EPT8 Madrid: The Reign in Spain falls mainly on everyone else...


After speaking to some members of the Spanish media it turns out Spain are pretty good at pretty much everything ("Do you want us to name the sports we're not good at?").

As well as being the current soccer World Champions they lead the world in indoor soccer, handball, water polo, all sorts. There is one failing, at least where the European Poker Tour is concerned, and that's the complete absence of a Spanish champion.

Spaniard Ricardo Rodriguez leads on the feature table, a tough place to thrive featuring Bruno Lopes, Taylor Paur, Mike McDonald and Ilan Boujenah. It puts him in position to reach the final. But can he win?

"We ask that ourselves, we don't know," said Alex Hernando of the Spanish poker website Poker10. "The fact is that the main option was in Barcelona last summer, four Spaniards at the final table."

That day ended in disappointment for the home rail. Juan Manuel Perez finished in seventh place and Tomeu Gomila in in fifth. One of the country's best players, Raul Mestre, finished in fourth while Dragan Kostic fell one place short in second. For some reason the Spanish just can't break their duck (that's a cricket reference, a sport Spain are NOT good at).

So which player is the most likely to win on home soil?

Spain's last hope? Ricardo Rodriguez leads on the feature table

"The one who's on the TV table," said Hernando, confessing no prior knowledge of the unfamiliar Rodrigues. "The fact is that he's an unknown player so we don't have any information about him. But (at this point Hernando laughed) at every EPT we say 'that's the one who will win', but..."

We'll find out soon enough. Five started today, three are left. Time might be running out.

Tournament snapshot
Level 22: blinds 8,000-16,000, ante 2,000
Players: 17 of 477
Average stack: 841,500
Click here for live coverage and more features.