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EPT9 Deauville: It's not just the French who call this casino home

Deauville has a long black-and-white history as a popular tourist destination for the French, and not just to those with a penchant for race horses or the roulette wheel. For Gallic poker players Deauville is their upmarket alternative to the wood-panelled rooms of the Aviation Club in Paris, and one which they travel to in droves.

The benefits are legion. The games are good, the town pleasant and while the sea air would revitalise even the most Marlboro'd lung, the beach is far enough away from the town for you to skip a paddle. For that reason it's said that Deauville is the perfect destination for Parisians. As French humourist Tristan Bernard once said: "I love Deauville - it's so close to Paris and so far from the sea."

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The Casino in Deauville, in about three hours from now...

But it's not only the locals who choose this casino as their trip of choice. The English have for decades crossed the Channel with pocket full of Francs and Euros with which to test the limits of "Entente-Cordiale". The cultural differences (friend egg sandwiches versus cheese baguettes for a start) seem to have caused no lasting damage and the rivalry continues in relative good nature. Whether the English players ever went back with the notes remains unclear.

Regardless, the Anglo-Franco exchange tradition continues to this day. While the older generation, the faces that once populated the early seasons of the tour, now ply their trade closer to home, a new generation of cross channel raiders has taken their place, with several in the field today.

Mathew Frankland, Jon Spinks, Sam Grafton, John Eames and James Mitchell are among them, making the short trip across the English Channel, either by ferry from Dover, train from London or, for those who don't mind turbulence in a light aircraft, to the airstrip 7km (5 miles) from here which caters to the traveller with urgent need to wager.

But the EPT is making a fifth trip to Deauville, and is increasingly a global event. It's not just the roast-beefs from the north, but all kinds of foreign raiders from even further afield, including Eugene Katchalov, Jonathan Duhamel and Vanessa Rousso, who wears the colours of the French tricolour on her Team PokerStars Pro patch, but who calls a very large house in Las Vegas home.

It's not just the main event that occupies the tournament room. Furthest away from the door the ladies event is now under way, with the field a mix of designer outfits, expensive jewellery and the odd bright pink PokerStars Women hoodie. Later follows the conclusion of the France Poker Series Main Event as well as the odd satellite to Day 1B of the main event tomorrow. Follow the action from all of that on our EPT Deauville coverage page.

Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter

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