If you hadn’t already heard, there’s a new television set for The PokerStars Monte-Carlo®Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final, not to mention the new name. It’s a beacon of joy and loveliness, bringing with it either fame and fortune, or belittling humiliation in front of a worldwide television audience.
Televised feature tables are getting more and more visually spectacular on their way to what can be the only inevitable setting, the inside of a hollowed out dormant volcano. But even then someone else will simply recreate the same set in a live volcano. This table is no less stunning.
Gone is the brown velour, in has come neon and LED lighting, a bank of it running along the back of the stage with the EPT logo in the middle, the whole structure made out of what looks like plastic bricks linked together.
There’s no noise up here on the stage, with the exception of Robbie Thompson quietly calling the cards for the guys in the truck out back, logging the action. I say no noise, there are of course the sounds of regular lunatics from the tournament floor, yelling about their success, or possibly their defeat; the security guards edging near them finding it difficult to tell.
There’s also some noise coming from the secondary feature, just off camera, where Daniel Negreanu, Marcel Luske and Freddy Deeb play. But on the main stage all is quiet, except for the audible hum of the generator behind the set.
The main draw comes in the form of three particular players; former World Series Main Event winner Joe Cada, former World Series of Poker Europe main event winner Annette Obrestad, and Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree.
Boeree sits with her head resting on her arm, which is leaning on the edge of the oversized table. Cada on the other hand, leans forward slightly, ready to play. Obrestad meanwhile looks like she always does; calm, still, ferocious, like a kitten with a machine gun. She may be the smallest here but hers is the biggest presence.
She just dispatched Joackim Fissenko without fanfare. He got up to leave while Obrestad smiled at something another player said. Funny perhaps, but she’s coming after him next.
Harking back to our comments made yesterday about dressing for the occasion, Obrestad is in full battle dress, a red one actually, with a red scarf, heels, and red nail varnish. Another version of Obrestad exists somewhere dressed in all white. This version though is everything you would fear at a poker table.
Off the table Obrestad isn’t half as scary.
“I think it looks great,” she said, talking about the new set at the break. “I think it looks so much better than the old one. I actually commented on that a few days ago. They changed it and it looks really good.”
And did she choose the red dress to look menacing at the table?
“It’s not red, it’s pink! Pink is supposed to be a sweet colour, it’s not scary.”
Well a little bit scary.