EPT9 Prague: Perfect conditions for a week indoors
It's now snowing in Prague, which is hardly surprising given that it's minus two degrees outside. It's enough to make your face go numb, which is tricky when it comes to things like shaving after a morning constitutional. It's also hard to speak when your face feels like it's been larruped by a leather belt.
The weather is one of several facets making the Prague Hilton one of the best places on the tour to host an event like this. For if there's one essential truth in this game it's that a sizable percentage of players prefer long stretches indoors to anything like a trip outside, and, with the temperature cold enough to make even a teetotaler want to dive into a barrel of mulled wine, Prague satisfies all of those demands.
The Prague Hilton, taken from outside
The tournament room is one of the largest on the tour, unchanged since the first running of this event and tucked away in ground floor of the Hilton, beneath the lobby. The only difference over the years is the absence of cigarette smoke in the hall outside, which used to make a walk from your table to the gentlemen's bathroom the equivalent of smoking 40 a day.
In keeping with the poker player's inherent need to stay in, the hotel offers bars and restaurants upstairs, none of which promises anything like the slightest glimpse of a window to remind you of the real world taking place outside. It's here you can fill your boots at lunch with club sandwiches and local beer until the cows come home, usually to be slaughtered for flap steaks and served with chips in the bistro at dinner. As for everything else there's a hotel shop that will sort you out for diamond rings, jewellery and assorted bling.
But no man is an island, and at some point the call of the outside will grow strong. Hair product doesn't last for ever and neither do snickers bars.
Luckily help is at hand in the form of a branch of Albert, a supermarket, a mere 60 yard dash away, where you can stock up on everything from bread and bananas to light bulbs to lollipops. It's sanctuary for the player on a budget. If you're a really good player get someone to go for you. Needless to say, as on most EPT stops, there's a branch of McDonalds, the call of the Big Mac coming from across the street.
Of course, that's your blue print if you only go out because you're forced to by a lack of cigarettes or rickets. Step out a little further and you'll find one Europe's most beautiful cities to be explored, a more than adequate compensation from main event elimination. Then again there's always a side event to play and a supermarket sandwich for lunch and dinner. Prague really does cater to all tastes.
Follow hand-by-hand coverage, plus latest chip counts, in the panel at the top of the main EPT Prague page.