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French News

It's Been a Good Fall for the Frenchies

by Benjamin Gallen |  Published: Jan 01, 2007


A young gun takes down the European Poker Masters in Paris
The third stop of the European Poker Masters was the Aviation Club in Paris in October. Contrary to the previous events in London and Vienna, the promise of a €500,000 prize pool did not attract many foreign professionals, torn apart between big comps in Barcelona, Cardiff, Dublin, and elsewhere. With the addition of this brand-new series of televised tournaments, the European schedule is starting to get a little overcrowded. Who would have imagined that only a few years ago?

As a result, it left room for the French locals, who grabbed most of the paid spots in this €3,000 event that was attended by 154 players. The winner was the young Anonymous, who took home almost 100,000. While it happens on a regular basis in major poker countries like Sweden and Norway, it was yet to happen here. Out on the bubble was sports celebrity Vikash Dhorasso. Recently fired from the Paris Saint Germain football club, the French Team striker now has some time on his hands and discovered a passion for the game.

Speaking of seasoned pros, one of them made us proud a few days later by finishing second in Dublin, during the Irish stop of the condensed and frenetic EPT schedule. David Tavernier, 50, started crushing private games decades ago, at a time when there wasn't any legal place to play in France. Having missed his flight to Ireland, it was several hours after the tournament started that he sat down at the table. But, he couldn't care less. A couple of bluffs later and he was back to his starting stack. A creative, subtle player, highly respected among his peers, Tavernier got the recognition and TV time he deserved. Even his exit against winner Roland De Wolfe was a classic – a sick bluff on the river with queen high! Those French, you never know what they are playing with!

A celebrity poker show à la française
The only French poker show, the Tournament of Aces, was back on the air in November for its third season, only a few months after the last one was broadcast. The ratings were very good – obviously, the reason for the renewal of the show – which is a testimony to the growing interest for the game in our country. Le tournoi des As is a celebrity show, so you could expect more fun than skill at the table. To be honest, the level of play ranged from "truly horrible" to "not bad for a low-limit player." Some of the best French comedians were invited, as well as sports and TV stars. As a result, some of the episodes were truly hilarious. Fortunately, a few pros were invited, too – and Michel Abecassis, last year's winner, took down the title again! Honor is safe. A lot of French stars are hooked on poker now; some of them pay visits to the Aviation Club on a regular basis. Is poker starting to look glamourous?

A Poker boot camp in South America
The first-ever French poker school was launched in November in … Caponga, north of Brazil. It may sound strange, but tournament specialist Pascal "PP le bandit" Perrault is a longtime lover of this country; he was able to build several houses on the front beach with his tournament winnings. Helped by his buddies Robert Cohen, Thomas Fougeron, and François Montmirel, Pascal is offering what sounds like a good deal: 10 days of advanced poker lessons on the beach, as well as many fun extra activities. For further information, visit (courses are available in the English language).

A poker portfolio
Hervé Martin-Delpierre is a photographer and documentarist who recently caught the poker bug. During the past 12 months, he travelled around the poker world with his camera, from Las Vegas to Seoul. The result, a big book simply called Poker, is stunning. It contains 200 pages of photographs, accompanied by text from writer Jerome Schmidt, capturing the tournament trail excitement, private moments of players like Isabelle Mercier and Marcel Luske, and illegal, smoke-filled places in Asia. Foreign readers can order it online at spade

Benjamin Gallen is a reporter for