EPT10 Grand Final: A Presidential address

Playing on the European Poker Tour is an outstanding experience and everybody should certainly give it a try. But the word "unique" is not actually true in this context, because of the deliberate strides made by tournament organisers over the past few seasons to ensure the crucial details of each stop are the same.

No matter if you're in Sanremo, Barcelona, Prague, Vienna, London, Deauville or Monaco, Main Event players know in advance plenty of details about the tournament. The EPT has succeeded in bringing familiarity to major live poker events and it offers some welcome comfort in a world of such inherent unpredictably.

The start of play on the Main Event's opening flights is one occasion on which everything is precisely stage-managed. Players are allowed to filter to their tables at a precisely allotted time, then the tournament room is plunged into darkness for a welcome video, before the presentations on the stage by Edgar Stuchly, President of the EPT.

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The EPT President, Edgar Stuchly, flanked by Toby Stone and Thomas Lamatsch

Stuchly is the consummate professional and has been doing his presentation twice at every stop this season. He never misses a beat. I expect some of the dealers in the room, who hear his speech every time, can recite it by rote, but I realised this morning that many of our readers might never have heard it. For them, and for posterity, here is the EPT President's Season 10 introduction (imagine it in an Austrian accent for the full experience; the city name, obviously, changes event by event):

Hello everyone, my name is Edgar Stuchly, president of the European Poker Tour and it is my enormous pleasure to welcome you on behalf of the whole team to the final stop in season 10. Welcome to the PokerStars and Monte Carlo Casino EPT Grand Final. It is actually the ninth time that the EPT returns to Monaco, one of the most glamorous and beautiful destinations in Europe, and a wonderful place to end a fantastic season ten. First and foremost I would like to thank you all for joining and supporting the EPT and making it the biggest, richest and most prestigious poker tour on the planet.

I want to extend my warmest thanks to our partner, SBM, as well as to our sponsors Skrill, Slyde, Shamballa, Duracell Power Mat, Thee Best Hands, Poker Tracker and Copag. Many, many thanks to our teams, the tournament staff and media who have worked incredibly hard to make this season so successful. I'm pleased to introduce you to your tournament directors on the European Poker Tour, Mr Toby Stone and Mr Thomas Lamatsch. They will join you on your journey to the EPT Grand Final title.

We wish you success on the tables and a great time here in Monaco. So dealers, please shuffle up and deal.

Stuchly will likely change a few details for Season 11 -- probably just sponsors' names, rather than a wholesale, "Welcome to the desolate industrial wasteland of Port Talbot", or some such -- but there's another crucial part of the day start package that will need reworking.

Ride On The River -- aka the EPT Rap -- has become the soundtrack to Season 10 and is usually played several times before the start of play. However, Nick Javas, the song's author and performer, took a bit of a risk when he wrote the song, including at least three tidbits of information in the lyrics that could quickly render the song out of date.

Although neither Luca Pagano nor Johnny Lodden won a title this year (Javas brought attention to their continued title drought), he also shimmied out on a limb with the words, "Never seen a double, gotta say it's kind of weird."

When Victoria Coren Mitchell triumphed in Sanremo last month, that limb promptly snapped.

It might just be, therefore, that Ride on the River has been played this morning for the last time at the Salle des Etoiles. Play it again below and watch through misty eyes.

All the hand-by-hand action from the tournament floor is available in the panel at the top of the main EPT Grand Final page. The France Poker Series final table is being streamed on EPTLive.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour