EPT12 Barcelona: The most important last longer
We were remarking earlier about the long, winding path to victory presented by any poker tournament, even a fast-structured affair like the single-day €25K High Roller, now approaching the dinner break.
Like your typical high buy-in contests, side bets have been the order of the day, including several early on by those attempting to predict a final total of entries for the event.
Scores in those bets were settled just a short while ago with the start of the day's ninth half-hour level. Currently, the big board shows 147 entries total (counting rebuys), with 97 players left. (Official numbers to come.)
There were a few last longer bets, too. Of course, the whole tournament is essentially a last longer bet, bought into by the entire field. And with the goal being to finish things here in a single day, we're expecting that last longer to go longer and longer until a winner is found.
Not sure if anything tangible is on the line in the last longer between Barcelona FC teammates Gerard Piqué and Neymar Jr, but from Piqué's perspective to lose would be more devastating than allowing an opposing team's striker to slip past him during injury time for a winning goal.
During the afternoon levels, Piqué chipped up over 200,000. Meanwhile Neymar has been scoring from all angles today.
Earlier Neymar used aces to best Davidi Kitai's pocket sixes to bust the Belgian. Then his ace-ten outran the ace-queen of David Peters to notch another elimination. A little later pocket aces again enabled the Brazilian to take all of Mustapha Kanit's stack, the Italian's pocket nines having failed him.
Still more chips found their way across the felt into his stack, like so many players racing across the pitch. By the day's second break Neymar had spun his 100K starting stack all of the way to nearly 500,000, making him the leader of the 100-plus players remaining.
A mid-afternoon check of his teammate's progress caused Piqué to wince.
"I have to beat him," explained the defender to PokerNews' Remko Rinkema. "If not, in the dressing room I'll be dead."
But the last level before late registration closed was less kind to Neymar. First Jeff Rossiter doubled through him in a hand that saw Rossiter all in and at risk with pocket nines versus Neymar's pocket fives, a five fall on the flop, then a river nine save the Aussie.
Then Dani Stern, Neymar's neighbor to the left all day, managed a double-up as well in a huge hand in which Stern's set of sevens bested Neymar's top pair of aces. That knocked Neymar back under 100,000.
That's below average, but perhaps more importantly, below Piqué.
Scouting about the rest of the player area, Steve O'Dwyer, Martin Finger, and Fedor Holz joined the ranks of those losing their initial stacks today in the early going, but all three chose to exercise the single reentry option. Meanwhile EPT10 Grand Final champion Antonio Buonanno, Team PokerStars Pro Online member Isaac Haxton, and Kevin MacPhee were all thriving at the start.
The Neymar-Piqué last longer continues, the drama of the striker-versus-defender battle heightening now that reentering is not an available option. So, too, does the ultimate last longer in which all of the players are participating become a degree more intense.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.