Sounds like they may actually work their way down to 16 today (instead of 24). In any case, while Homer (Chris) and I continue with the Main Event these next two days, we’ll likely be experiencing a short day either today or tomorrow. Meanwhile, Marc (MarcC) and Matt (YorkshirePud) will step over to report on the two-day High Roller starting today.
The European Poker Tour has reached the middle of its ninth season. I’ve only really gotten to visit one previous EPT stop, and that was an unusual one for the tour, the one-off visit to Kyiv, Ukraine back in Season 6. But even after just a few days here in Deauville it’s easy to see how well-oiled the EPT machine has become, with the staff, media, and players all working together especially well to create an inviting environment for poker.
There are several small things the EPT does that improves the tournament’s coverage, one of which includes giving players small laminated tracking numbers at the start of each day of play that they then carry with them throughout. The system is quite simple. If you’re at Table 4, seat 1, the number is 41. At Table 21, seat 8, the number is 218. The players are used to the practice and thus are used to carrying the numbers with them when moved during the day, and it does wonders for being able to identify them when reporting.
PokerNews has implemented a similar system in the past at the WSOP, especially for the Main Event. But it’s only used occasionally and thus isn’t necessarily something players come to expect. Thus while it is useful there the system isn’t quite as reliable, mainly because it still hasn’t become an expected part of how events are run.
There are several other small things done on the EPT that further improve the coverage. Another is how when the field gets down to a certain size, chip counts of everyone are performed at each break, with EPT Media Co-ordinator Mad Harper then sending that out to everyone for reporting. That, too, helps immensely.
There are lots of media to coordinate, too, with reporters and photographers from several countries all here from start to finish. I kind of chuckled at one point yesterday when I noticed a German crew actually conducting a quick interview with one player while a hand was taking place involving a couple of others across the table. It might have seemed like an intrusion, but it was done somewhat discreetly and all seemed amenable.
Like I say, I think it all runs well mainly because by now everyone -- players included -- are accustomed to the fact that the tournament is also an event designed to be promoted in various ways via live reporting, streaming of feature tables online, interviews throughout, and so on. I’d suggest the WSOP could probably still incorporate some of these ideas to help standardize (and improve) coverage of its events, especially the preliminary ones, although to be honest there’s much less media attention of WSOP prelims than these EPT Mains.
The day went relatively quickly -- just five 90-minute levels with breaks in between each -- and we were out of the casino by about 10 o’clock. From there we made our way through the cold windy night to the small city center to enjoy a late dinner at Il Parasole, a nice Italian place where I enjoyed a three-course meal of fritto misto (calamari), penne pasta, and a delicious dessert of dôme glacé au chocolat.
Got back by midnight or so and had a quick Skype chat with Vera while she was driving in a car in North Carolina. As someone who grew up in an age without cell phones or the internet, I remain in awe of how such things work.
Back to it. Follow along both the Main Event and High Roller over at PokerNews.