EPT12 Barcelona: Neymar Jr Charity Home Game kicks off new season
It's here! We're here! The 12th season of the European Poker Tour is officially underway, the ball dropping with a few events here on the first day of action at the Casino Barcelona.
Comparatively speaking, today's schedule is a light one -- just three events, two of which are satellites. Tomorrow comes the flood, with nine more events as the two-week, 71-tournament series gets going in earnest.
Right now on one side of the spacious poker room the first numbered event of EPT12 Barcelona is playing out, a Super Satellite to the Estrellas Main Event that gets underway tomorrow. Around 300 players are seeking value in that one as they spend €220 with hopes of earning seats in the €1,100 buy-in tournament for which over 900 have already qualified online via PokerStars.
Speaking of value, there's a lot of it being enjoyed as well in the Neymar Jr Charity Home Game happening on the room's opposite side as well. It's the second such event for the Brazilian football star and Team PokerStars SportStar after the one last month at the Brazilian Series of Poker in Sao Paulo, with money raised going to his Neymar Jr Project Institute to help children in need.
For just a €150 buy-in, players are not only helping a great cause, but also getting a shot at a host of goodies, including Barcelona FC tickets, Neymar Jr signed t-shirts, Skull Candy headphones, two seats to the Estrellas Main Event, and one EPT Barcelona Main Event seat (worth €5,300).
Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo is in her seat and hoping to extend what has become a charity tournament hot streak. In early July she finished sixth in the Chad Brown Memorial Charity Event in Las Vegas, then late last month again final tabled the first Neymar Jr Charity Home Game at the BSOP in Sao Paulo.
Miss Finland and Shark Cage star Sara Chafak is playing, too, with her boyfriend, Tuomas Varesvuo, likewise in a seat at a neighboring table.
There are a couple of Team PokerStars Pros taking part as well, Leo Margets and Jan Heitmann.
Also participating is new Friend of PokerStars Felipe "Mojave" Ramos, who like de Melo, Margets, and Chafak has a bounty on his head, with players knocking out those four also winning signed shirts, football tickets, and headphones.
The Brazilian poker pro is also a friend of Neymar Jr, and while Neymar wasn't able to play in this one he's well represented by Ramos and a couple of other friends, Jo Amancio and Joao Celso.
Finally among the late registrants were EPT9 Grand Final Main Event champion Steve O'Dwyer and winner of the Norwegian Championship earlier this year, Jonathan Spaeren.
Registration just now closed for the charity event, with 59 players ultimately taking seats. Stick around with us to see who wins the EPT Barcelona Main Event seat and where some of those other prizes go as we start settling in for two weeks' worth of excitement along the Mediterranean.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.