Emma Fryer was called the British "Queen of Poker" by friends and players who knew her well. The 42-year old player died instantly in a car crash in the Czech Republic. More than 200 mourners have filled ChristChurch in Alsager to capacity, requiring some well-wishers to stand outside for the morning service.
The mother of two encountered a fatal crash while on her way to WSOPE in the Czech Republic, leading to the tragic end of a poker career that was just starting to flourish, especially after securing a backer that will allow her to play poker professionally.
A faulty satellite navigation system along with dense fog resulted in limited visibility, preventing her driver from seeing the roundabout that was ahead. In the end, it was a concrete post that ended her life's journey prematurely. She was a passenger in the car that was being driven by a friend.
A poetic tribute was recited by her good friend and fellow local poker player Darren Sutton during the service.
"Hours talking poker,
with her raking it all in;
that later helped her win.
Always very happy,
and extremely polite;
an attitude she carried,
through the long poker night.
She was gentle and caring,
and one of a kind;
she was that one-in-a-million,
that are so hard to find.
Always on hand,
to help other folks;
I adored her so much,
because she even laughed at my jokes.
She was one,
of the poker scene;
but to all of us in Stoke-on-Trent,
she was our poker queen."
Following the service, Darren added, "It is a real tragedy. Emma was an Alsager girl and I have known her for many years.
"I was playing in a poker tournament when I heard about her death and I just got up and left. This was a fitting send-off and I knew there would be a massive turnout for her."
Friend John Brassington said, "The funeral was a fitting tribute. I have known Emma for many years and she was a good girl. I have never known someone with so much to live for. It is the family I feel for."
Just a month prior to her fatal accident, Emma won her biggest ever payout of $63,000 for finishing 3rd place in a Dusk Til Dawn £1k buy-in tournament, and then won again a week later an amount of $10,000 for getting 2nd place in a 2017 Genting Mini Series in Sheffield.
Emma worked within the gaming industry for several years as a Poker & Casino VIP Manager at the leading UK website, Bet365. She planned on resigning soon so she could concentrate on her poker career, especially that her recent results and winnings had enabled her to find a backer for bigger tournaments and make poker her main profession.
Emma leaves behind her long-term partner Gary Morris and two daughters, Gemma (age 20) and Jessica (age 18). She is also going to be a grandma soon as one of her daughters has married recently and is expecting to have a baby.