EPT8 Madrid: Ibanez brings audience back to life

ept-thumb-promo.jpg

The tournament room is like a departure lounge right now. Nobody talks and instead they spend their time looking at two screens that will let them know when it's time to leave.

There's no formal seating for those wanting to watch the final table. Instead, people have taken to grabbing chairs and setting up a makeshift spectator area, nearby tables littered with empty drinks cans and bottled water.

The tournament room itself is quiet. As off duty dealers help themselves to courtesy Bugles, corn based snacks, laid out in trays behind the stage, two side events play on to a finish, and an off duty Roberto Romanello plays Chinese with someone.

The scene is a lot less like the other Spanish event this season, in Barcelona. Back then the action, on a live screen, drew a massive crowd, cheering on the five Spaniards at the final. Here the Spaniard are out, just in fewer numbers, and their options are limited to one, Ricardo Ibanez.

ricardo_ibanez_ept8mad_d5.jpg
Keeping everyone in their seats, Ricardo Ibanez

As a hand between him and Fraser MacIntyre played on, Ilan Boujenah stepped into the crowd, crossing the fourth wall to talk earnestly to Yorane Kerignard and Tristen Clemencon, in the crowd to track his progress. Boujenah talked for a minute, gesturing with his hands, before returning to the table. When he got there Ibanez was about to win the hand with two pairs.

Suddenly there was a loud cheer and a round of applause, and Ibanez is cheered as he pulls in the pot. This crowd is alive after all. This is no departure lounge and these people are not going anywhere. Provided Ibanez sticks around that is.