EPT Deauville: Job 2 Stars finalists fight it out
by Mad Harper
It's been a grueling process - they've had to smile for the cameras, play top-notch poker and struggle through a field of thousands, but now they're in the final and fighting for a €300,000 prize.
Whatever the payouts are for the EPT Deauville main event, ten players here in the Salle des Ambassadeurs are engrossed in their own private battle. They are finalists in the PokerStars Job 2 Stars contest and are competing for what is arguably one of the best "jobs" in the world - a €100,000 salary from PokerStars and €200,000 worth of live event buy-ins.
Pierre Canali, 27, co-presenter of this year's French PCA webcast, says that being one of the Job 2 Stars finalists is adding a lot of pressure. He said: "At the moment, there are about four of us who are all at the top and very close in points. We are almost equal - so that doesn't make today very easy."
The contest started with a series of qualifying satellites on PokerStars. Ninety players got through, joined by ten other qualifiers who had sent in "job application" videos.
That made 100 players who took part in the live semi-final in Paris in December - another round of contests in which the players competed for points. First they were interviewed by a four-man jury and three experts - including a psychologist. Next came a battleship tournament, then a heads-up challenge against Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, and finally a Sit N Go.
Pierre was one of the ten that made it through, along with Thomas Bichon, one of France's best-known high stakes cash game players, and rising star Benjamin Pollak. All were invited to EPT Deauville for the "final interview" - competing in the main event. Canali said: "I think I have a good chance to win but it will be very hard. This is essentially a last longer now - and Bichon will be tough to beat."