EPT8 Monaco: The world beyond Le Sporting


For anyone thinking that Monaco is too expensive a place to enjoy, too exclusive for your regular poker player, too far away for your regular traveller or two uninteresting for the enthusiastic tourist, you might have a point. But you can find yourself easily be swayed to the contrary by a walk along the seafront, into Monte Carlo, for dinner in the open air.

The jokes are routine now about the "luxury" element of Monaco; you can't pretend this is a place that belongs to anyone short of a few million Euros. For a start the walk to the restaurant alone (on sidewalks you can see your reflection in) takes you past a Bentley dealership, a McLaren dealership, a Ferrari dealership and the type of shops that require an invitation to enter.

Casino Square (there's a Morelli's Ice Cream parlor just off to the left)

But you set out to find something new because back at Le Sporting a toasted cheese sandwich from the bar will set you back €19, washed down by a €9 Coke, served to you by waiting staff who look like they were told a joke a few minutes earlier.

But there exist places within 20 minutes of Le Sporting where you can eat hot food for around €20 and buy a beer for less than ten (Have you lost your mind? -- Ed). There's nothing wrong with a breeze when it's 22 degrees outside, and if you spend long enough drinking coffee in the open on a street corner you see all sorts of sights, like rich drunk people staggering up towards Casino Square and even a rare bottle-green 1988 Honda Accord with a dented left wing, dropping into second to take Mirabeau.

But perhaps our reluctance to embrace this place's ludicrous wealth is misplaced, even with our pockets turned out and emptied by our Evian habit.

The richest poker tour in the world should come to the richest playground in the world. The EPT is about more than poker, it's about glamour, talent, effort and a dash of aspiration. What's not to like about a place that harnesses those virtues and packages them up in tax-free gilded wrapping and calls it real life?

If you're still not sure the EPT will be back here again in a year from now, with a revised schedule and even more opportunities to win your trip for free (a word with no direct translation in Monegasque). Come find out for yourself.

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Stephen Bartley
@StephenBartley in Season 8