EPT9 Barcelona: Bahar leads on day, Joentausta overall
It is hard to imagine it could be hotter in Barcelona this week. During the daytime the heat and humidity keeps you indoors where the air conditioning, strong enough to frost the walls of a small cupboard, proves futile when taking on nearly 700 players in a tournament room, sitting very close to each other.
There was only one way to combat the discomfort, which at least one player blamed for their unsatisfying performance, and that was to get out of here with some chips to show for it.
In that sense Guy Bachar will feel happiest, certainly in terms of the number of chips he has. His 193,100 is good enough to lead as he heads out into the Barcelona night (which is as uncomfortable as the Barcelona day) looking particularly perky, although that could easily be the first sign of dehydration. But a chip lead, on the day at least, will cure all manner of ills.
Chip leader Guy Bachar
Also feeling rosy, cheek wise and chip wise, are the members of what proved a large chasing group of players, among them Samir Hadad (169,200), Hila Dan (168,400) and Theo Jorgensen (129,000), the highest-flying member of Team PokerStars Pro.
Beyond them there were good days from all directions.
Ivan Demidov, who told us about combining poker with being a parent earlier today, sent former EPT Vienna finalist Konstantinos Nanos to the rail with a pair of nines to take his stack in the right direction. Demidov would finish the day with 100,800.
Daniel Negreanu, well rested from his exploits in the Super High Roller, also thrived, up to 48,500 by the close. Others included Lucille Cailly (131,400), who knocked out Mike McDonald, Gus Hansen (103,500), Ville Wahlbeck (89,600) and Ilari Sahamies (86,700), all of whom return tomorrow in good position.
It may be a brand new season, but as far as Day 1b went it was situation normal, with a larger field that usual, dotted with EPT regulars and the odd star to dazzle, providing a relentless stream of eliminations.
Dario Minieri was among the first of the big fallers, followed by Dan Shak, whose kings ran into Eddy Sabat's aces. Raul Mestre, who reached the final table here in season eight, also departed, ahead of Jonathan Duhamel, Rupert Elder, Kevin MacPhee and Survivor's Amanda Kimmel.
ElkY arrived wearing a kimono, taking a bow on his way into the tournament room. His seat on the feature table would last for most of the day before he departed in the last level of the day.
There are others, whose stories are now confined to loved ones and the guy in the lift back at the hotel. For now we look ahead to tomorrow, when the 222 survivors from yesterday will unite with those today for Day 2. Aku Joentausta led yesterday, and still leads with 236,200.
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See you tomorrow.