EPT9 Barcelona: And now the Main Event
There's been a rolling start to this ninth season, which began earlier this week. A soft launch if you like, with the Estrellas Poker Tour main event kicking off and concluding ahead of the Super High Roller event that will reach its finale today. That makes today the first day of the season proper. Is there such a thing as a hard launch? There should be canapés or something and people with silver trays.
Actually there were canapés and free drinks last night as the official welcome party at Shoko ushered in the new season. Music was played, drink was taken, or was until the free bar dried up.
But Barcelona is a city built with Saturday night in mind, with the throb of young people, and the music they use to take their minds off the heat, echoing from the beach front into the early hours - hours which have now turned into the cold light of day.
The party starts at Shoko
ElkY performs the now traditional welcome ritual
It's not the drink that causes the hangover; it's the morning after that causes the pain, and those who had a thirst last night will have the supplementary discomfort today of the Casino entry process, which involves waving a bar code in front of a scanner for five minutes before giving up to find a member of staff. It's sluggish, but provides a comforting layer of security - an evil-doer would collapse in frustration before reaching anything of value - but it will slow up what is likely to be a sell-out opening day as the entry line stretches back dangerously to the €1 a spin digital roulette machines.
Day 1a is not usually a sell-out, but the dynamic the new season has been turned on its head.
In the past those looking to save on a night's hotel room, drinks, night club entrance, more drinks and subsequent room service burger at 4am, arrived to play Day 1B. Now, with the Estrellas main event, Super High Roller and side events to win early in the schedule, players have shown up early.
Among them will be the defeated in the preliminaries, including various high rollers in town and a local contingent all set on scoring a first EPT win, and on home soil.
For now, while the action will be late starting none of it will be missed, and in addition to feature articles you can follow the play by play at the top of the Main Event coverage page.
It's good to be back.