The setting for the welcome party and auction was the Royal Deck, on the beach side of the Atlantis Resort below a star-filled sky and towering rows of palms with a nice warm breeze coming in off the ocean.
Officials from PartyGaming welcomed the players with a speech announcing the biggest money event in the history of backgammon and assuring the players of their commitment to backgammon and intentions to boost the game’s popularity in even bigger and better ways in the future.
PartyGaming commended Stephen Pearson and Susana Major of the Player International team for their long and steadfast labour in making this event a great success saying when they organized their first major Poker tournament the turnout was not as great as that experienced here.
Then PartyGammon Million Tournament Director Howard Markowitz took the stand and introduced his very qualified staff of Patrick Gibson, Director of the California Open and California State Championships, Carol Joy Cole, Director of Michigan Summer Championships who is also Editor of the BackgammoNews publication, Sam Pottle, Director of the Wisconsin State Championships and Troy Longman who assists in all tournaments run by Howard and Carol.
Howard also spoke of the conditions in this tournament such as the new draw after every round, etc. (as described in previous GammonLife articles) and then introduced Kent Goulding, the most famous and most comical auctioneer in the world, who got the bidding started on the groups of players one could buy. After much toil and many laughs $21,000 was raised in the Calcutta Auction of this event.
The players then headed off to the tournament to see the start of a special 8-team Doubles event - entry fee of $5,000 per team, 100% return, winning team takes all ($40,000) – whose first round was completed last night. We have created a ladder for the Doubles competition progress at this link.
The MatchRoom TV crew filmed one of the Doubles matches which will be part of the series to be made on this event to be seen in many countries in the near future. That recorded match was between the team of Matvey “Falafel” Natanzon and Victoria Smirnoff versus Peter Jes Thomsen and Alex Lehmann with Falafel and Victoria emerging victorious.
We took tons of photos last night and have prepared some 50 or so for your viewing pleasure at the following links:
PartyGammon Million Pictorial #1
PartyGammon Million Pictorial #2
PartyGammon Million Pictorial #3
PartyGammon Million Pictorial #4