EPT12 Barcelona: Beer, bets and football at the Barcelona home game

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Some beer. It features heavily

You may have noticed recently that PokerStars, in association with Jake Cody, is running a "Lads Night In" promotion to raise money for Prostate Cancer UK.

The idea is to get everyone playing poker and giving at least some of the prize pool to the very worthy cause. The winners of a competition running alongside will get to play their home game chez Cody at a VIP location in London.

I was reminded of this earlier while watching Charlie Carrel's table at EPT Barcelona. Carrel has put together a stack of about 75,000 in the early stages, and is enjoying his afternoon. There is, you might say, the feel of the home game about it, especially in the conversation between Carrel and Arne Coulier, from Belgium, who joined late today but already has about 65,000.

Coulier raised from mid position, making it 1,100 to go, and Carrel three-bet to 3,800 from the small blind.

"You are the table captain," Coulier said, as he considered his options, all other players having folded.
"I'm not any more, man," Carrel said. "You took that title from me."
"Sometimes players get lucky," Coulier chirruped back and folded.

The absence of cards allowed Coulier to attend to the problem of an unopened bottle of beer he was guarding with his life. A waitress came over and cracked off the cap, permitting a deep draw.

Carrel seemed interested. "If everyone else at the table agrees to drink, I'll drink," he said. "Just to even it out. I think that's fair." He then turned to Dmitry Bayramov to his right and added, "And you have to drink two because you're Russian."

Bayramov laughed a hearty, Russian laugh. He looked like the kind of man who would happily drink two, or three, that each of these willowy western European youths could muster. Actually four.

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Charlie Carrel: Table captain?

Right about this point, attention turned to the man in seat four, who made a point of lifting his beer bottle out of his cup holder and taking a deep swig. It was as though all this talk of beer by people who weren't actually drinking it had offended his sensibilities.

This man, it should be known, is named Brynjar Bjarkason and he hails from Iceland. One suspects that one is shamed from the Bjarkason family if one is seen not to be drinking ale after 6pm.

"Ha," Coulier said. "I always seem to find one partner in crime when I drink." Coulier did well to notice, actually, because he was busy watching the Arsenal v Liverpool game on his phone at the time and Petr Cech just pushed Philippe Coutinho's angled drive on to the post. Coulier leapt out of his seat and nearly spilled his beer.

Carrel was now involved in another hand, having raised pre-flop and picked up a call from Sergi Escote in the big blind. They saw a flop of Q♦9♣5♣. It went check, bet, call. (I was watching the football too on Coulier's phone. I didn't see the sizes.)

The 7♥ came on the turn and Escote checked again. Carrel bet 9,300 and after a long, long dwell in the tank, during which he asked three times how much the bet was, he folded.

Carrel did the only thing he could. He ordered a beer.

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. We also have the final of the Super High Roller, which will be on the Super High Roller page.

The Estrellas Main Event also plays its final table. Action from that is on the side events page.

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