EPT11 Deauville: Welcome to the House of Bluff, welcome to the lion's den
If you've ever flicked idly through the television channels when you know you really should be doing something better, the chances are you've muttered to yourself something like: "Is there really nothing they can't make a reality TV show about?"
In addition to asking people to bake, sew, eat caterpillars, sell the contents of their attic, get a haircut, live on a farm and pleasure a pig, reality television has also recently been giving poker the full treatment. La Maison du Bluff, a television programme produced in association with PokerStars, has aired for four seasons on French and Belgian television since 2010, and the format has also now made it to Italy.
La Maison du Bluff -- or The House of Bluff -- is probably best described as a cross between Big Brother and The Big Game: a group of strangers are locked in a house for up to five weeks, during which they play poker every night (as well as do the other things that young people get up to when locked in a house with each other).
Their continued residence in the house depends on the chips they manage to accumulate during those games -- or, more precisely, the chips they manage not to lose. If you're eliminated from the week-end final table, you're told to pack your bags and hit the road.
Players who win the most chips along the way manage to get out of the household chores, while the winners at the end of each series earn up to €150,000 and a contract with PokerStars. They join the ranks of the TV Stars, get a patch on their shirts and a buy-in to some of the most prestigious events on the calendar.
Along the way, the likes of Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Julien Brecard, Ronan Montfort and even Sebastien Chabal put the prospective TV Stars through their paces, offering some pretty solid schooling. It's useful. Season Four, which aired last year, was won by Christophe Ducrot, who is playing here in Deauville this week -- and he is up against Montfort, the Team PokerStars Pro Online, for real this afternoon.
I haven't watched a whole lot of La Maison du Bluff, but it seems it is all available online, on the PokerStars.fr YouTube channel. There have been some rumours doing the rounds in the press room today that a couple of episodes show more than just poker too: a lot of young people, a house, some beds, etc., etc. You work it out.
In the meantime, I can tell you that Ducrot battles on into level four of the day today. It's even more real than reality TV.
Coverage from the Main Event of EPT Deauville is on the Main Event page. The FPS will wrap up today. Coverage from that is on the FPS Page. And you can follow the action from Australia on the Aussie Millions page.