PokerStars Travel Blog: Madrid

ept-thumb-promo.jpgMadrid was one of the EPT stops I had already frequented, as The EPT Grand Final in Season 7 had been held there last May. When we explored the city, I wanted to do something a little different to what we had seen before, so I did my usual research into the capital city and decided we would explore Madrid from a completely different perspective. Of course, if you haven't been to Madrid, then don't let me entice you away from hitting the usual tourist spots. Plaza de Mayor is always lively and a great place to sit, eat some calamares and other tapas, drink some sangria and watch the world go by, just like the Spaniards do. However, beware not to go and have your lunch at a normal time like us British or other Europeans who would have a lunch, at say 1pm or 2pm, but switch yourself onto a later time zone and grab your tapas at around 4.30pm. This means when you're getting ready to go out in the evenings too, you must not go out and start drinking in bars until around 11pm and even hit the club until about 1 or 2am! Yep, the Spaniards are a very relaxed bunch and it is imperative to get into the general swing of things! So, getting back to our different perspective. I decided to take our viewers on the teleferico. Check out our video of the city!

Seeing as we didn't visit the home of Real Madrid on the last stop either, I thought it was a must this time to see The Santiago Bernabeu stadium and it really didn't disappoint. In fact we loved it so much that we went on the stadium tour and then a few days later we went to watch a Champions League game where home side, Real Madrid thrashed CSKA Moscow 4-1 to make it into the quarterfinals. The football took place on Day 2 of the poker and because so many players wanted to go and watch the game, the EPT event staff shortened the day so we only played 5 75minute levels. It was an absolutely exhilarating experience, I cannot begin to explain the amount of fun we had watching the game and enjoying the evening afterwards, but I hope the picture helps!

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And for those of you who want to see the stadium tour, which includes the trophy room, changing rooms and press room, then you should take a look at the video we made!

After a shorter day 2, it was inevitable that day 3 was going to be a long one. Especially after our jovial party spirits after Real Madrid won the football game as well. The total field of players had been 477 and day 3 saw us play down from 122 to just 3 tables of 8 players, ie 24 players. We had been inundated with Team PokerStars Pros on Day 1b, including the likes of Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier, Eugene Katchalov, Theo Jorgensen and many former EPT Champions such as Jake Cody, Mike McDonald and Kevin MacPhee. Yet as the days progressed the Team Pros seemed to diminish and it was left to Alex Kravchenko to fly the flag as he became the last Team Pro standing. It wasn't to be flown for too long though unfortunately, as the Russian bust out 35th, taking home €11,000 for his 3 day's work (72 places were paid and it was McLean Karr who bubbled the event.)

The play on Day 4 was fast and furious which saw no end of betting and bluffing. A few were sad to see Mike McDonald bubble the final table and the hopes of a double EPT crown were dashed, nonetheless our final 8 contenders seemed like a good mixed bunch with a good standard of play under most of their belts. Here is the video to check out the final table players.

The final table was indeed good fun to watch, most of it done via the EPT Live stream into our pressroom, with players from Spain, France, Israel, Denmark and Scotland - a very diverse and dynamic mix. The chiplead changed hands a fair amount of times until Frederik Jensen, the Dane eventually took the lead for the first time and never gave it back. We braced ourselves for a long evening of poker as we didn't go heads-up until around 22.30. After last EPTs 6 hour marathon heads-up session between online team member Mickey Petersen and Team Pro Pierre Neuville, anything was possible. However we were greatly surprised by Jensen who got heads-up with Scottish dad of four, Fraser McIntyre for exactly 15 minutes and ended the whole event before midnight. A Dane wins EPT Copenhagen, a Dane now wins EPT Madrid. There was no mistake about it, the Danish standard of poker was a high one! Here's the winner interview.

So from the land of flamenco and castanets, sangria and bullfighting, back to London town, a place called home for just 5 days and then its time for more pizza and pasta at EPT Campione next week. I can't wait!

Laura Cornelius
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour