EPT8 Monaco: Saluting the wives and girlfriends
The lights went out, the introductions were made, the video of past winners was played, spliced with images of sunny Monaco, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier laughed at pictures of himself winning the PCA and we were under way, with lights on and eight levels to play.
Monaco is now a familiar place on the tour, what with it being the seventh time in eight seasons that the EPT has found its way to Monaco after a long season. The Salle des Etoiles sparkles in that way it always has in Neil Stoddart's photography, while its windows remains draped and the room grows packed with poker players.
One of the interesting phenomena that appears at the start of an event like this is the appearance of the wives and girlfriends (and a few boyfriends), congregating on the rail as play starts, not yet realising that their capacity to see any of the action is limited to the table closest to them, provided that bald guy in seat five moves his head to the right.
They're a mixed bunch of various ages, mainly young and slightly younger, some with their breasts scaffolded into anti-gravitational directions, others in looser clothing, allowing the outline of their slim fit jeans to do the talking, as well as the sparkly bits on their handbags.
You feel, however, that most are there until they can reasonably suggest they go and find something better to do while their loved ones fold for the next few hours. Poker doesn't really lend itself to spectating, at least not on the main floor, although when EPT Live comes to life for the final table on Monday (and the Tournament of Champions on Tuesday), the view should be spectacular.
Contrast that with the new EPT feature table set, which will be coming to life after the first break of the day. All purple and blue, with a giant LED screen at the back, it hums with anticipation with a neat row of seating for those inclined, giving the best view in the house. Talk is that this viewing area will be expanded next season, a second tier giving even better access to the action, whether they love the person playing or not.
Here's to the wives and girlfriends.