Rarely does an EPT final table start on time and this one wasn’t going to be the exception. At about 12.15pm it seemed most of the players were here, but there would be no start until at least 12,30pm.
Eventually the last eight were rounded up, Vuong Than Trong and Paul Guichard being among the last to arrive (Luca Pagano was here first). The introductions could now begin.
Lucile Denos of Bariere, and Tournament Director Thomas Lamatsch did the honours.
Lamatsch, a German, spoke in English while Denos, who is English, spoke in French, looking elegant in an ankle length burgundy gown.
Chips and plaques (out of view)
First up were the short stacks of Mick Graydon and Yorane Kerignard each carrying gift bags they had been presented with prior to their entry stage left. The story of Kerignard’s humble beginnings in poker (inspired by poker playing singer Patrick Bruel) got some good natured laughs from the crowd.
Bruno Jais also received warm applause. The Parisian PR man has the most curious story of all coming into the final, here after what was basically a miss-click (see the profile of him here). It’s almost too good to be true. It is true, right?
Chip leader Guichard was presented last. Arriving on stage carrying his gift bag and wearing an overcoat, the 19 year old looked like he’d just popped in from shopping.
Guichard is one of those with the largest cheering section in Casino Deauville, filled largely with French railbirds. There is at least one Italian, Pagano’s girlfriend Elena, who for a moment was momentarily lost as a crowd of Guichardards (Guichardistas?) looked for seats. More people arrive, all dressed in the same clothes as Olivier Rogez.
One point of note. For the first time on the EPT French casino plaques are being used, each worth 100,000 chips. Kerignard shuffles the pile he has like a deck of cards.