There’s one question that keeps springing to mind each time you climb the stairs to the Festsaal tournament room from the downstairs reception area. How did Emperors in their 80s, Empresses and their assorted aides de camp manage all the stairs?
Halfway up the stairs is a bust of Franz Joseph I, who ruled over the Austria Empire for 68 years before his death in 1916. The bust is quite sizable, depicted the mustachioed King towards the end of his reign, and is possibly located half way up the stairs for the simple reason that this is as far as he ever got while in his twilight years.
While being careful not to be frivolous, local media talk history outside the Festsaal
From this point one can only imagine his team of assistants, living by the Emperor’s own motto of “Mit vereinten Kräften” (“With united forces”), hoisted him upon their shoulders with all the majesty they could muster for the last flight of carpeted stairs, and presumably a ball or banquet at the top worth waiting for.
This latter point if dealt with this week, and for those of senior years, or juvenile laziness, there are elevators that will whisk you up a flight.
But there’s good news when you get there. Some 505 players have so far taken seats today since Edgar Stuchly and Thomas Lamasch introduced play, filling the Festival Hall from one end to the other. So at least there the possibility of a royal pay-out at the top, as well as a heart condition.
Caught by spotlights while trying to escape, Edgar Stuchly and Thomas Lamasch instead introduce the day’s play
That will include the most successful Austrian player of all time, Josef Klinger whose own reign is now in its fourth year.
Contrary to earlier reports, Klinger is not out, nor did he play yesterday. Instead he’s in today’s field, his nation’s highest earning hope of a first Austrian EPT winner, following his second place finish in Monte Carlo in 2010. In all there are 48 Austrians in the field today, nearly ten per cent of the field. But, as we also said yesterday, there is little chance of that, and it’s unlikely we’d be wrong twice.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.