EPT12 Barcelona: Back for more after success in 2014

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Hossein Ensan: Another fine start

Although he was missing for much of the two opening flights, Andre Lettau did eventually show up late last night in a bid to defend his EPT Barcelona crown. It was unsuccessful. He was eliminated before the end of play, and the same fate befell Samuel Phillips, the official runner up last year, whose prize-money outstripped Lettau's.

Although the top two from last year's final were therefore absent when Day 2 got under way, it didn't mean there wasn't still a strong whiff of 2014 about proceedings. All of Hossein Ensan, Andrea Dato, Andrey Shatilov, Kiryl Radzivonau, Ji Zhang and Slaven Popov, who finished third through eighth last time out, had made it into Day 2 this time. Two of them, Ensan and Dato, were on the same table again.

Dato, the Italian player who followed up a WPT triumph with fourth place here, couldn't spin his 33,900 into something manageable today, however. He is now out. But Ensan is still there and he has about 180,000, which is a fine stack for this stage of the game.

A refresher on Ensan: he first came to our attention at this festival when he won the first senior's event the EPT had hosted. But that was nothing. He then hopped in the Main Event and played superbly, picking up €652,667 for his third place.

The roll continued. He made a final table in Rozvadov on the Eureka Poker Tour, and then went to Malta and again made the final table of the Main Event, his second of the season. His sixth place was worth another €153,700.

Ensan then won two side events in Monaco, and I think quite convincingly proved that his success here last year was no fluke. He may have even been an outside bet for Player of the Year had Dzmitry Urbanovich not gone so crazy.

Ensan may well be prospering, but his table is a brute. He has Samuel Chartier, Aku Joentausta, Dominik Nitsche and Sergio Aido for company.

Andrey Shatilov, who finished fifth last time on what was his second EPT final table, started his Day 2 today upstairs in the marquee, where he began with 65,200. His table has since been broken and we're not certain if he remains in the tournament, but Radzivonau, sixth, certainly is.

Nobody could miss Radzivonau last time around. He wore a Barcelona soccer jersey, with his online nickname "Angry Moron" proudly embroidered across his shoulders. The big news is that the Moron is back and he now has a stack of about 230,000.

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Kiryl Radzivonau: Angry Moron looks exactly the same

His volatile play is the style that tends to get paid off, and I saw the tail end of one hand where Radzivonau managed to get the maximum from Daniel Mcaulay, the PokerStars qualifier from the United Kingdom.

The board was out to the river -- Q♠6♥2♣5♦T♦ -- and there was at least 60,000 in the middle. Radzivonau had bet about 100,000 at the pot, an amount to cover Mcaulay, who was therefore facing a decision for his tournament. After a moment's pause, Mcaulay called and was shown Radzivonau's A♥A♣.

Mcaulay shook his head and made for the door as the dealer said, "I've got to show." He turned over Mcaulay's mucked hand - 6♦7♦ - and away he went. It seems that Radzivonau is up to his old tricks if he can get an opponent to call for his tournament life with third pair.

Popov and Ji have suffered the same fate as Popov. Their tables have broken and so they are either scattered in the field or out. We will find out later on, when we either notice them in the field or confirm that they are not.

You can follow all the action from the various tournament floors on PokerStars Blog. The Main Event action will be on the Main Event page. And everything from the side events is on the side events page. It will be busy over there today. There's also EPT Live for your video-based needs.

You can also begin plotting your own bid for EPT glory by downloading the PokerStars client and having a crack. Follow this EPT event via the EPT app. There you will get all the latest news, chip counts and payouts. You can download it on Android or IOS.

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour