EPT11 Barcelona: DJ Sanchez welcomes players as Main Event gets under way
I'll be honest with you: EPT parties are not my particular domain. But then season openers are a bit different--more than a few drinks and some dancing. So it's right on such occasions to cast aside prejudice and get stuck in, as PokerStars proved last night.
Headlining the festivities was DJ Sanchez, a Grammy Award winning DJ and music producer who can turn a spiritless crowd into a sweaty mass of happiness, that jumps up and down at the same time, by simply putting on some headphones and spinning a turn table.
But before you think, "That's exactly what Grandad does with his Mantovani LPs", DJ Sanchez has particular appeal, having had a residency in Ibiza since 2000. If you ever went on holiday to that party island and woke up the next afternoon happy but slightly deaf, it was probably because of him.
But even as an outsider, more at home in, well, at home, there was something to marvel at as PokerStars players from around the world gathered in Theatre Principal, Barcelona, on the eve of the Main Event, to worship at this man's temple.
Just as it is with poker it's the subtly that often pleases most, whether it's a carefully played bluff or a carefully played remix of "Hella Good". So much so that by the end it's become worthy of the temporary hearing loss, and the sweat that'll take a boil wash to remove from your collar.
I may well have spent the night with my fingers in my ears, like a cartoon character waiting for an explosion. I may even have been watching the wrong man on stage in the build-up, inadvertently crediting one of the "helpers" as Sanchez himself with a cry of: "There he is!" But that didn't matter. What followed was a demonstration of mixing brilliance that provided the Catalan capital with a beating heart for three hours.
To see it from a few feet away was part exhilarating, part physical exertion. The initial blast of sound nearly shattered my spectacles. With each bass beat my clothes and hair began to vibrate towards the stage without me in them. It was relentless, and the hundreds gathered in front of the stage loved it.
Around me others who were not traditional dancing people were having the time of their lives. All the dance moves were on display--the shadow box, the on-the-spot-jog, the chicken wing, the Boris Yeltsin, and the C-3PO. But nobody really cared what they looked like.
Because really this was just a primal scream of a celebration that the EPT was back and ready to go with the first Main Event of the 11th season--the 100th in tour history.
Sore head or not it starts today with the first flight, culminating with a final table next Wednesday. Barcelona is typically one of the biggest fields of the year and this year, on the tails of a record Estrellas Main Event, talk is of another enormous field already forming a crowd in the lobby area outside the tournament room.
The Super High Roller may have ended yesterday but there's plenty of action coming up today, not least the Estrellas Main Event final table, which you can watch cards-up on EPTLive, coming up later today (we'll have an update of this on the blog shortly). Today is also the start of the Estrellas High Roller, so there is something for everyone.
DJ Sanchez did his job last night to usher in the new season, now it's in the hands of the players.
Follow out live reports on the Blog through the finish, and also our hand for hand coverage in the widget in the top right of this screen, where you'll also find other useful links.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.