EPT Barcelona: Survival of the fittest

Day 1B has now wrapped in Barcelona. What can we tell you about it? Well, we'll start at the top, where there's a familiar face riding very high indeed. As long as you're a fan of Swedish reality TV, that is. Mikael Lundell became a household name in the living rooms of Stockholm when he featured on an early series of Swedish Survivor*. Now he's the probable chip leader at the end of the second first day on the EPT. He has more than 100,000 chips, which should keep him company on his desert island overnight.

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Mikael Lundell

But breathing down Lundell's neck is a real EPT heavyweight: Sebastian Ruthenberg, who has been a PokerStars sponsored player for years and then became a PokerStars "Shooting Star" during a promotion to unearth the talents in central Europe. Ruthenberg was an obvious choice and paid back the faith with a bracelet in Vegas this year and a huge pile of chips in Barcelona. He also has more than 100,000.

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PokerStars sponsored player Sebastian Ruthenberg

Frenchman Brice Cournut, who had 70,000-odd for about seven hours, is also right up there. He added an extra 20,000 to his stack in the final couple of levels and has about 95,000.

You'll notice that this is probably the first time in an EPT end-of-day wrap that we've got three paragraphs in without mentioning Team PokerStars Pro. Well, after some terrific performances throughout the past few years, this day has been a shocker. Nine started, nine perished. It was goodbye to Daniel Negreanu, Gavin Griffin, Isabelle Mercier, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Dario Minieri, Luca Pagano, Raymond Rahme, Katja Thater and William Thorson. Mercier went out first; Minieri went out last, but Thorson has the worst story. He got one-outered mid-way through the day, which is kind of tough, if you'll forgive the understatement.

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The last of Team PokerStars Pro to fall, Dario Minieri

But tomorrow the field from both day ones converge, when we'll be welcoming back Chad Brown, Alexander Kravchenko and Andre Akkari, who'll be attempting to slog it out to a final 32 or so. About 110 finished tonight, about 110 finished yesterday, thinning a field of 619 original starters. The full figures will all be known later, once someone calculates it all overnight. But the main statistic is this one: the first prize in Barcelona will be €1,361,000. Try sleeping and forgetting about that.

Team PokerStars Pro ElkY talks to the video blog team...

Watch EPT Barcelona 2008 Day 1B Bertrand Grospellier on PokerStars.tv

That, however, is the plan for the coming few hours, at least. But you can still catch up on the day that has just passed. An approximate chip count, taken at the end of the eighth level, can be found HERE.

A run-through of today's action in Spanish can be found HERE. In German? Well, that'll be HERE. If you like small circles on top of your letters, you can find the Swedish coverge HERE. And the hot-blooded Italian action is all detailed HERE.

If you're a resigned monoglot and restricted to English, like the best of us, you can click any of these shiny hyperlinks for a refresher:

Days open for day 1B
Another fine bunch
ElkY ditches joker to shine in Spain
Rogue hand for Rahme
Scratch one Negreanu
What they're playing for
The fallen
Rahme and Griffin sent to the rail
Pagano pounces, not out yet
Ashby on the rise
King of qualifiers
Old rivalry, but Dario still on top
The last break of the day
The rail gets smaller and smaller
Minieri busts in level 8

Here's a look at the day with an Olympic touch by our video blog team, and there are plenty more where that came from over at PokerStars.tv.

Watch EPT Barcelona 2008 Day1A Olympics on PokerStars.tv

That's it for the two day ones. Play begins tomorrow at 3pm CET. Please join us then.

*They invented it, by the way. And you can thank Holland for Big Brother.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour