EPT Barcelona: Nearing the money
The Gran Casino, Barcelona, resembles Bedlam at the moment. Thomas Kremser has just banished the media to the rail, while 77 players retake their seats for the beginning of level 12.
The tournament director has also just announced that we'll be playing to the money tonight. Twenty-one of these contenders will go home empty handed. The remaining 56 will find their pockets lined with silver.
There are some huge stacks; there are some minute ones. The latter will be shoving, the former smugly picking them off.
I just caught up with Anton Smolyanskiy, the New Yorker who has had a tortuous day. He's down to less than 10,000 now after he flat called an under-the-gun raiser with 9-9 and pushed on a queen high flop. That raiser had A-Q and crippled him, and while Antony was stalking the floor during the break wondering if he played it right, it's difficult to see how it could have played out differently.
Among the others still fighting are Katja Thater (the final sponsored PokerStars pro after Sverre Sundbo departed), and qualifiers Philip Starrs, from the UK, who has 65,000, and Andrey Zaichenko, from Russia, who has a monstrous 122,000.
Aditya Agarwal, from India, has 65,000, while other PokerStars qualifiers, a little further out of view, are also prospering.
I'll check up on all them right away - as well as the other tournament chip leaders - and have a full update here very soon.