With nearly half of the field holding a French passport, the host country of the first European leg of the European Poker Tour in 2015 showed to the entire world that France is still deeply in love with the game.
Despite the (usual) worrying figures that underline yet another declining quarter for France’s online gambling industry, the country’s players flocked to Deauville to secure themselves a seat to the 2015 EPT Main Event and taste the country's finest live poker event.
According to the figures released by PokerStars, France literally dominated the field of the Main Event with 242 French players out of the 592 who have registered for the tournament.
Although this does not guarantee the country to celebrate the third French EPT Deauville champion nor Lucien Cohen or Remi Castaignon (2013) to get an easier access to their second EPT Deauville title, it surely resulted in a great deal of French chatter at the tables - as you can see from what non-French speaking players are taking to Twitter and Facebook.
As expectable, the second largest troop at the Main Event is the Italian one. Orphans of their own EPT now that Sanremo’s have been replaced by the upcoming EPT Malta (Mar. 18-28), 34 Italians came all the way up to the North of France to battle for the title.
With some of their best players in the field, Italians still hope to have one of theirs in Victoria Coren-Mitchell’s solitary two-time EPT winners club, as 2008 EPT Prague champion Salvatore Bonavena is still alive in the battle for the title.
No luck for the country’s wunderkind Giuliano Bendinelli, who busted from the Main Event already during the Day 1. After he lost all his Main Event’s chips Bendinelli, who currently sits on the second spot of the Global Poker Index (GPI) EPT Player of the Year (PoY) rankings promised PokerNews to hop on every side event in the schedule to climb to the top of the leaderboard.
"Twenty years from now, I am not going to remember the $4,425 I won at the High Roller event of the France Poker Series nor the $44,000 I won at the PCA. I want the glory, I want something to remember - and that’s why I want to win the EPT PoY race."
Although it’s not right around the block, the third biggest country in Deauville’s Main Event is Russia, with a delegation of 32 players that includes top names like Konstantin Puchkov, EPT Prague High Roller champion Ivan Soshnikov and Team PokerStars Online player Tatiana 'Mysters_Y'Barausova.
The field also had 31 Brits, including the 2010 EPT Deauville champion Jake Cody, two-time EPT champion Victoria Coren-Mitchell and former Full Tilt ambassador Martins Adenya; 30 Germans, including Jan Heitmann and Dominik Nitsche; and 21 Dutch players, with Paul Berende and Christopher Frank determined to do anything to go home with the title.
In the image below, you can see how all the different countries are represented at the 2015 EPT Main Event in Deauville. Yet, do not let some small numbers fool you - countries like Finland or Argentina decided to go for quality rather than quantity and sent skilled lone wolves like 2013 EPT London champion Robin Ylitalo and 2012 Player of the Year Ivan Luca, who already cashed for € 68,500 in the Main Event of the French Poker Series.