The casino floor is not far away from the tournament room, just a short walk out the door and to the right where the main theme music to Jesus Christ Superstar blares out from somewhere. A Jesus Christ Superstar slot machine seems unlikely, even in secular France. But the sound carries to the door way of the tournament room, now dominated by the feature table as the main event once more assumes its status as the highlight of the day.
Right now it’s enough for the spectators, more having arrived and assuming standing room spots technically beyond the limits of the rope line. All look like they’d accept a spare seat, but it may take the elimination of some of the French finalists to free up space.
The view from the rail
It’s definitely gone quiet. It was quiet to begin with but the departure of Irishman Mick Graydon in eighth has done little to change the table dynamic. There’s not a word spoken, a far cry from last year when Lucien Cohen often provided a running commentary to his friends on the rail, lobbing a stuffed rat around to boot.
Regardless the interest in these seven men is intense. The audience, although tired looking, stare at the TV screens as one, while a waiter, balding but with grey spikey hair above each ear, stops by to watch before heading back to the main tournament floors carrying bottles of water on a tray.
Luca Pagano departed next but elicited not more applause than the polite type that Graydon also got when he went, the main protagonists being either Paul Guichard or Olivier Rogez.