There may be a long day ahead for some, but not for others. Within 20 minutes of the start we'd lost a table of players with the familiar refrain of "all in and a call" audible across the tournament room, which now looks in the throes of being dismantled as the remaining main event tables gradually work towards the far corner.
It's a typical rolling start. Players, fresh from a night's rest look energized and this positive energy lends itself to graciousness. "Good luck everyone," says one player now out, departing for the rail after the briefest of work days. "You're out already?" say his less charitable friends.
For those out there's still plenty to hang around for at the PokerStars Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final. For a start there's the €2,000 side event, which World Series winner Pius Heinz will now be joining following his main event exit. In the old days of the tour, when we all had moustaches and everything was in black and white, the main event was all there was to players on the EPT. When you were out you were pretty much free to leave. Now the incentive to stay is overwhelming.
True to form PokerStars has come up with yet another enticement to those considering packing up and calling this season done.
This is a trophy, but not at award
Monday night is awards night on the EPT. Café Llorca will be hosting the 2012 EPT Awards in the Grimaldi Forum, a short walk from here. Aside from trophies for Player of the Year, etc. there will be another special prize at stake open to everyone.
Players arriving at the party between 8.30pm and 9.30pm will receive a raffle ticket for the chance to win a ticket to EPT9 Barcelona in August. Naturally there are Terms and Conditions which you can ask about at the Customer Service desk at Le Sporting, but it's nothing much more strenuous that you have to stick around until after the awards for the draw. But with the amount of free drink on offer, not to mention the spectacular views across the Monegasque skyline, it's not a bad deal, or it wasn't until we were informed PokerStars employees are not permitted to enter.
That's on Monday night. Before then there's a main event to complete and the bubble is beginning to squeak.