By Simon Young
As our plane touched down I caught my first glimpse of Venice, rising majestically from the water with its beautiful architecture seemingly untouched for hundreds of years. But then, among the church spires and apartments, all criss-crossed by pretty canals, you see modern creations – and the reason why we have landed in this part of Italy.
Dominating the skyline are the enormous cruise ships, floating hotels that carry so many off to fulfill dreams and perhaps forget the real world if that’s what the punters want. Old beauty meets brash new and, somehow, the two seem to sit quite comfortably together.
Majestic cruise ships dominate the skyline in Venice
One of these nautical masterpieces was ours, the MSC Poesia, home this week to the PartyPoker Million VI cruise, where 168 of our players will begin their quest today to take as much of the huge $1.2 million prize pool that they can. They’ve come here from all over the world, some championship-winning offline players, some online terminators, but all starting off as equals when the first cards hit the air.
After check-in and boarding, our party, swelled by partners, friends and family, joined the hordes of holidaymakers for what could be a life-changing trip. This ship is vast it has eight kilometres of corridors, and your writer already has a blister on his heel to prove it.
The luxurious top deck on MSC Poesia. Anyone for a swim?
The Poesia is no ordinary boat. Swimming pools. tennis court, restaurants, shops, theatre: everything that a floating ‘city’ needs. But the most important room for us is the Moulin Rouge, where our tournament kicks off late this afternoon. It was here that PartyPoker.com
hosted a cocktail party last night, where our ‘Ambassador of Poker’ Mike Sexton welcomed the players and ran through some house rules for the ship and the card room which would fill with cash games whenever we were at sea.
As Mike spoke, the gigantic Poesia was negotiating its way THROUGH Venice before the captain opened up the throttle to churn through the Adriatic and on to Bari, our first port of call this morning. The card room would not open until 8pm last night – so what would the poker addicts do until then? No problem, the Casino Royal is just along the deck, and blackjack and roulette tables soon filled with those eager to see if Lady Luck had joined them on board.
Once the poker room did open, it filled pretty quick with a vast range of cash games, from one €1/€2 no limit all the way up to some nose bleed action. Your writer managed to pocket a little €140 profit before calling it a night.
It’s 10.20pm and the decks are empty – everyone’s playing cards
As I write this report on deck, sipping a latte, the sky is blue and the sun is warming the air by the minute. We are arriving in Bari, and passengers are preparing to disemabark for a view of this fine city. It is 10am Sunday.
You can bet that none of our players will be late back on board, however. They’ve got some serious business to attend to this afternoon: The PartyPoker Million VI is about to get under way.
Welcome aboard and sit back as we guide you through the best of the poker action.
From the top deck, see how the MSC Poesia dwarfs other boats