EPT12 Barcelona: A long way to go and a short time to get there

The second and last Day 1 flight of the Main Event occupies most of main poker room thanks to its still-expanding field. There's other side action today, too, including a €500 buy-in razz event this afternoon and a €2,000 NLHE turbo happening tonight.

As has already been communicated, however, the €25K High Roller -- a fast-paced, single-day affair -- taking place in the roped-off far left corner is grabbing most of the attention early on here at the Casino Barcelona.

There's the expected flux of "name" pros in the event, those who necessarily draw the eyes poker followers and fans. And, as we've mentioned, a couple of footballers -- Barcelona FC teammates Gerard Piqué and Neymar Jr making his live debut -- have drawn some extra attention to the event from non-poker peoples.

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Poker time for Piqué

The scene swiftly became settled, however, and downright serene, not long after the "shuffle-up" call, marked mostly by the typical studiousness characterizing the approach adopted by the game's elite.

Team PokerStars Pros Jason Mercier and George Danzer are playing, as are other stars like Ivan Luca, Thomas Muehloecker, Davidi Kitai, Mike McDonald, Ole Schemion, Fedor Holz, and Steve O'Dwyer (just to sample a few). Sylvain Loosli is playing as well, just a few hours removed from having taken down the festival's first high roller event last night in the €50K Super High Roller.

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Loosli looks to continue high roller roll

The "single day" high roller format was introduced to the European Poker Tour in Monte Carlo during Season 11's concluding EPT Grand Final stop, albeit there as a "super" high roller with a €50K buy-in.

Mustapha "lasagnaaammm" Kanit -- then fresh off his victory in the SCOOP High Main Event a couple of weeks before on PokerStars for $1.3 million -- won that first single-day high roller, blitzing his way through a 66-entry field to win €936,500. Kanit is here today as well, hoping to enjoy another high-rolling high-profit day.

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Can Kanit win it again?

We use the term "blitzing" advisedly. Even though Kanit did technically win the event in a single day, the last hand between Kanit and runner-up Mike Watson came roughly 15 hours after the first ones were dealt that day.

With 100,000 chips players had 100 big blinds each with which to begin, but half-hour levels should help move things forward. The option to reenter -- only a single time -- may also encourage chip movement until the late registration door closes at the start of Level 9.

Indeed, there's already been significant action early on, including a few bustouts. To share an example...

On a board of 2♣9♠J♥5♠A♣, a check by Aviv Meir to Isaac Haxton of Team PokerStars Pro Online earned an attention-drawing response -- an all-in push by Haxton for just over 70,000. That amount represented just about what was already in the middle, and a little more than what Meir had behind.

The Israeli exhaled loudly, having been made most uncomfortable by Haxton's action, then finally called to see Haxton turn over a pair of aces for a rivered set. He tabled pocket nines as he stood, muttering self-critical comments to himself while departing.

Haxton would bust Felix Stephensen not long after, and had collected more than three times the starting stack even before the first break.

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Haxton stacks 'em

With more than 100 players registered already, Haxton has less than 3% of the total chips so far, with 100% being the goal sought by each. A long way to go, then, and -- relatively speaking -- a short time to get there.

Stick close to the PokerStars Blog €25K High Roller page for updates, counts, and more all afternoon, night, and morning (if necessary).

To get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts from EPT12 Barcelona, don't forget to download the EPT App on both Android or IOS.

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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Neymar Jr