Even though a player may not beam after winning a hand, you could tell that Stephane Benadiba had enjoyed a pot just won. He’d bet quickly and aggressively, perhaps tempting the player opposite with the notion of strong means weak. To test his theory a re-raise was proffered, only for Benadiba to move all-in. A quick fold and that was that. Masculinity not too badly harmed in front of Gaelle Baumann in seat nine, and French actress Alice Taglioni in seat eight, star of Paris Manhattan, who looks far too glamorous for the poker world.
On table 32 there is something of a “live one”. Who knows exactly why players wear ski masks and two watches, but Johan Guilbert does. He also wears headphones and his head bobs and weaves to the music, like one of those dancing flower pots from the 1990s that reacted to sound. At the same table Laurynas Levinskas, hoping to score his third career live cash, reads “Winning Poker Tournaments III”, presumably having won the first two.
The tournament room in action
French singer and film star Patrick Bruel, who starred alongside Taglioni in Paris Manhattan, plays with one arm in a sling. The field is not exactly short of French stars today. On the other side of the room rapper Kool Shen sits two seats to the left of Louis Bertignac, a singer and songwriter distinguished by a shock of wirey hair that starts at his scalp before heading out in a thousand different directions. Both he and Shen are permanently in view of a camera.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter