EPT9 Deauville: The EPT's petit frere
The European Poker Tour bowled into Deauville this week to find the town already teeming with poker players. They were here before the EPT even got out of bed to contest the grand final of the France Poker Series (FPS), the local tour through the Gallic region that encompasses tournaments in Amneville, Evian, Gujan-Mestras, Paris and Mazagan (Morocco).
This is the way things go at EPT events this year. In Barcelona, we celebrated the finale of the Estrellas Poker Tour at the start of the EPT festival. In Prague it was the end of the Eureka Poker Tour, the name some bright spark gave to the central and eastern European equivalent. In London next month, we will combine the EPT with the UKIPT, and here it is all about the FPS.
It means that at the far end of the tournament room today, there are two FPS events playing down to a winner. Local interest tends to be focused up there, even if the monstrous €5,000 EPT main event now takes up the lion's share of the space in this poker cavern.
The Main Event of the FPS was a €1,100 affair that attracted 828 hopefuls and created a €794,880 prize pool. It offered a first prize of €165,000, which is far from loose change for even the biggest players.
There were a handful of real stories among the final eight, including Konstantinos Nanos returning to a final table a couple of years after he finished third at EPT Vienna. Meanwhile Bruno Santos, who is usually seen in the press room, instead took a place at the tables and finished in fifth. Not bad for a freeroll.
Pretty good first day on the Dream Job
The same path from press room to final table had been trod by Ronan Monfort, albeit with even more substantial credentials. Monfort is also an erstwhile poker blogger, but at the end of last year he won a one-year contract with PokerStars.fr after emerging victorious from the unique "Dream Job" promotion.
The "Dream Job" began as an monstrous open tournament online, which whittled the field down to 100. After those 100 were found, they played another series of events at PokerStars.fr to bring them down to a final six.
That last half-dozen then went to Paris for a three-day boot-camp comprising more poker plus an interview process known as "Le Grand Oral" (behave). Points were awarded at all stages before Monfort, aka "Roroflush", was declared the winner.
Monfort gets €35,000 in tournament buy-ins, with the chance to wear the PokerStars patch for a year. He has got off to a fine start. He exchanged the first slice of his pie on the FPS event here then rode his hot streak all the way to three-handed play. When he bust late this afternoon, he had earned €60,000, which essentially multiplies his starting bankroll by three right from the off.
The event was won by Patrick Braga, yet another French Canadian victory on this season's EPT. After a sensational 2012 year for players from Quebec, (also see here or here, 2013 has kicked off in similar fashion.
FPS High Rollers
Like any good tour, the FPS does not confine itself to main events and also boasts a High Roller, costing €3,300 to enter. There were 222 players up for that one, of which 68 remained at the start of today.
That field included ElkY, but he bust within the first level of the day, and neither Kevin MacPhee nor Nicolas Levi could make it into the money. But there's still some quality in the mix as they are down to 16. Kent Lundmark is there, as is Steven Silverman. Neither of those is exactly a stranger to the big bucks.
They are in for a late night, though, as they must play to a winner. We'll catch up with the winner tomorrow.