EPT9 Berlin Day 1A: Berlin in a dinner break
Talking about what's going on outside is often pointless when shouting it from the inside of a poker tournament. Getting players to turn their backs on the tables and go outside when they've flown from around the world to be here, is usually pointless, and we tend only to write things to convince our own mothers that we're not wasting this opportunity to see the world.
And so we do so again in the hope that one player, frustrated perhaps by the pitfalls of no-limit hold'em, will seek refuge in the world outside, guided by this simple guide to "Berlin in a dinner break".
Not that we've actually done any of this. The most immediate cultural hotspot, if you can avoid walking directly into the neighbouring casino, is the Theatre am Potsdamer Platz.
For as long as the EPT has darkened the towels of the Grand Hyatt, the musical Hinterm Horizon ("Beyond the Horizon") has hung its banner outside the theatre. On it is a silhouette of Udo Lindenberg - long hair and a pork pie hat -- whose songs feature throughout the show, which we understand is a love story of West meets East across the Berlin wall.
We've never been and probably never will, but we did once see Lindenberg in the hotel bar. Known for his croaky voice, owing to a career of drinking, smoking and heart attacks, the man had earned a pack of Marlboros, having spent the past 42 years making 45 albums of Krautrock.
Beyond that stands Potsdamer Platz, across which the Berlin wall used to stand. A few last blocks remain, graffiti now on op of the original graffiti with a permanent gaggle of tourists posing in front of them alongside fancy dressed guards in Red and NATO Army uniforms. For a few Euros they will also stamp your passport with enough old East Berlin and Soviet stamps that your trip through immigration at McCarran Airport, in Las Vegas, will never be the same again.
The view towards Potsdamer Platz
A short walk away is the Tiergarten, a vast open space so large that from the middle it's easy to forget you're in one of the busiest capitals in the world. Only the tell-tale joggers suggest otherwise.
Back out and to the north east is the centuries old Brandenburg Gate, a "big" archway topped by an illuminated quadriga - a four horse chariot raced by the likes of Charlton Heston in ancient games. Now it stands at the head of the Unter den Linden, one of Berlin's principle tree-lined boulevards leading from West to East, where all the interesting stuff is.
But there's no time to see all that because by then the dinner break will be nearing an end and it will be time to get back. Weave your way back through the Holocaust memorial on the way back and at least you can say, as you get back to riffling your chips, that you saw something.
The Holocaust memorial
Think how impressed your mother will be. Just be ready with an explanation at McCarran when they ask if you were ever a Soviet agent.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter