EPT9 Barcelona: Back from the pitch to the poker tables

ept-thumb-promo.jpgYesterday night some of the world's most celebrated high rollers - the flouncers and prima donnas of Real Madrid and FC Barcelona - took to the soccer field of Camp Nou to contest the Spanish Super Cup.

It meant that the high rollers of the poker world had some competition for attention, and they decided that since they couldn't beat the footballers, they'd join them. Much of yesterday - the first day of the €10,000 High Roller event - was dominated by the procurement of tickets to the match. Then the high stakes poker action was paused after only seven one-hour levels to allow the poker superstars to head to the game.

Barcelona won 3-2, prompting jubilant scenes on the streets - particularly among anyone with a car or scooter fitted with a horn. But now that the cacophony has died down, we must return again to the rarified air of the European Poker Tour tournament room. We have a final table to fill.

There were 76 players who made it through the shortened day yesterday, of whom Taylor Paur was the clear leader. But it is a very, very long way to a High Roller final table, which has only eight seats (and you can follow the coverage by clicking here).

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Taylor Paur: Top of the pops

Paur's stack of 220,400 puts him in the box seat at this stage, but with world champions and former winners among the more-than-capable field, it is anyone's guess who will still be smiling by the end of the day.

The buy in to this event was about as much as a footballer earns in half a day - €10,000 - and 101 poker players managed to find that funding. Ten of them opted to dip back into their pockets to find another €10,000 to reload after they had been eliminated.

They're all playing for some serious dough by anyone's standards. The first prize is €359,000. Twelve players will be paid, down to €25,470 for 12th. (The 13th place finisher will get nothing.)

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ElkY and Jason Mercier, both still in the High Roller event

Blinds start in level eight at 500-1,000 with an ante of 100. This match will last significantly longer than the 90 minutes demanded of the footballers, but no one has to go anywhere today until it is done.

Stick with us through the day as the action heats up. High Roller coverage will run alongside that from the Main Event.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour