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.

Neymar-Neymar Charity Home Game-0354.jpg

Neymar Jr playing in the first Charity Home Game in Sao Paulo

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).

Helping Hands-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0583.jpg

Playing hands that help

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.

Fatima Moreira-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0547.jpg

Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo

Miss Finland and Shark Cage star Sara Chafak is playing, too, with her boyfriend, Tuomas Varesvuo, likewise in a seat at a neighboring table.

Sara Chafak-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0528.jpg

PokerStars-sponsored Sara Chafak

Tuomos Varesvuo-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0536.jpg

Tuomos Varesvuo

There are a couple of Team PokerStars Pros taking part as well, Leo Margets and Jan Heitmann.

Leo Margets-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0165.jpg

Team PokerStars Pro Leo Margets

Jan Heitmann-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0517.jpg

Team PokerStars Pro 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.

Felipe Mojave-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0561a.jpg

Friend of PokerStars Felipe "Mojave" Ramos

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.

Jo Amancio-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0576.jpg

Jo Amancio

Joao Celso-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0554.jpg

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.

Steve Dwyer-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0616.jpg

Steve O'Dwyer

Jhonatan Spaeren-Neymar Jr Charity Home Game-EPT-Barcelona-0595.jpg

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.

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.

Haven't gotten a PokerStars account yet? Join the world's biggest site now.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Neymar Jr