Monday, February 04, 2013

Travel Report: 2013 EPT Deauville Main Event, Day 1a

Bonjour, mes amis. Since we’ve last talked I’ve been on a couple of planes, traveling to about 500 miles over to Detroit, then nearly 4,000 more to Paris. Then it was another 120 miles or so by van up to the northwestern edge of France and Deauville.

Again I find myself in a coastal resort city during the offseason, much like the couple of trips down to Uruguay I’ve made during summer months. Was feeling plenty of flashbacks to my time living in Lille years ago as well when reunited with the gray skies and cold temps here in Deauville upon my initial arrival.

I landed at Charles de Gaulle airport late morning on Saturday, then after an hour-and-a-half or so of uncertainty finally was able to get in touch with my scheduled ride to Deauville. It was just above freezing, and when I first climbed into the van that would be taking me to Deauville a brief hail storm erupted, peppering the vehicle with small white spheres. That turned to a light rain during the first hour of the ride, then came blue skies and sunshine for the latter part of the journey.

Got checked in by around four in the afternoon, and eventually hooked up with my PokerNews blogging mates for the week The Conv (Marc), Homer (Chris), and Yorkshire Pud (Matt). Was great reuniting with Marc and Chris, both of whom I have worked with before several times, and finally meeting Matt with whom I’ve collaborated for quite a while now over on the Betfair poker blog.

In fact, me and Yorkie Pud go way, way back. If you look back at the earliest posts here (from 2006), you’ll see him having come around to comment a few times, much as I did at the blog he kept long ago. Looked it up and saw his first comment here coming on a post I wrote in September 2006. Pre-UIGEA, even!

Needless to say, after having communicated online in various ways for so many years, it was like I was reuniting with Matt, too, when we first discovered we’d been positioned just a few doors away from one another on the same floor of a quaint hotel here in Deauville. Kind of like meeting a pen pal, I guess, but more than that, really, given our shared experiences going from recreational players/bloggers to full-time poker writers.

Saturday night saw me, Chris, and Matt walking a few hundred meters up the road to dine at a pizza place recommended to us by Benjo (Santa Lucia), then meeting up with Marc, Sarah, Kristy, Mantys, and Adam later for the Stars welcome party. Made a relatively early night of it, slept reasonably well, then got up and walked just a few blocks north to the Casino Barrière de Deauville to start covering the PokerStars.fr EPT Deauville Main Event.

Yesterday saw the first of two Day 1a flights play out, with just over 300 players taking part. Will most certainly be a bigger group for today’s second (and final) Day 1 flight, although it’s appearing the overall turnout will probably be down from the 889 who played last year.

The tourney went well, with the always efficient running of the show by PokerStars on display. Had to get a casino card, a press pass, and a bracelet to go where I needed, and even then found myself at the end of the day suddenly refused entry back into the tourney area when a guard decided he wasn’t letting me pass after all of his colleagues had for the previous 11 hours.

That reminded me a little of living in Lille, too, I have to admit, and encountering what sometimes seemed whimisical displays of authority. All worked out, though, and to be honest I wasn’t even bothered by it, perhaps having been conditioned to expect something similar from living here before.

I’m sure I’ll write more about the actual tourney and experience of covering throughout the week, but this morning my thoughts are mostly occupied by that crazy Super Bowl XLVII which I was up until five a.m. watching.

Caught a bit of it on a stream at the casino once Day 1a ended, then decided against joining Chris at a nearby bar to watch the game and came back to the hotel instead. Much to my surprise the game was on one of the channels in my room (I’d been told it would only be available on a pay-per-view basis), and so I settled in and watched the second quarter, Beyoncé’s halftime show, the start of the third quarter, the power outage (and a Beyoncé replay), then the rest of the game.

Was a nutty game, and kind of a treat to watch it while following all my friends and others having that cacophonous conversation on Twitter throughout. During the power outage I made a tweet referring to an old Airplane! gag that was retweeted a couple dozen times and rapidly appeared on one of those tweet-collecting reports you sometimes see, “The Super Bowl Power outage in Social Media.”

Was amazed like most at the Ravens’ dominance and 49ers’ lack of readiness early on, although I did think the teams were evenly matched and wasn’t expecting an S.F. blowout. Incredible, though, to see it play out as it did -- yet another stirring playoff game this year, and another crazy, nail-biter finish to an NFL season.

Gonna sign off here as it’s already late morning and I need to get cleaned up and back over to the casino in just a few. Salut à bientôt!

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