EPT9 Barcelona: John Juanda runs hot to lead chase for million

ept-thumb-promo.jpgJohn Juanda is the chip leader at the end of Day Two of EPT9 Barcelona - a day on which the players learnt they were competing for a first prize of more than a million euros.

After counting heads for the best part of two days, administrators finally determined that the record-breaking field weighed in at 1,082 players, meaning a prize pool of €5,247,700. The winner's cheque will be written for €1,007,550, the biggest ever given to a main event champion through nine visits to Catalonia.

Juanda, one of the game's established stars, has numerous six-figure scores across the world - one of them coming on the EPT in London, where he finished runner-up to David Vamplew in September 2010.

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John Juanda: "Everything went right today."

Juanda's journey to the top of today's leader board was boosted by crippling Gus Hansen (who later bust) and then after moving to the feature table extracting the maximum after flopping a set of threes.

"Everything went right today, from the first or second level," Juanda said. "Whenever you're running good it makes you feel better and play better. It gives you positive reinforcement.

"There are times you play really well but you keep getting unlucky. It frustrates you and makes you somehow unconsciously play a little bit differently, maybe play a little bit more scared because you've been getting unlucky so many times.

"But when you've been running good it makes you feel like, 'Hey, every time I play well I get rewarded'. Then you play even better. Of course when you play better usually you run even better. So it's a good feeling."

Juanda is comfortably in the box seat as 240 players remain.

Ilari Sahamies is also in contention again, a couple of days after making the final table of the €50,000 Super High Roller event. His elevation was more to do with the reputation that precedes him: someone bluffed into him with queen-high when Sahamies had pocket aces.

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Ilari Sahamies, another fine day in Barcelona

Both leaders from the two opening flights also increased their stacks. Guy Bachar, chip leader from Day 1B, started well and continued in first few levels, finishing with 448,000. Aku Joentausta, chip leader from Day 1A, also kept up with the leaders. He finished with 388,700.

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Guy Bachar, day one and day two both success

Other notable stacks:

Shahriar Soltaninassab - 460,000
Samuel Rodriguez - 455,800
Lucille Cailly - 360,700
Andrey Zaichenko - 356,900
Anatoly Gurtavoy - 353,000
Daniel Negreanu - 248,600
Fatima Moreira de Melo - 182,500
Henrique Pinho - 160,000
Matthias De Meulder - 123,700
Sam Holden - 121,900
Bolivar Palacios - 110,300
Theo Jorgensen - 104,900
Mohsin Charania - 99,700
Joao Nunes - 87,000
Ana Marquez - 68,600
Angel Guillen - 59,100
Sebastian Ruthenberg - 56,500
Barry Greenstein - 18,700

Notable eliminations: Pius Heinz, Jason Mercier, Rino Mathis, Jude Ainsworth, Toby Lewis, Salvatore Bonavena, Boris Becker, Lex Veldhuis.

In other EPT news today, Lex Veldhuis got to know Norway's top skiers Petter and Tomas Northug. The PokerStars qualifier Paul Williams continued his challenge for glory. Stephen Bartley analysed the growth in EPT Barcelona prize pools and Dario Minieri shared his expertise on Day Two play.

Day three begins at noon on Wednesday, and the schedule is to play five 90-minute levels.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour