Tuesday, January 17, 2012

Greetings from Marseille, France

If you've been reading this blog long enough, you'll know that whenever I travel for business, I try to hit the local casino to check out the poker scene.  For today's post, I greet you from Saint Cyr sur Mer, France, near Marseille, on the French Riviera.  As you can see from the pictures below, the region's sights are absolutely stunning.
Greetings from the hotel Dolce Fregate
There's a picturesque golf course on the grounds, as well as sundry amenities such as massage, spas, pools, etc.  Of course, me being me, I don't waste time with that "girly" stuff - I'd rather get around, see the sites, and check out the locals.
View from the balcony of my hotel room
Before talking about the area and giving my trip report, I want to mention that the French roads here are ridiculously terrible.  Getting to the hotel was a feat in and of itself, in that the road signs are absolutely horrendous.  Only now, 2 days later, am I acclimating myself to the way roads seemingly trail off into one another.  I realize that one must pay keen attention to road signs in order to stay on the intended path.

Regardless, after a 2.5 hour journey from the airport (what should have taken 1 hour), I immediately headed to Bandol, which is the closest town.  Bandol is a town laid along the harbor, with expensive yachts lining one side, and shops and restaurants opposing them.  Walking along, checking out the different stores, I realize that I'm in a FAR different country - one which I clearly don't know or understand the language.  The throngs of people walking along the shops speak French, and don't stick to a pattern of walking on the right side; it seems to be mass chaos - no particular order seems apparent.  I purchased a large water and tried to complete the goal of my trip to town: getting souvenirs for my 3 kids.  No luck :-(.  However, I did find the local casino, located immediately on entrance to the town.  During the day, on a Sunday, though, it's pretty empty - I vowed to return later.

After catching up with a few colleagues for dinner, I decided to return to the casino to check out the local poker scene.  The casino in Bandol was still empty; the poker room was essentially a ghost town.  However, as it turns out, there happens to be 2 casinos within 20 minutes; the other one in Cassis.  The Bandol poker room manager was kind enough to call ahead to ensure a game was active at the other casino, and I ventured off to Cassis. 

I arrived at Casino Barrière de Cassis, after driving the crazy winding back roads of the region carved essentially into a mountainside.  I felt like I was in a bad '60's movie where I could drive off the cliff side at any moment.  Though I rented a Ford whatever-its-called-European-car, it was fun to drive, though I would prefer to take the roads a bit faster when I learn them a bit better.  Regardless, I arrived at the Casino in one piece, with all four wheels intact.

The casino primarily spreads 2/4, 5/5 and 5/10 (all in Euros) - and there were 2 tables running when I got there; both 2/4.  Unfortunately, though, I had taken 260EU out at the ATM when I got into France, figuring it would be enough for at least 1 buy in and expenses - and 400EU would provide a full buy in.  Oh well; I settled for a 200EU buy, figuring that if I go broker, that'd be it.  Upon sitting down, I found that I had most players covered, as I'd imagined that they bought in for the minimum 100EU initially.  As it would turn out, my stack size would never be an issue for the 2 hours I'd play that night...

(To be continued...)


  1. I realize that one must pay keen attention to road signs in order

    One word: Garmin

    Thanks for the photos. I look forward to the rest of your report.

  2. This is hella exciting! I love poker in random locations.


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