EPT9 Barcelona: New arrivals take a bow

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In the early hours of this morning three of the game's best players were locked into a tense contest to win practically nothing. Barry Greenstein, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Ana Marquez were giving away nothing against three members of the foreign press. ElkY would win, donating his winnings "to the bar" after slaughtering three players who had learned hand rankings a half hour ago.

Some 12 hours later ElkY is back, slightly late, and dressed in a Kimono. A young girl passed him in the corridor and instinctively bowed to him. He returned the bow, apparently making her day. Why is he in a Kimono? He's ElkY. Your guess is as good as mine.

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Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier earlier this week

Regardless of his peculiar battle dress he's on the feature table with Johnny Lodden, two from a well-stocked field for Day 1B. Yesterday was hardly lacking but today the big guns, fresh from a day off in the sweltering heat, presumably spent standing still next to an electric fan so as not to need a shower and a change of clothes.

Fatima Moreira de Melo, still beaming from Dutch gold in the women's Olympic field hockey, took her seat. Ivan Demidov, who spent yesterday playing on the beach with his baby son, while girlfriend Liya Gerasimova won the Ladies event, also plays.

Stand around long enough and you're sure to get in the way someone with a small camera following a player into the tournament room and watching them take their seat. Today was no exception. Dozens of these tales are told every season, in languages we don't understand, but delighting fans of the, more often than not, thin women in the tight tops getting all the attention.

Elsewhere Mike McDonald and Toby Lewis share a table, with Lucille Cailly between them not looking pleased at her table draw. Boris Becker is also in town, a table away from Dan Smith who pursues an unlikely, but not unfeasible in his case, bid for main event glory after his Super High Roller victory.

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Tournament update:

With the second level now under way, registration is almost closed. But even if you made it here early, you may not have got in. Day 1B of EPT9 Barcelona is a sell out, capped at 640 players.

There are a handful on the alternates list, however, all awaiting their chance to join the action. That means we now have at least 1,044 players for this tournament in full, and almost certainly significantly more.

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Lynn Gilmartin talks to Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier about Day 1B, and that Kimono...