EPT Barcelona: Big names in waiting

Without question, one of the most exciting things about the European Poker Tour is the continued emergence, and subsequent rise to prominence, of the PokerStars qualifiers. There's a seemingly limitless source of top quality players in cyberspace who come blinking out of their bedrooms and studies to take their place near the chip lead of these major tournaments in the "real" world.

Barcelona, season four, is no different.

As the players unbag their day two chips, Joris Jaspers, from Nismegen, Holland, has the most stacking to do. He endured, then prospered, from a roller-coaster day yesterday to start this afternoon with 62,150.

Up to 20,000 within the first few levels, he then inched up to about 40,000 before being crippled by a set-over-set encounter. He battled back to 22,000 and was rewarded for his persistence with a move to Daniel Negreanu's table late in the day. Within one level, he was up to 62,000, where he finished the day.

"You know what's going to happen now," said Paul Gourlay, an English player sitting to Joris's right today. Gourlay then mimed a huge growth in his own stack, and a corresponding reduction in Jaspers'. We all laughed amiably. But that should stop very soon.

Also with ample stacking this afternoon are Lukas Benkovic, from Dunajska Streda in Slovakia, who has 28,900, and Bryn Kenney, from Long Island, NY, in the United States, who has 34,300.

Lukas Benkovic

Kenney also had an up-and-down day yesterday that finished, unfortunately, somewhat on the down side. He shipped a 25,000 pot late in the day to an opponent holding Q-2. Kenney had pocket fours and shoved pre-flop, but paid the price for having made a similar move earlier in the day, then showing the mighty 5-3.

This time his opponent must have thought his picture card was ahead and took the chance. He spiked it on the flop and the 20-year-old Kenney was cut down to size.

No fear, though. He has plenty to play with -- and some pedigree too. He won the first EPT Barcelona satellite that was run on PokerStars this year, and rather than waste time waiting for it to come around, won a satellite to next month's London event as well.

Worth keeping an eye on, is the official judgment here.

Also worth keeping an eye on - but mostly because he falls into an unfortunate "blink-and-you'll-miss-him" category is Richard Guttman, from Austria. Of all the players who made it to day two, he has the fewest chips: just 1,100. And with levels starting today at 400-800, he'll be waiting the draw for the button more anxiously than most.

Richard Guttmann

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in