EPT Monte Carlo: Picture perfect on Cote D'Azur

When I passed through Monte Carlo five days ago on my way back from the PokerStars.com EPT San Remo it was 18 degrees and I looked but I couldn’t see a cloud in the sky. It was sandals weather, beach weather - in short the weather Monte Carlo was designed for.

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Monte Carlo then...

Today it’s squalls. Wind, rain and greyness. But it’s still Monte Carlo and so what if you forgot an umbrella? The town still resonates with the spirit of spring time and is decorated with beautiful people.

The weather issue didn’t go unnoticed by a young guy sitting next to me on the plane who saw the dark skies as a bad sign. Being a poker player he was referring to his chances in the Grand Final, putting too much faith perhaps in the fortunes of luck than in the ability that got him here via a PokerStars.com satellite.
I’d left home at 5.55am this morning; my friend had left at “5.55am... on the tenth of April.” That was yesterday. 23 hours later (his time from Arkansas) he was touching down in Nice.

For anyone who hasn’t been to these parts there’s a unique approach to landing at Nice Airport. The route comes in off Provence, along the Cote D’Azur before shadowing the beach to touchdown, the plane descending all the time until the wheels squeak and the nervous breathe easy.

What they don’t tell you is that the runway juts out into the sea. All you notice on approach from row 33 are the windsurfers waving up at you as the plane skims the waves. Then, at the last second, as you try to remember the procedure for a landing on water, the ground reappears, you touch down and the co-pilot thanks you for choosing that airline.

Today the low cloud followed us down all the way. I wouldn’t have blamed the pilot for closing his eyes as the wheels hit concrete - I know I did.

I wished my qualifier friend well without asking his name, taking into account my poor memory and that I’d see him testing those weather omens at the poker table this week. I took the road route into Monaco as assortments of high-rollers and those choosing to live it up for a few days headed for the chopper pad. Whilst my driver sparred with me in French I watched out for the views over the Mediterranean.

Instead there was only fog, a vast white sheet like a blank canvas ready to be painted with a new scene – anything possible, which fittingly is what the PokerStars.com EPT Monte Carlo has in store this week. It’s a blank canvass ready for someone to make their mark. 24 hours from now it might already be over for some of the players arriving here today – back to the helicopter pad or a taxi if the need to splash out is not so strong. But for others tomorrow will be the start of a truly memorable week of EPT poker.

The tide continues to come in, threatening to take some sun loungers back out to sea with it, but the sun is suddenly shining; the sea is ditching grey for its original blue. All signs are optimistic.

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Monte Carlo now...

Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in EPT Monte Carlo