"Everyone thinks of changing the world, but no one thinks of changing himself."
I love Paris. I mean I love poker in Paris. I can't believe it's been 7 years since I was here when I was here so often. I love the fact that you can jump on a train in Central London and a little over two hours later you are here. I love the buildings, the shutters on the windows, the pigeon English and the chance to use my schoolboy French.
I expected to walk into the Aviation Club and see everything as I had left it - boy was I wrong they don't even do steak baguettes (bien cuit, sans mutard) anymore and that was my staple diet!
I walked past the security guard on the door downstairs, up the spirally staircase same old, same old but then...
A big glass wall where I pressed a button. Nothing happened. I pressed again, someone looked through and a buzzer went. I moved forward, one glass panel shut behind and another button to press. I was in a goldfish bowl with two security men staring at me. Then the second glass door opened and I was in. ID and photographs (not ones from old LNP diehards) followed. Then they took my fingerprints - I was in the right place wasn't I? Then questions, forms and a second lot of fingerprints. I looked around for a familiar face, asked for Bruno or Sabine and got blank looks. Then the girl behind reception smiled and the security seemed to relax as they found my name on a list between Barny Boatman and Victoria Coren and they let me in (after checking my finger prints one more time on an electric scanner).
I should point out that the ACF was robbed at gunpoint a few years ago, you can't be too careful.
I was here for the HORSE one of the EFOP events.
The place was mobbed. The poker boom may be flatlining but not here and I only saw one or two faces I recognised, albeit seven years older. I saw Bruno Beneviste and said hello.
I found my seat and looked up to see 6 of the 8 players already in the pot. This was familiar, I liked it. It was that way for the next four hours, an average of 4 or 5 per flop whether it was raised or not. One guy called four bets with J5 os in Holdem and the guy next to me checked the river, last in line, in high low stud with a 6 low and a straight. Except no one but me saw the straight and as the dealer split the pot I had to check what the game was. The guy with a pair of fours scowled at me and the guy next to me scooped.
I ran about normal but not well enough for the varience on table 7 and was happy to fall into bed about 1am.
Paris day 2
Today I meet Jules Pochy and Guillame of Holdempix (the Hendon Mob's new photography partners for our database) for lunch. We won't go to the ACF because Guilllame doesn't have his membership card and dosen't like having his fingerprints taken.
The good thing about having lunch with French people in Paris is that you get to try new restaurants or brasseries that you probably wouldn't notice walking past or try otherwise. I actually didn't notice it and I walked straight past it. By the time I reached the Champs Elysees I knew I was lost and had to phone Jules for help. Three minutes later I was back at Le Boeuf Sur Le Toit; a wonderful little brasserie with a la carte or a very reasonable set menu.
We got chatting so much we didn't realise that lunch was over and the restaurant was empty except for us. If you are ever in Paris give it a try.
Then it was off for fingerprinting before I got my name on a few PLO lists. Even at 3.30pm in the afternoon nearly every table was full and I had to wait 45 minutes for a new game to start. Sat on my right was Jeff Duval, his first time at the ACF for ten years! It was good to see him - but not in the game.
The good news was that I soon realised that this was the best PLO game I had sat in for 7 years. I left at 11.30pm with a little under Euros 2000 profit. That was expenses and tomorrow's PLO tournament buyin taken care of.
See you then.