EPT10 Barcelona: Registration deadline: Minute-by-Minute!
11.30am: The record for a non-PCA event stands at 1,240 players, set in Sanremo in Season 6. The field in Barcelona yesterday had reached 1,226 meaning 15 more players were required before registration closes at the start of play today to break that record. I went to stake out the registration desk to watch history unfold.
11.32am: According to the desk staff, an Englishman has answered the call and registered late for the Main Event. I like to think this man woke in the middle of the night sweating, screaming even, wondering if he hadn't been a little hasty in skipping Barcelona. Driven half mad by a sudden need to register, he subsequently got on a plane from somewhere like Luton, at 4.30 this morning, and was in town by sunrise, with nothing more than a panama and a linen suit.
11.34am: The English player, herein known as "The English Patient", was travelling alone. As yet he is the only player to register for the Main Event since play ended last night.
Drinks on ice
11.40am: As the story above demonstrates, the new system of registration for Season 10 actually allows players to dream! And it's happened before.
French player Michel Abecassis, a veteran of both the EPT and French poker scene for the past 15 years, once recounted a story to me at EPT Copenhagen. Having decided not to attend the Danish leg that season, he awoke one night having had a dream that he'd won EPT Copenhagen. So vivid was this dream that he got out of bed, immediately booked a flight from Paris to Denmark, and was in Copenhagen early enough to register for Day 1B. Or would have been if the tournament hadn't already been oversubscribed and registration subsequently closed. But the story still applies.
11.45am: A man in red trousers (another Brit?) approaches the registration desk and hands over his passport like a man volunteering for active service overseas. He is, just not the 5K kind. He wants into the 2K. So does the chap with the man bag behind him. That figure of 1,240 is looking a long way off.
11.47am: A quick word with the staff on the registration desk reveals a degree of pessimism among the team. Honestly, they don't expect more than The English Patient to register, they say. It's not an altogether shocking revelation. The registration line remains empty.
Behind these doors
11.49am: Then a rush! Suddenly there are four people at the registration desk, divided between cash and online buy-ins. Two Spaniards look like they could be swayed, standing for an extended period at the desk and gesticulating to each other. Could they be trying to talk themselves into a Main Event seat, in the same way you can be talked into buying "VIP seats" at the back row of the cinema. They laugh, they hug, they pat each other on the back, and promptly buy in to the 2K event.
11.51am: The intention of the others are even less obvious. The main event starts in less than ten minutes.
11.56am: After the rush subsides, the registration desk is empty again. Now the bane of the staff there, I ask if any more had signed up. "Two or three," says the big man behind the desk, who then confirms "three." Incredible. Two more from this bunch took the leap.
11.59am: It's not going to happen. I peer down the corridor one last time, hoping to see Michael Abecassis red faced and out of breath with five grand in his pocket and a dream in his head. But no. He must have slept soundly last night.
12.01pm: It looks like EPT Barcelona will just have to settle for being the second biggest EPT on European soil.
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Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.