Poker is known as a game that anyone can play, and the PokerStars.net APPT Macau is demonstrating this in many ways. In Chinese, the name China means “Middle Kingdom” because for the ancient Chinese, their country was truly the centre of the earth. Right now, Macau is the centre of the poker world, with players from almost every corner of the earth now playing in what has been confirmed as the biggest and richest tournament ever held in Asia.
With the vast number of nationalities represented, for most players, English is not their first language, even though it is the only language permitted on the tournament floor. Combine that with Chinese dealers who also have limited English, and pretty much the only common language is that of poker. To reduce the chance of confusion during all-in confrontations, the APPT has introduced an “All-In Chip” which players can throw onto the felt to indicate they are all-in. From what we have seen so far, the system has been working very well… if not a little quietly.
The PokerStars blogging team had to overcome a few language barriers of our own today. We noticed a player in a wheelchair in today’s flight and with many good news stories about disabled players doing well in poker, like the blind Hal Lubarsky or William Rockwell who plays with his feet after losing his arms in a motorcycle accident, we wanted to have a chat to this unknown player to hear his story too. When we approached him for an interview, we found he was French and couldn’t understand what we wanted… fortunately one of the blogging team studied French at school, so we were able to have a broken conversation with the player in some combination of French and English… or Franglais.
The player, Julien Langvan, due to a birth defect, has arms that reach just below his shoulders, and only two fingers and a thumb on each hand. Just like Lubarsky and Rockwell however, his disability has not prevented him from playing the game he loves, nor has it prevented him from succeeding! Langvan, who has been playing poker for two years, actually won a French televised TV tournament called “NRJ PokerStars” (“NRJ” is pronounced “energy” in French), outlasting over 500 other contestants, and winning a $200,000 sponsorship from PokerStars, that will send him to every tournament on the APPT, EPT, LAPT and WSOP tours until the end of 2009! A fantastic story, and it’s great to hear we’ll be seeing a lot more of Langvan in the future.