EPT Barcelona: worth watching

Forgive me for stating something obvious: poker is quite popular these days. One need only take a cursory glance around the Gran Casino Barcelona to judge how it's erupted in the public interest in recent years.

If people aren't playing poker here (there are juicy side games aplenty), they're railbirding it. Scarcely ten minutes goes by without Thomas Kremser, tournament director, grabbing the microphone and requesting approximately 19,526 spectators to move out of the tournament area.

That's testament firstly to tournaments like the EPT, which brings the best players in the world to one venue, and also to the television presentation of such events. As usual, highlights of this tournament will be broadcast worldwide within a year, and the feature table will be live online tomorrow (see a few posts down this page).

And television produces its own stars. Daniel Negreanu, for instance, is one of the most recognisable faces either side of the Atlantic for his multi-million dollar exploits around the baize. The likes of Katja Thater, Fabrice Soulier, Patrick Bruel and Marc Goodwin, all still also in contention here, are also very easy on the television eye.

But one of the boons for those of us who have followed the EPT since it's inception is the possibility of finding a quiet corner and watching some of the best poker you're likely to see almost untroubled by any spectators. Some players might not be glamorous, but boy can they play.

Table two here is one such example: here we have Thomas Wahlroos playing into Theo Jorgensen; two of Scandinavia's finest pitted head-to-head. Throw into the mix the PokerStars players Anton Smolyanskiy, from New York, and Andrey Zaichenko, from Russia, and it's a table to make a PokerStars blogger drool.

Andrey Zaichenko

Zaichenko is ruling the roost. He's up to about 95,000, while Wahlroos is on about 40,000 and Jorgensen has 26,000. Smolyanskiy, who was originally from Russia before moving to Manhattan, New York, is on 29,000.

It's definitely one for the purists.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in