The MPNPT could not have picked a better city than Madrid to visit for the first time as a last hurrah. Basking in what feels like pure sunshine – especially to the horde of Scandinavians and Northern Europeans who have emerged from the grey doldrums of winter for a poker holiday – players enjoy a sip of spring before settling down to the serious business of taking each other’s chips.
Should the worst happen on Day 1a, and a breather be required before diving into tomorrow’s 1b (2pm) at Casino Gran Madrid Colón, there are more museums, churches, cultural centres and pieces of street-based art than you can shake a stick at within even poker players’ walking distance.
The civilised starting times (4pm for Day 1a, 2pm for 1b) mean that today, for example, the team sampled the extensive delights of the Prado, a museum connoisseur’s museum (of the type in which one can get joyfully lost almost instantly). Currently featuring a Goya sketch temporary exhibition, the Prado also houses a huge collection of paintings and sculpture. Whether neo-classical statues float your boat or the curvaceous subjects of Rubens, there’s cultural staring aplenty to delight eyes tired by hole cards. Plus, for something completely different, there’s even a tour in Latin on Friday 7th February. Apprimus est!