Everyone has their reason for liking Sanremo. Each combined they make this sleepy town on the Riviera the draw that it is. But what exactly are they? Well, here’s a helpful list of some of them, which might go some way to explain what makes this EPT so unique.
It’s not that other EPT destinations are less hospitable, it’s just that in Sanremo a point is made to welcome you, and your money, to Italy. It’s as though they reward you for making the effort to get here. Players may come and go, busted from the Main Event within hours or minutes of the start, but each receives a buffet ticket for a smorgasbord of culinary delights suiting both the player still in – maybe a light salad or some fish – and the player already out — pasta, beef, and multiple bottles of wine.
It was a balmy 20 degrees in Sanremo today. The sun shone and a light breeze swept into town from over the sea. Sure, most of us didn’t get to go outside at all, but it was still true, the first proper sunshine on the EPT since the season opener in Barcelona. At last, the shorts-and-t-shirt look, so often adopted by young players regardless of climate, is actually appropriate for the weather outside.
The local media
When the EPT first came to Sanremo the local poker media treated the main event in much the same way they might have welcomed the Olympic Games. Bed sheets were ruined in order to fashion makeshift banners, on which were scrawled the well wishes of apparently passionate Italian poker fans for any Italian left in the field.
Casino Sanremo in bloom
If a home grown player doubled up, he celebrated, as did the Italian media, with all the flamboyance they could muster. If he eliminated a player, not only would the media stand on the shoulders of complete strangers to take a better picture, they would high five and shout with their countryman as if they’d personally had a part to play. In a way they had.
Of all the media outlets, those based in Italy seem the most reluctant to tone down their enthusiasm for the game that swept across this country like no other. For this, they’re a welcome, if temporary addition to the tour.
There’s nothing like an armed guard to keep people out of places they’re not supposed to be, like the tournament room or in a vacant seat at a table. It’s a comfort to know that, should the crowd rush past you to watch a big hand, a well-trained marksman of six feet plus, could stop them in their tracks once and for all.
There is even an armed officer posted at the doorway to the smoking area, presumably making sure that smokers are not interfered with as they enjoy a cigarette, his side arm ready should any non-smoker start making those pretend coughing sounds that so irritate the besieged smoker. Still, it’s a step down from Madrid, where the same guards were armed with machine guns.
The man dressed in white
Not in the casino itself, but a permanent fixture in Sanremo since it first visited these parts back in Season 4. This man appears each day, his face painted white, wearing white sheets of polyester about his head and body, a cross between a ghost, and one of those people who pretend to be statues in the hope that people will but money in the basket at their feet.
This chap does things a little differently though and, skipping the standing still, walks around carrying the basket, thrusting it in the face of anyone who passes by. As one colleague put it, “he’s the laziest statue I’ve ever seen.” It’s an unusual performance, but one that sums up the town – traditional, gracious, and sometimes a bit eccentric.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.