Hala Sportowo-Widowiskowa is the roll-off-the-tongue venue for the Gdynia Open, event two of the Betfair European Tour which, to complicate matters further, is also part of the Players Tour Championship.
The idea for the European Tour is to build up a series of events across Europe into big tournaments.
Those who snipe at Eurosport would do well to realise that there would be no European Tour without the channel. There would be no German Masters either.
When television viewers see snooker, large numbers want to watch it. They become fans.
What’s refreshing in Europe is that they have only started watching snooker in the last few years and so are fans of the game as it is now rather than endlessly harking back to the ‘golden days’ where the sun always shone, you could leave your front door open and Tony Meo was always on the TV.
The Gdynia Open has already been played down to 32 players and it’s a good mix of big names, a few old stagers and some newer faces.
On paper, the match of the first round pits John Higgins, fresh from his remarkable Shanghai Masters triumph, against Ding Junhui, who in Poland will not have the forbidding pressure of home expectation.
Higgins and Ding are among a number of big hitters making the trip to Poland. Other favourites for the title include Mark Selby, who won ET1, Stephen Maguire, Neil Robertson, Stuart Bingham and Graeme Dott.
It’s also a chance for some of those lower down the rankings to show us what they can do.
Michael Wasley is a first season professional from Gloucester who will face Maguire live on television in the last 32.
This is what it’s all been about for players such as Wasley: all the hours of practice, all the preparation.
Players feel like proper professionals when they play on TV. It’s a shop window in which they can showcase their considerable skills.
Michael will I’m sure receive the usual advice: enjoy the experience, you have nothing to lose.
In fact, he has a match to lose, and nobody enjoys the experience of losing. But it’s a learning curve for him either way. If he wins it’s a career high, if he loses he can examine what went wrong later on video (do people still watch videos?).
Good luck to him and all the rest. For Polish snooker fans this is a once-a-year chance to see professional snooker up close.
Tomorrow’s live TV matches are:
Andy Hicks v Liang Wenbo
Stephen Maguire v Michael Wasley
Jimmy White v Dave Harold
Mark Selby v Fergal O’Brien
Neil Robertson v Jamie Jones