EPT8 Berlin: All good as German leg aims to break records
The great thing about Germany is that everything works; the transport infrastructure, the system, it all runs smoothly, and even when you find it doesn't bend at all, normally when you're leaning on it, you come away knowing that you were not unnecessarily hindered at all. The problem was you, not them.
Take the flight to Berlin, for example. The plane taxied into Berlin Tegel Airport, came to a halt and turned its engines off. There came a silence as the engines powered down, a few seconds before the all clear ping sounded. It wasn't until then that passengers unclipped their seat belts, a far cry from some countries where passengers take it upon themselves to unpack their overhead luggage as the rear wheels hit the runway centre line, while making a telephone call.
Then there are the taxis. Our bags wouldn't fit into the first taxi, an Audi, that was next in line, but this was no concern. An adjacent line of bigger taxis was a few feet away. Sure, this meant giving up Vorsprung durch Technik for the heat treated plastic moulded convenience of an Opel, but it got the job done.
The streets of Berlin are neatly organised, bringing you in quickly from the airport along Stresse 17 June, past the Tiergarten, the Siegessäule and the Brandenberg Gate, turning right along the line in the pavement that used to be the Berlin Wall, to Potsdamer Platz, where pipelines, built above ground rather than below, are painted bright pink, as if transporting cold war strawberry milk to the west.
This is also where you'll find the Hyatt Hotel and its neighbouring Spielbank Casino 30 yards away, host to the third incarnation of the EPT Berlin festival, the penultimate event of this eighth EPT season.
Ich bin ein berliner
In past years this has, quite frankly, been an eventful occasion. In its inaugural running Kevin MacPhee won a million Euros and turned his name into a headline, brushing aside the antics of a few idiots with a preference for McDonalds, who didn't count on a man named Roman and several dozen security cameras. Then last year, Ben Wilinofsky talked his way to a first title, defeating Max Heinzelmann heads-up (who then came second again in San Remo) to collect a cheque for €825,000.
MacPhee will be here, as will Wilinofsky, fresh from his third place finish in WPT Vienna yesterday. Joining them will be a field of up to 1,300 players, potentially the biggest field in EPT history (beyond the PCA), split between the Hyatt and the Spielbank across the street.
It sounds like a logistical nightmare, but as I said, it will nevertheless work perfectly.