EPT9 Barcelona: Who's playing and well, who's not?


The thing about a packed tournament room is that it soon begins to smell. It's a combination of the heat outside, the faltering air conditioning inside, the TV set, complete with several hundred thousand bulbs, and 400 players wearing non-breathable fabrics living on adrenaline. This is what they've been waiting for. The tension before the start is now over and we're into the steady opening stages. It's getting a bit fruity at the back.

Regardless, the field is as busy as you'd expect, and dotted with familiar face, like Liv Boeree, Vladimir Geshkenbein, Benny Spindler and Ben Wilinofsky. Then there are those not playing. They're hear, and every minute or so they see cards. They're just focused on other things, like not running into the other players at their table.

Barcelona casino, underneath a giant Gehry designed fish

Table 17 are not playing because Anton Wigg, Michael Tureniec and Pratyush Buddiga, are. It's a similar situation at the table featuring Lex Veldhuis and Arnaud Mattern alongside each other, also on the table featuring John Juanda, Andrew Lichtenberger and Juha Helppi. No need to get ahead of yourselves.

Then there are those who can't play. Physically can't play, like Bartolome Gomila, whose face is squashed into a massage cushion (it's been a tense first hour). Every few minutes his hands feel the felt in front of him, sensing there's a card there.

Then there are those who are playing, but are temporarily distracted by something more interesting. Mikolaj Zawadzki, with his shoes off and sitting cross legged, reads a hardback Bear Grylls book (surely Grylls wouldn't tolerate softback). Antonio Gonzalez Miranda, perhaps looking for tips, watches Hangover II on his iPad.

Then, as the ladies event final paused for a break, so too did most players on tables 40, 45 and 46, as Leo Margets and the Van Brabander sisters weaved between the tables.

At least they've forgotten about the smell.