EPT Barcelona: Busy, busy, busy

There's a familiar surge in activity here in the Gran Casino. As the number of main tournament tables is reduced, the cash game area becomes ever more populated, and seemingly hundreds of players are currently in a throng around the sign-up board, as though traders on the stock market floor of the 1920s. Spectators are becoming ever-more engaged in the increasingly frenetic tournament activity, while a few platters of sandwiches have just been delivered to the press room, precipitating the daily charge of journalists that can leave all but the most hardy trampelled into the floor.

Attracting a good deal of attention beside the rail is Jonas Klausen, the PokerStars qualifier from Denmark, who started the day with 101,000 and now is up to about 130,000, which keeps him in sight of Sebastian Ruthenberg at the front.

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Jonas Klausen

He has also been enjoying the attentions of Frida, one of the EPT's most popular massage therapists - which, come to think of it, probably accounts for many of the railbirds. She is not without her charms.

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Sebastian Ruthenberg

Ruthenberg is towards the back of the the tournament area, away from most of the prying eyes. There, the overnight chip leader and PokerStars Shooting Star has quietly been going about his ruthless business and built his stack up to 180,000 or so. He's a good bet to be the first past 200,000, and he is definitely among the early favourites for success in Barcelona. He already has a World Series bracelet and an EPT runners-up spot to his name.

In other briefs: EPT Grand Final champion Glen Chorny was up to 100,000 but lost a huge chunk back when a queen-high flush draw was outdone by a house of jacks and threes. Chorny was left fuming that his opponent had called a pre-fop raise with J-3. Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari has doubled up to about 100,000, possibly through the PokerStars qualifier Stephen Chidwick. Laszlo Pocze has just been knocked out by Peter Nordin. Nordin's jacks held up against Pocze's A-Q to take the Swede close to 100,000.

Meanwhile, our video bloggers caught up with two of poker's most recognisable characters here in Barcelona: Scotty Nguyen and David "Chino" Rheem. Nguyen won the $50,000 HORSE event at this year's World Series; Chino will be coming back to play the main event final table in November as one of PokerStars' Million Dollar Men. They chew the fat here:

Watch EPT Barcelona 2008 Scottie & Chino on PokerStars.tv

Plenty more where that came from at PokerStars.tv

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour