The excitement at Divonne is all over! The second Super Satellite of the season was an event worthy to be part of the largest tournament in the world. Seamless organisation, an outstanding welcome, superb décor and talented players: a perfect location for this long and beautiful evening of Poker to take place. Azeddine Yessad, the winner of the stage, is passionate about cards and football. It is green surfaces that he knows!
The sixth Partouche Poker Tour has made the Alps tremble and the Mont Blanc fade and rightly so; the size of this super satellite is simply enormous. After the success of Saint-Armand-les-Eaux, Divonne-les-Bains has confirmed that the Partouche Poker Tour is the definitely the European poker event of the year. This amazing night of poker was filled with joy, tears, screaming and laughter. What a treat for Texas hold’em amateurs! Divonne-les-Bains also beat the participation record of Saint-Armand with a total of 347 registered players. It could not have started better.
The participants streamed into the room that had been reserved for the Partouche Poker Tour, to Frank Sinatra’s “New York, New York”. Each player was invited to take their place around one of the 37 tables. Along the side of the huge room, a giant screen was set up to keep players updated with the tournament’s progress. The croupiers stood by ready, waiting for the master of ceremonies Numa Benhamou to start it all off. No sooner had this been done than the cards were dealt… and the sound of chips clicking echoed around the room. It was 4pm.
“the speed of a derby race”
From the beginning, the tone was set: the players wanted to fight as soon as possible! The blows followed one another and the all in bets flew in every sense of the word. Like at Saint-Amand-les Eaux, the players teased each other, showing off their regional poker skills and their home casino respectively. 275 of the players there had qualified through satellite tournaments and they teased each other continually. A good war, as one says. Between Divonne-les-Bains and Lyon Vert, Palavas and Nice, the matches took on the appearance of a derby race. Poker is more than just a game, it has become a sport! An inter-casino tournament was even born. Each player wanted to prove to the next that their town is the best in terms of poker. It was not rare to hear “look, he is not the only one left from Palavas. It is about honour!” At 5pm, there were only 318 participants left. As for the unhappy losers, they consoled themselves at the 5 cash game tables in the Grand Casino.
At 6pm, certain players had already differentiated themselves from the rest by the size of their all in bets. This was the case with David Tavernier at table 25, Frank Mihalic at table 23, Samir Chaib at table 12 and Thierry Bourdoulous at table 11. The break for dinner began and again Divonne did itself proud with the sumptuousness and refinement of its dishes. A huge buffet was provided for the players with exquisite savoury dishes from the four corners of the world and only good tastes. After the royal feast, the tournament continued. Pepped up, the participants continued their struggle, always more aggressively. With all in bet after all in bet and from bad beats to bad beats, the losers continued to add up until the Prize Pool was displayed on the giant screen. A sign that everyone’s desire, to know who has qualified for Cannes, was approaching quickly.
12.30am. The 35th player left to thunderous applause. There was a collective sigh of relief…The final group had been formed. The chip leader, and one of the seven future finalists, Philippe Olivier had 179,000 chips. One would have thought, therefore, that the players would play without raising and that discussions would become shorter. This was not the case. The losers left the tables in dribs and drabs. It was only an hour an a half later at 3am that the seven finalists were known: Yann Reytier, Philippe Olivier, Eddy Glaude, Jonathan Khalifa, Samir Chaib, Azeddine Yessad and Massimo Confortin. And finally it was the eldest of the group, Azeddine Yessad, who emerged brilliantly as the winner to end a fantastic and emotional final. The second Super Satellite drew to a close with applause from a large audience. The standing ovation was not reserved only for the finalists, but also for the Partouche Poker Tour team, lead by its project manager Maxime Masquelier, who worked throughout the night to have the best tournament possible. And it paid off….I am looking forward to the next Super Satellite in Lyon Vert on the 15th March.
* A big thank you to croupier Geoffrey Doco for his priceless help. See you soon Geoffrey!