I'm back on the road as usual, traveling all over for poker. Among the places I have visited already this year was Deauville, France where the EPT stopped in February. I always like playing in France both because of the people and because I'm Francophone, too.

My accent is different, of course, being French Canadian. But for a French Canadian it is a lot easier for us to understand the French than vice-versa. We grow up hearing French as it is spoken in movies and so forth, and so their accent is pretty familiar to us. But they have a little more trouble understanding the French Canadian accent.

French people are very friendly to French Canadians, I have found. A lot of have heard about our culture and are curious about it but never have been to Quebec, and so they're usually interested to talk to me about where I'm from. I've always had good experiences talking with the French and getting to know them. If there was something to be added, with a funny angle of course, I'd say that French people sometimes complain about how we don't sound French here in Canada and that they can't understand us, believing they speak French in its pure form. In reality, French for France has so many Anglicism that it will sound as silly to a French Canadian than the other way around.


Actually understanding the language can be important when playing poker. For example, I can remember a few occasions -- this is back before I won the WSOP Main Event and everyone knew me -- when I'd be in a situation where a couple of French guys would be talking to each other and discussing strategy and the other players, and they didn't realize I knew French! Then when they found out later, they realized I had understood everything they were saying, and suddenly they had to change what they were doing.

That's an obvious example where knowing the language can be beneficial. But there are other indirect ways it can help, too, and which probably make it more fun for me to go to France to play. Or to Morocco where they also speak French and where I've had the chance to play before also.

Even for small things like getting an order from the waitress, it is obviously a lot easier when you speak the language. So there's a comfort level there that is kind of important and which affects your experience, too. Just going to the grocery store or the bar or a restaurant and being able to communicate and be understood makes everything a lot easier. And if you're there to play a poker tournament, that kind of frees your mind a little bit and lets you focus on strategy and thinking about poker and not have to worry about the little stuff.

EPT Deauville was a good stop for me. I made a couple of final tables in side events, finishing fourth in the €2,000 no-limit hold'em and seventh in the High Roller.

Sure, I would have liked to have won both, but all in all... pas mal!

Jonathan Duhamel
@PokerStars in PokerStars news