Eureka3 Czech Republic: Welcome to Rozvadov, via Las Vegas and Prague
I don't think anyone would be offended if I said that Rozvadov is not exactly Las Vegas. This is an unassuming small town, apparently little more than a turn-off from the main motorway that links the Czech Republic and Germany. But for poker players of central Europe, it has a similar attraction to Nevada's Sin City: this is the biggest card room in these parts and hosts the very biggest tournaments and cash games.
Not only that, but there's something about the card room that does actually remind one of Las Vegas. Although for the most part, the room resembles any other card club the world over (deeply patterned carpets, orderly lines of kidney-shaped tables, small silver-rimmed side-tables crammed with water bottles, coffee cups and electronic gadgetry, etc.) it also stretches off into an unusually-decorated annex.
In this area, the carpet gives way to cobblestones, the anonymous wall decorations yield to the fascias of charming shops and cafes and a large mural depicts Prague's Charles Bridge. It is, to all intents and purposes, a recreation of the Czech capital city; as if the designers behind the New York, New York, Paris and Venetian casinos in Las Vegas had turned their hands to Prague.
And they have done a really good job. I'm not joking. The attention to detail is exceptional, with authentic street signs and window dressings, and a door that leads out onto a terrace for food and drinks. It is also functional: one "shop" window houses two television screens bearing the tournament clocks, so players in that area can keep up with the tournament progress, even as they get carried away with the idea that they are on a charming city-break.
With more than 250 players already signed up for the day, the cobbled area is now in play. (The cobblestones, by the way, are made of some kind of soft, rubbery substance. But they look real.) Dealers are currently sitting behind tables that snake all the way up to the Charles Bridge, and with four levels open for registration, they may yet be dealing all the way to Prague and back.
Tournament update: All of our big names have now taken their seats. Sandra Naujoks is in the cobbled area, described above, and Chris De Meulder is also here. He turned up into level two.
We have already lost two players. The first man out was Ferenc Gal, who shipped his chips to Dorde Jovanovic. He was followed to the rail by Marko Ilicic.