EPT10 Grand Final: The elephant in the room at start of play

There was gross disquiet in the Salle des Etoiles as players arrived for the start of Day 3 of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final. There was an uninvited guest in the room.

The tournament director Thomas Lamatsch had noticed too and seized the microphone in the attempt to explain. He wanted the players to embrace the stranger, not to scorn him.

"Welcome to the sun," Lamatsch said. "You don't see it that often, maybe. But there it is. That's the sun."


That was indeed the sun. The huge roof of the tournament room had been slid back ahead of play and the curtains drawn aside. The room was coated in daylight, the players forced to bathe in sea of vitamin D.

Ana Marquez seemed positively horrified by the development. She put her arm across her eyes and recoiled as though an innocent victim of an alien invasion powerless to deny her fate. Similarly, Jason Duval stood up from his table clutching his red-backed iPad and prepared to take a photo of the sky.

The look of wonder on his face, a gawp in fact, was as if a UFO was hovering above Monte Carlo bay and he was documenting the end of time.

As the minutes edged closer to the start of play, the low drone of mechanics began again and the roof began to close once more. It felt now as though the slab on the top of a tomb moving ineluctably into place, snuffing out life's brief candle.

Ever the contrarian, Mark Teltscher piped up: "Why can't we play with it open?" Duval too seemed prepared now to bow to his new solar overlords. "You could leave the curtain open, I think," he said. "It's such a tease."

But they were not to get their wish. Narendra Banwari stood up from his table in order to photograph the last sliver of light peeking through the ever-diminishing gap. And then finally it was closed, the guest banished.

The Salle des Etoiles is such a one-trick pony, but it's a good trick.

Christoph Vogelsang knocked out Dominik Panka on the first hand of the day. And so the action begins again...

All the hand-by-hand action, including chip counts, will be in the panel at the top of the Main Event page. We will have feature pieces below that. There's also feature table action on EPTLive.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour