Poker has become such a craze that many tournaments are organised all year long in the four corners of the earth. Players don’t hesitate to travel thousands of kilometres to compete with the leaders and to attempt to win colossal amounts. In the light of the ever increasing attraction for this game, television stations broadcast tournaments live and the success of these programmes continues to grow.

But to attract even more players and to stand out from rival tournaments, some organisers innovate and offer unusual tournaments. This is the case of the Dinard Casino which organised on the 17th of March last, the first football-poker game. Axel Lablatiniere, in charge of recruitment for Angers SCO Football, came up with this original idea. In partnership with Christian Vitalis, Director of the Dinard Casino, he set up this tournament in which professionals from the world of poker and football compete. The players were hand picked and only 130 were chosen for the grand finale. Each footballer had to bring along his signed jersey to give to the player who eliminated him. The main winner would also leave with a 44 000 euro prize pool.

The Dinard Casino transformed its casino: it was decorated like a football stadium. The tables were decorated with corner posts and the dealers wore captain’s armbands. They were even allowed to announce every blind change by whistling just like referees would do during a football match. Also, like them, in their pockets they had real red cards that they could take out when a player was eliminated.

Axel Lablatinière and Christian Vitalis are very happy with the media reaction to their first football-poker tournament. Not only was much written about this tournament but the demand was much greater than the number of places available. It’s most likely that this first try, which was a master stroke, will be repeated very soon and that other casinos will try it out too.