EPT10 Deauville: France looking for another first

A year ago our blogging colleague Stephen Bartley penned a post near the start of the EPT9 Deauville Main Event the title of which reads somewhat provocatively in retrospect: "The odds are against a new local hero."

As Stephen outlined for us then, the EPT's annual visit to the Casino Barrière in Deauville unsurprisingly attracts a high percentage of French players. Indeed, a year ago players from France made up 49% of the total field of 782 entrants. But at the time of his post, only once had a French player emerged to win a Main Event at Deauville when the Parisian Lucien Cohen topped a field of 891 to win EPT7 Deauville, prompting a raucous celebration.


EPT7 Deauville Main Event Champion Lucien Cohen

We say Stephen's "odds against" title now reads provocatively, of course, because as it would happen a second French winner would emerge here a year ago.

Remi Castaignon of Saint Aunix Lengos, a small village in the southwest of France, carried a massive chip lead to the final eight-handed table -- he had 9.9 million when the nearest challenger, Walid Bou Habib, had but 3.835 million. However a stumble early on saw Castaignon lose much of that stack to fall back to the pack, and it looked for a time that once again France would be denied.

Such a result would have probably yielded alliterative headlines like "Deauville Disappointment Déjà Vu" following what happened in the Season 8 Main Event here the year before. That's when no less than five players from France remained among the final six, then Vadzim Kursevich of Belarus survived them all to win after a lengthy heads-up duel versus Paul Guichard.


EPT8 Deauville Main Event Champion Vadzim Kursevich

But Castaignon recovered to regain the chip lead and eventually would square off against Habib heads-up with a 2-to-1 chip advantage. Ultimately a pair of treys proved enough to claim the last of Habib's stack, and Castaignon had claimed a second Deauville crown for the home country.


EPT9 Deauville Main Event Champion Remi Castaignon

A quick scan of the 200 or so players seated so far on Day 1a reveals that Cohen is here looking for a second Deauville win. Also present is the other Frenchman who made last year's Main Event final table, fifth-place finisher Franck Kalfon.

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EPT9 Deauville Main Event fifth-place finisher, Franck Kalfon

Those who watched last year's coverage of the Deauville final table on EPTLive will remember "Special Agent" Kalfon, so dubbed by co-hosts James Hartigan and Joe Stapleton. Kalfon went on to enjoy a successful 2013, making several more final tables in events in Paris and Deauville during the year.

Players continue to arrive here during the tourney's first level. Keep an eye on our live reporting page in the early going to see what other EPT champions, French players, and special agents are making up the EPT10 Deauville field.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in European Poker Tour