PokerStars Festival Marbella: Where some of Spain's best online players come to play
While Adrian Mateos, Sergio Aido and the rest of Spain's high rollers are busy chasing gold bracelets in Las Vegas (and winning them, in Mateos' case), there are plenty of the best Spanish online poker players right here in Marbella.
The thing is, as Spanish players who still live in the country play online at PokerStars.es, you might not be too familiar with some of them. So let me introduce you to some of the best online players in Spain who ventured down to Marbella this week for the PokerStars Festival.
Manu 'manuverd0n' Bardón
If you're thinking to yourself, "I recognise that PokerStars screen name, but I thought he was from the UK?", you'd be correct. But although he resides in Cardiff, Wales, Manu 'manuverd0n' Bardón is a Spaniard.
He's pretty darn good at poker too, currently ranked sixth in the UK poker rankings according to a popular poker tracking site. Bardón has more than $1.26 million in tournament earnings on PokerStars, with his biggest scores coming from wins in the Sunday Warm-Up ($61K), the Monday Six-Max ($27K), the Big $162 ($21K), and the Mini Super Tuesday ($20K). He's also had third-place finishes in the Super Tuesday ($40K), and two in the Thursday Thrill ($22K and $21K).
Bardón has won 49 tournaments in his career to date, but he won't be adding a live result this weekend. He played yesterday during Day 1A but failed to survive, so unless he returns for tonight's Day 1C Turbo flight, he's out.
Javi 'que_te_crio' Fernández
It seems that Cardiff is the place to be for Spain's online elite. Joining Bardón in the Welsh capital is Javi 'que_te_crio' Fernández, currently ranked tenth in the UK. Fernández has almost $920K in online winnings on PokerStars, and $1.18 million overall. He recently took down a high roller for $82K, but his biggest PokerStars score came in this year's Spring Championship of Online Poker. He finished second in the SCOOP-43-H: $530 NLHE [Deep Stacks] for $71K.
At the 2016 SCOOP, Fernández also performed well, finishing runner up in the SCOOP-25-H: $700 NL Hold'em [6-Max, Ultra-Deep] for $69K.
But just like Bardón, Fernández failed to survive Day 1A here in Marbella.
Paul 'Vilacrack' Lozano
This guy has been on a tear of late. Paul 'Vilacrack' Lozano has not only won $270K on PokerStars.es (including two 2017 SCOOP titles for a combined €28K), he's also been racking up the live results.
Lozano's latest score came at the Golden Poker Series in Madrid. In a €400 buy-in event (with unlimited re-entries), he outlasted a 915-entry field to finish runner up for €34K.
He's now playing Day 1B today here in Marbella, hoping to become a PokerStars Festival champion.
Juan Carlos 'B4NKR0LL3R' Vecino
Primarily known as a Spin & Go specialist, Juan Carlos 'B4NKR0LL3R' Vecino - affectionately known in the Spanish poker world as 'Juanki' - is also an online triple crown winner with $213K in PokerStars tournament winnings.
His biggest tournament score to date in this year's $10,300 SCOOP Main Event, when he finished 27th of almost 700 players for $36,729. Vecino, who lives in London, also has a TCOOP final table (4th for $17K) and 2017 wins in The Weekender ($14K) and Big $162 ($6,685) under his belt.
Vecino is currently playing in the Day 1B field, so let's see if he can make it through.
Daniel 'Garnerus' Gómez
Like Vecino before him, Daniel 'Garnerus' Gómez is known online for his exploits away from tournaments. He's most often found playing in the highest stakes cash games online, but still dabbles in tournaments on PokerStars when the mood strikes.
Gómez is no scrub on the live felt either, having notched up more than a quarter of a million bucks in live winnings. His best score came back at the EPT8 Grand Final in Monaco, when he finished eighth for €130,000. Prior to that, he had final tabled an Estrellas Main Event too.
Day 1A was clearly cruel for these players, as Gómez also busted the Marbella Main Event yesterday.
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With thanks to Media Coordinator Alex Hernando.
Jack Stanton is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.