Barcelona, London, Baden, Dublin, Copenhagen and now here. Welcome to Deauville, France, for the French Open, the latest stopping point of the PokerStars European Poker Tour (EPT).
The news, as ever, is good. In fact, it's better. When the final numbers are in, this could turn out to be the largest poker tournament hosted in France, with upwards of 450 players paying their €4,000 buy-in. We'll know the complete number of entrants some time later today, just as we will also then be aware how much they are playing for, and who will get what.
What is already evident is that the next four days will be spectacular. It might even be "a" spectacular. The Casino Barrieère de Deauville is as opulent as setting as you could hope to find for a week away with someone special, let alone a week in the company of cards and chips.
The building is merely a seagull's swoop from the harbour and beach, the poker tables themselves are arranged benath crystal chandeliers, the carpet snuggles up around your ankles. I write this from the stage of the grand ballroom, knowing that soon the room will be filled with the familiar sight of poker players in baseball caps and T-shirts, but half-expecting a sea of gowns and tuxedos to come waltzing through.
There are two flights to Day One - A and B. Today it's A, tomorrow it's B and then Friday will host Day Two, with the final table being contested on Sunday.
Players begin with 10,000 in chips, with the blinds starting at 25-50 and increasing every hour. The full structure can be seen here
There are 83 PokerStars qualifiers in the field, 70 of which came from cash satellite tournaments, 13 putting their FPPs to use. We will introduce as many as possible and please feel free to e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org if there are any qualifiers in particular you would like to see, know their chip count, give a message of support to, etc.
At the top of the page, you can see a scrolling bar where we will publish as many chip counts as possible throughout the tournament. With so many players - and so many chips - chip counting is not a precise science, but you will certainly get an indication of the main movers there.
Play begins at 2pm, central European time. That's one hour ahead of the United Kingdom and six hours ahead of the east coast of the United States.