Whoever from our final four wins EPT9 Deauville this week, there can be little doubt which two countries can rejoice their nation's performances most jubilantly.
Our hosts France demonstrated the extremely healthy state of Gallic poker by putting forward almost half our field--and translating quantity into the high quality of a final table chip leader, Remi Castaignon--but Lebanon is the other, which provided three of the final table from only 16 players who started the week.
Lebanon's performance here is extraordinary. We started the week with 2 per cent of the total field flying the Lebanese flag, but entered the final day with close to 40 per cent. That is the kind of form that earned the Lebanese the coveted "Country Of The Year" gong at last year's EPT awards.
That accolade is given to the country whose players perform the best relative to the number of them who enter, and it was a cinch for Lebanon last year. With the likes of Nicolas Chouity, Jeffrey Hakim, and any number of Joseph Moawads at their disposal, Lebanon are a mighty force.
France, of course, could not really be expected to provide half of the final table, which means they "slumped" to only 25 per cent of the last eight, the same as their near neighbours Belgium.
Under most other circumstances--ie, in a world without Lebanon--the Belgians' performance here would be hogging the headlines. There were only 23 kicking off here, but two of them played all six days. (Robert Romeo is originally Romanian, but lives in Belgium and is representing them here in Deauville.)
If a picture is worth 1,000 words then a line-graph, painstakingly produced by the indefatigable EPT media co-ordinator Mad Harper, is worth at least 1,001. Here is all that data (also collated, verified and triple checked by Harper) in an easy-to-follow chart. Enjoy.
Throughout the day, our live coverage will be on the EPT Deauville main event page. And you can also watch it on EPT Live on PokerStars.tv. But there's also the High Roller playing its second day simultaneously. Tune in to that too.