EPT8 Deauville: The look of the opening level


The tournament area is dominated not by the seven tables in action, but by a French camera team, whose tripod mounted camera is causing gridlock in the middle of the playing area. It's not the only camera in action, two more float around, not to mention that belonging to Artem Litvinov, a phone camera, which he has placed in front of him to film, well, his face as he plays each hand, or did have until Luca Pagano, possibly freaked out, reminded Litvinov (whose previous antics have included tossing a coin to determine every decision) that cameras were not allowed on the table.

The players are by and large quiet, the only chatter coming from those watching on the rail, including Lucien Cohen, in a red puffy jacket, and a small group railing Jean-Jacque Mars.

Mars quite literally cuts an impressive jib in the main event, or at least Edward Sexton did. Mars wears a plaid suit cut by Sexton ("I wear nothing else," said Mars), who, with Tommy Nutter, became one of the pioneers of Saville Row in London, dressing icons of the 60s and 70s such as Mick Jagger and The Beatles in his trademark suits featuring a waisted jacket with unmistakable wide lapels.

It's all in the lapels: Jean-Jacques Mars

If that wasn't enough to make Mars conspicuous, he also chews a large Cohiba cigar, occasionally pausing to peel off a layer that has come loose. He also smiles a lot. Mars is a man enjoying his poker, even to the extent that he breaks the accepted norm for some sections of the poker crowd by apologising to the dealer after arriving back at his table late from a chat on the rail, missing the hand. He apologised. We don't see that enough.

One player not apologising is Mikael Guenni a table along, who after letting out a whoop of sharp edged joy was cautioned by tournament director Thomas Lamatsch who suggested he keep the noise down next time; if there was a next time.

Guenni had already shown flashes of ill-temper, raising all-in a few hands prior and tossing two red tens at a player who was the last to fold what became an uncontested hand. Now he refused to let Lamatsch get a word in, defending his histrionics and sitting down as if Lamatsch was not even there.

At Guenni's table is Martins Adeniya. Adeniya had led this time yesterday and looked about to do the same at the close last night. Now though he's down to around the 600,000 mark.

"Bad start," he said, stretching his legs between hands. "It's all good. Still above average. It happens."

It's a spirit which may help to keep Adeniya alive for some time yet. At the very least Adeniya believes in his capacity to recover. At least one other player, Frenchman Etienne Moudaress, shared a similar confidence, stepping away from his chair to make a brief phone call which featured the words "yeah baby!"

We're down to 47.