Parked outside the Fairmont Hotel this morning was a pristine Mercedes SLS AMG, in black, fresh out of its wrapper and a tribute to everything that's great about cars. Next to it though was a white Lamborghini Aventador LP700-4, all right angles and gruff, encapsulating what happens when mad scientists are placed in charge of car design.
But while both stood out as Princes, they could not hope to dethrone a king, which promptly arrived last night in the shape of a Bugatti Vitesse, the encore to the Veyron, a car built purely for the satisfaction of seeing whether it could be done. It turns out after a bit of effort it could.
You heard it before you saw it, growling its way up the Fairmont Hairpin like a woken dog, its rear spoiler on display like battledress. People came from every direction to have a look, having followed the noise. One man kneeled, reverent, as he took a picture. Others simply smiled, most notably the valet parking man, who did his best to wipe the smile off his face as he was tossed the keys by the most trusting man in the world. His was the pleasure of backing it up six feet and then nudging it forward to parallel park it. Total journey distance: 21 feet; the best 21 feet of his life.
We have a similar situation at Monte Carlo Bay Hotel today. Just as you gawp at the main event you suddenly notice a high roller parked alongside. And then, while already in awe, a cash game of peculiar repute pulls up and you're given the keys. It's difficult to know where to look.
The cash game in action
The Bugatti parked up just as the cash game was in full swing last night and, as the EPT live team were reluctantly closing down owing to main event commitments tomorrow. It was left to Dutch PokerNews Blogger Frank Op De Woerd to handle coverage on his own.
Op de Woerd's commentary, which you can read in full on his @Webjoker twitter feed, is a brilliant example of "Alamo" poker reporting. Having secured a limited visibility spot on the rail nearest the table, he tweeted relentlessly until the battery on his Mac ran out. Undeterred, he switched to tweeting from his phone until he found an adaptor in his bag to fire up his laptop again. What followed were hundreds of tweets, enthusiastically reporting on everything he could see - the arrival and departure of players, the stack sizes, even the mood of the players - Isaac Haxton happy, up €1 million, Sam Trickett riled, Paul Newey reluctant to play short-handed.
Eventually it ended at 5.30am, when they announced three more hands, at which point Talal Shakerchi left by saying: "goodbye, see you guys tomorrow." That's right, they're coming back for more at around 3pm today. For the record, after a little sleep, Op de Woerd was back at work today before all of us.
Naturally a game like this raises a raft of questions, usually from people wanting the world - to watch online and see hole cards. It's an urge that will have to be measured, owing to the Lamborghini in the next room.
Or is the cash game the Lamborghini? Is the Bugatti actually rolling up to play on the main stage, with coverage starting at 2pm on EPT Live? We all have our opinions of what is the best car (there was a lovely Renault Megane on Casino Square a couple of nights ago). The same goes for what's currently stands as the best game in town.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.
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