EPT10 Barcelona: If the future is anything like the past
Quietness descends over the tournament area as the field that numbers more than 230 this morning is reduced to fewer than 100 players, all with money on their minds.
At this point of the Main Event you begin to get a picture of who might stick around for the rest of the week, and who probably won't. But there's something about a return to Barcelona that has previous champions on top of their game.
With 100 players left there are still four former champions in the mix. Not only that there are two former finalists as well.
Kent Lundmark, the winner here in 2010, pushes on towards what would be an unexpected repeat, as does last season's winner Mikolai Pobol. Then there's the most recent PCA winner Dmitar Danchev who seeks a cross-Atlantic EPT double.
Alexander Stevic, who won here in that very first EPT, reached the top hundred before losing everything but a big blind shortly before the last break of the day. But there is a revived spirit in Stevic, who is in form and riding the shoulders of ghosts of EPT past. He was soon back up to 60,000, then to around three times that much. There may be no stopping him.
No looking back for Alex Stevic
It's not only winners who are on form.
Dragan Kostic, a runner-up to Martin Schleich is also still in contention, and fourth place finisher from last year Anaras Alekberovas, who looks like he irons his clothes meticulously each morning, could potentially improve on his best this week.
The forecast then is good for a conclusion that features a few "notables".
From beyond EPT Barcelona, Kevin Vandersmissen plays on, a runner-up in Snowfest, so too Niall Farrell, who narrowly missed out on a bracelet this summer, finishing second in a hold'em event in Las Vegas. Then there's Martin Staszko, defeated finalist to Pius Heinz in the World Series of Poker Main Event just two years ago, who is also eyeing a little EPT glory.
Topping the list in terms of chips however is Englishman Tom Middleton.
Middleton has led for the roughly two levels. Remarkably, for a young pro with such a sparkly Palmares, this will be only his second EPT cash.
Of course they may all be gone before the close of play, stamping out the chances of various records and curiosities. But it's shaping up nicely.
NOTE: Nicely for all except Stevic, who just busted from the Main Event.
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Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.