EPT11 Barcelona: How do you solve a problem like Day 2?

The PokerStars Blog would like to think that there was an emergency tournament staff meeting called last night when it became apparent that nigh on 900 players - some 100 more than the daily player cap - had advanced to Day 2.

The scene would no doubt be a low ceilinged basement trattoria and between puffs of cigarette smoke and sips of double strength espressos the cries of: "But how are we going to fit them all in?" would be heard.


The packed main room, one of three in use

Truth be told though, the EPT tournament staff are the best in the world so of course they were prepared well ahead of time. Planning for such an eventuality had happened even before the record numbers of the Estrellas Main Event hinted at what was to come.

Yesterday the players were distributed between two rooms, today they've had to go one further. "We are pretty close to being at capacity, but the casino have given us 11 tables to use, so the players are spread over three rooms today," Luca Vivaldi, a senior tournament official, said shortly before play started. "That's all the room we have in the casino though."

Of course, you can now buy into the Main Event on Day 2, so what would happen if a coach load of players all showed up today wanting to play? Being the smart cookies they're they've planned for that too.

"With the re-draw for Day 2 we saved 31 seats," Vivaldi said. "We had nine players from yesterday that registered already that told us they would come today and we have already six players who've bought in today and that number will increase."

And if more than 31 had shown up that was planned for too.

"The casino know that they have to delay the cash games a little bit, at least on a few tables until we start the tournament. Because really they know if 60 players would show up to play Day 2 then we need to open those table, because at the moment that's the priority."

Of course this festival isn't just about the Main Event, there's a €2,000 event that's due to start at 4pm. Could that be affected?

"We are trying our best, we unfortunately have to cap events," Vivaldi said. "We had to do that with the €2,000 event last night, it was capped at 80 players and it's a tournament that would've got probably 300 players had the Main Event not been so huge or if the player spread on the two Main Event start days had been more even."

That was bad luck for EPT5 Warsaw champion Joao Barbosa who won that side event.

So the tournament staff have coped but only just.

"We didn't expect Day 2 so big, we have 102 tables in use, we have some dealers who only deal satellites but we're using them for the Main Event as well. Every single dealer right now is sat down at a table. We literally have no one spare."

Follow all the action from the tournament floor on the main EPT Barcelona page. There's hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top, including chip counts, and feature pieces below. There's also EPT Live, which is streaming action from Day 2 of the Main Event.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in European Poker Tour