EPT9 Monaco Day 1A: Seeking professional help, from amatuers
Part of poker's appeal is its openness to all generations. The old play alongside the young, and against whoever it is that fills the bit in between them. It's not age that's important, but your level of ability. Bankroll size too I suppose, but the point still stands.
None of this takes into account a poker player's capacity to survive in the real world, or live alongside others whose principle preoccupation is not the big blind. That is quite apparent in Monte Carlo.
Just because you're wearing a shirt and a lanyard it doesn't mean you're part of the tournament staff. But then sometimes worlds collide making it confusing for a lot of people, including Artak Meyroyan who put his faith in me when he arrived at Le Sporting to take his seat.
The main event is open to all ages
Let's back track. Meyroyan didn't have a seat. He drew near to ask how he could play and here our two worlds crossed - the first world being one in which ten grand can be spent on a seat in a poker tournament, and the other world in which it cannot. Meyroyan, assuming I would know anything, saw me on the tournament floor and asked how to register. I directed him towards the registration desk outside and got on with counting the number of Day 1A players. A few moments later he tapped me on the shoulder again, thrusting two tickets towards me.
At this point it occurred to me that this man could have simply wandered in off the street, seen signs for poker and, being a bit of a fan, decided to play. He wore a simple sweater, nondescript trousers with a suede pouch attached to his belt containing a mobile phone, something usually accompanied by white knee high socks and sandals. I began to wonder if Meyroyan understood what all those zeros on his receipt actually meant. But, he seemed to be happy with it and, without using any words as such, asked where his table was.
By now I felt responsible for Meyroyan, like the Asian proverb that applies to those people who save someone's life after they jump onto the subway tracks - he who saves someone's life is then responsible for their life. Or something. So I took Meyroyan to his seat, told him to give the ticket to the dealer and left him to it.
I was not the only one taking on the parental role. Freddy Deeb, who I like to think demands immaculate manners from others, was trying to get through to the young player in seat 6 whose habit was to toss his cards away high enough for everyone to see. Deeb told him to be careful. The young guy gave a curt nod but said nothing and didn't flinch from tapping the screen of his mobile phone, ambivalence familiar to parents of teenagers around the world.
So yes, young and old can play alongside each other. Although to some players that doesn't necessarily make it a good thing.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.
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