Pantaleo powers to EPT Barcelona lead
The Day 3 field became 24 today. That's how many players remain from the 112 who arrived this morning wide-eyed, fresh-faced and, some at least, hopelessly optimistic.
They had reason to skip gaily to Casino Barcelona; the fresh air, the bright sunshine, a song in their heads and a cartoon bluebird fluttering on their shoulder; for each of them was guaranteed a payday of €7,500, with no-one leaving empty handed.
But for Giuseppe Pantaleo, the chip leader at the close of play tonight, he'll have final table thoughts on his mind, for right now he's best placed for a shot at €825,000, one of European poker's richest prizes.
Chip leader Giuseppe Pantaleo
Pantaleo floored it today, starting on 622,500 chips but bagging up 2.3 million. The German, from Bielefeld, who won the Sunday Warm-up during EPT Tallinn earlier this year, now stands on the brink of breaking into the mainstream. If he does the same tomorrow, and quadruples his stack, he should have this title sewn up in no time.
The feature table
Behind him though are a chase pack of the rough and ready, an eclectic mix of adventurers, buccaneers, swashbucklers and action daredevils, willing to stop at nothing. Closest to him are Alessandro Longobardi with 1,863,000 and Thor Stang on 1,447,000 while Luis Rufas, Roman Makhlin and Dominik Nitsche each return tomorrow.
Leaving here laden with misery and disappointment, or something like that, were a heady mix. The departure of Team PokerStars Pros Matthias de Meulder and Leo Fernandez, along with Roberto Romanello and Bryn Kenney, all within seven places of each other, changed the look of an event long since missing the star attractions Alex Gomes and Ruben Visser, and Frenchman Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier.
Matthias de Meulder
Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier
What we will have tomorrow though will be worth tuning in for, and you can catch up on all of today's action at the links below.
Our thanks, of course, to our foreign bloggers, who we suspect never say the same thing about us on their blogs. In fact, do they even exist? Click links for German, Dutch, Swedish, Italian, Spanish and Greek to find out. One colleague who was here though is the uber-photographer Neil Stoddart, backed by his legal ninjas, who provided the photos today.
Fate on your shoulder: Thor Stang agonises while tournament director Marcus 'Stevie' Pollack stands waiting
That's your lot today then. Join us tomorrow when 24 will become eight, starting at high noon. For now though we've heard there's a place that, unlike our beautiful hotel, sells four pints of beer for less than the price of a barrel of crude oil.