Regular visitors to the Hilton Prague, home of the European Poker Tour (EPT) in these parts, will have noticed the lobby transformed this year.
The World Cup Fanzone now occupies a vast area of floorspace outside the Hop House bar — and every inch is needed.
With the EPT/Eureka festival taking place at the same time as the FIFA World Cup knockout stages, poker players have taken full advantage of the opportunity to watch the crucial games on the big screen.
The Fanzone was packed over the past weekend, when Morocco beat Portugal and then France vanquished its old enemy England. And the stakes will be even higher this week when, tonight, Croatia plays Argentina, followed by Morocco versus France tomorrow.
All poker players are invited to attend and watch the games, with drinks and snacks provided free for the duration of the matches. The games kick-off at 8pm local time.
The Fanzone takes the form of a European beer garden, with long tables and bench-style seats (think German bierkeller rather than cosy English pub) all arranged in front of a massive screen (think multiplex rather than your living room).
Poker unites players from across the globe but national loyalties also run deep. It’s made for an incredible atmosphere in the Fanzone, where there has been songs of both triumph and despair, and where the noise has lifted the roof off, nine storeys up.
There’s sure to be much the same for the matches tonight and tomorrow, so please come along and share the experience.
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