Guillaume de la Gorce leads on home soil at EPT Deauville
Observers to Day 1A of the European Poker Tour in Deauville might well have asked themselves just what the devil was going on. Entry into EPT Main Events is exclusive enough to start with, but today players arriving at the Deauville International Centre had another obstacle in their way as they queued up to register for not one but two bracelets of various colours, one of which got you into the tournament room, the other across the rail and to your seat.
Once you got there things were no clearer. Today's field was bereft of many of the tour's regulars, those mentally tagged faces that usually take advantage of Day 1A's reputation as being the softer option. Instead new faces made up a field of 419, a field that by the close had absorbed the departure of more than 200 near-anonymous faces.
Cards not in the air
After eight one-hour levels, Day 1A had become something like one of those nights out accidentally spent alone, the people you expected failing to materialise leaving you looking for something that at least looks familiar.
The field on Day 1A
But as we leave after a day's play it's Guillaume de la Gorce who we'll look back on from the taxi rank as being chip leader. It may have appeared like an uneventful day, but not if you were the Frenchman, finishing on 196,800, or Bruno Launais, closing on 185,900 or, for that matter, Julien Muel on 183,100. They lead at this tentative early stage.
Chip leader Guillaume de la Gorce
Not far behind you'll find Pedro Mendes on 166,300 and Nicolas Babel on 164,100, as among those gathering chips, along with PokerStars qualifier Pierre Calamusa on 154,300.
Regardless of what our outsider might have thought the ranks of Team PokerStars Pro were here to get an early foothold on the event, including some who finished the day in credit, including Julien Brecard (41,800), Christophe de Meulder (40,400), Matthias de Meulder (39,800) and Marcin Horecki (22,300).
Christophe de Meulder
For others though EPT Deauville is now no more than a receipt and a bad memory, with John Duthie, Vicky Coren and Fatima Moreira de Melo busting out today, while Theo Jorgensen and Thomas Bichon are missing in action. We also lost last year's champion Jake Cody. They do get to keep their wristbands as souvenirs.
Fatima Moreira de Melo
You can catch up on all the events of the day at the links below while the official chip counts will be available on the chip count page as soon as they are made official by tournament staff later tonight.
Play restarts tomorrow at the Deauville International Centre when Day 1B begins at noon. Taking their seats will be the likes of Daniel Negreanu, Vanessa Rousso and Liv Boeree, part of a field that should eclipse that of today's.
Our thanks to Neil Stoddart for all the photography today, including this nifty puddle work...
Casino Barriere doubled
While you do that we intend to fill the time by watching Simon Young's beloved Ipswich Town fight tooth and nail against the mighty Arsenal in the cup and react accordingly. Normandy hotel staff have blue drinks on standby.
See you tomorrow.