so I was excited to have visited again over the weekend. My friends and I managed to travel first class on the Virgin Pendolino service from London Euston, which gets you into Manchester Picadilly in around two hours. Luckily, one of the traveling party works for Virgin, so our upgrade was on the house.

Now first class isn’t really what youd expect. There isn’t any silver service or special treatment. Instead, you just get a less crowded carriage and free food/drink service. Id give it a 6/10. We did get a couple of passes from the drinks cart, so made full use of that!

Most of the weekend was spent catching up with old poker friends although the snow made it quite difficult to move around, we did have time to make a few snowmen. I called this guy Tony. He seems to have a problem with smoking.

We arrived into Manchester around 9pm on Friday and went straight out to revisit some of our old student haunts. We ended up at 42s (aka 42nd Street), which is a pretty dingy nightclub that plays mostly indie music and serves very cheap drinks. 3 double vodka and red bull and 3 beers for £15 can’t complain.

The main event of the weekend was Saturday night. We decided between us weeks in advance that we would be playing poker games throughout the night at our friends flat in town. Mixed with a liberal sprinkle of booze this ended up taking us to 4am in the morning. We played the normal games like Texas Holdem and Omaha, but also blind mans bluff and other crazy games when the booze kicked in. Overall, I ended up with a nice little profit for the night too, so it was a good weekend overall.

Our host for the night may have had a little too much for the evening so he ended up out for the count later on in the night. Luckily I got a very flattering picture of him comatose on the table. He seems to have a habit of falling asleep on his chips. Luckily for him that prevents him losing any more money than he had already for the night.

Sunday really was a tough time for all of us. Emergency breakfast was needed immediately to revive us all.

And as soon as it started, my weekend in Manchester was over, with an 11am train back to London closing up the trip. If you are traveling from London, i would say the first class upgrade isn’t really worth it. Just book plenty in advance on Trainline to get a cheap advance ticket.