EPT10 Grand Final: Today's free dose of blue sky

It's a well-worn joke that poker players spend most of the time indoors. They're either at home playing online with the curtains drawn, or in cavernous tournament room somewhere with very little natural light.

That's why a special service is laid on each year during the EPT Grand Final. As players take their seats the roof of the Salles Des Etoiles opens up, unveiling a clear blue sky and light coming from a bright shiny orb far, far away.

Like school milk, this sunlight is provided free of charge to ensure regular European Poker Tour players get at least one dose of Vitamin A during each EPT season. Just a few minutes provides enough nutrients to keep players healthy for the remaining 11 months and three weeks of the year.

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Today's dose of blue sky

After a few minutes, as skin begins to blister and eyes fail to recognise the difference between red and black cards, the roof is closed again. The two giant sections above inch back together, restoring the sought after darkness.

As far as darkness goes though it's pretty special. For anyone not familiar with the Salle des Etoile it is a sparkly grand theatre perfect for a tournament such as this, with ascending tiers of tables providing space for hundreds of players. The view is spectacular, with a view of the bay, and the Monte Carlo skyline and the French hill tops looking down over the Principality. Today the curtains are closed.

Right now the Super High Roller field is filling up nicely, the few who arrived early hugging each other warmly. There's no other public activity in the world in which participants hug the people who may very soon take €100,000 off of them, with the possible exception of a rich benefactor handing over a large cheque during a telethon. And yet here old friends take a seat alongside each other knowing that they cannot always win.

You can find all the detail of those players, as well as the hands they play against each other, in our live coverage, on the relevant widget at the top right corner of this page. They play until 9pm tonight when the Super High Roller makes way for a certain friendly cash game.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.