Feeling the rock star vibe in Monte Carlo
Most recently, I was the on-camera hostess at the European Poker Tour in Berlin. In Berlin, I was astounded by a rich and fascinating history. And now, just a few days later, I find myself at the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino EPT Grand Final. While Monte-Carlo has a fascinating history as well, what is astounding about it is... the RICH!
All of the EPT stops contain a certain amount of glamour and opulence, but Monte Carlo takes the cake by far. This is the absolute "nuts" to contain all the grand-ness of The Grand Final!
I am slowly becoming used to seeing vast amounts of money exchange hands. In my work, I have seen people win millions and act the same as if I just handed them a cup of coffee. So, perhaps for poker players, this kind of extravagance is fitting. However, as an average person I am left in total awe. There are parts of it that make me want to work my buns off until I have obtained such wealth. And there also are parts of it that make me shudder.
My days in Monte Carlo start at a breakfast that costs close to $40 dollars. The view is worth every penny. The moment I walk out to the patio, I feel like a princess. I imagine this is what Princess Grace felt when she first stepped foot in Monaco. How much easier to woo a woman when you can offer her the pinnacle of the French Riviera?
I have to admit that I could get used sleeping on 1,000 thread-count sheets or being graciously referred to Mademoiselle Grant. I get a tiny thrill pretending that maybe people think I'm a rock star. I mean, lets be honest, I don't have any Prada or Louis V, but maybe they think I am too "rock" for that. Just when I think I have graduated and am ready to be a zillionaire, I am reminded of some realities of wealth.
When you have more, things cost more. I was told this morning (after several days of not knowing) that there is a fee in our fancy hotel for bringing in outside food and beverages. All along, I was thinking I was saving myself money by scooping water bottles provided by PokerStars, only to find out the hotel was charging me nearly $10 dollar for each one left in my room. I can only imagine how much the fee will be for the apocalyptic supply of protein bars and stolen fruit from breakfast. I was certain this was a mistake and an absolute outrage, but apparently, this is relatively common for hotels that are aimed at the financial elite.
This afternoon, I saw 100 people pay €25,000 without a second thought to play a poker tournament. It still blows my mind! And that isn't even the Super High Roller! I would go crazy if I won even a High Roller buy-in. Most of the players in the High Roller don't even bat an eye to fire a second bullet!
However, if nothing else, being exposed to this vast wealth has taught me one very simple principle: It is all relative. The more you have to spend, the more things cost. To put it in poker terms: The bigger your bankroll, the bigger the buy-ins. I am exceptionally grateful for the opportunity to play rich for a few weeks and rub shoulders with the biggest names in poker and the world aristocracy. But, I guess it hasn't had the effect on me that I expected. Instead of making me look longingly at the outside, it has made me even more content on the inside. I am exactly where I want to be (pretending to be a princess and a rock star).