EPT12 Barcelona: Big hands, big fields as Stenberg, Akhundov win sides
Welcome back, poker fans, to another full day of action from the Casino Barcelona where besides the Main Event (now under 100 players deep) and the start of the €10K High Roller, the generous helping of sides on the schedule is keeping everyone fully satiated with tournament options.
The fields have been so super-sized throughout the nearly two weeks we've been here, it's been surreal at times to stand amid so much poker going on all around. Puts us in mind of the Dali Theatre and Museum located not too far away in Salvador Dali's hometown of Figueres, unmistakably topped by a roof parapet with giant eggs.
Before we start tracking the side action today, let's get up to speed with where we left things last night, starting with some of the newest silver spade winners.
Among the late night action was the €500 PLO (Event #50) which saw 255 entries build a big €123,675 prize pool. In the end Sweden's Ove Stenberg won the last big hand of that one to collect all the chips and a €26,155 first prize, stopping runner-up David San Juan from grabbing another side event win for Spain.
The last event to start yesterday was a €5K Hyperturbo (Event #54) that unsurprisingly proved attractive enough for a number of big names to stick around to play some post-witching hour poker.
There were 105 taking part, making a prize pool of €509,520, and the final table was stacked. Last season's EPT Player of the Year Dzmitry Urbanovich finished eighth, Byron Kaverman (currently No. 2 in the overall GPI rankings) took seventh, and Martin Finger (who won the €25K High Roller earlier in the day) made it to sixth. Andries Swart (fifth), Vladimir Troyanovskiy (fourth), Georgios Zisimopoulos (third), and Jussi Nevanlinna (second) also came close to the top spot.
In the end, though, it was Murad Akhundov of Azerbaijan winning the biggest last hand of that one to win the title and €131,130 first prize -- his second cash of the festival and largest of his career.
Moving over to other events from last night that will be returning to action today, a multi-flight €1K NL Hold'em (Event #48) attracted 575 players altogether, building a €654,750 prize pool with €124,700 awaiting the winner.
That field played down to 67 last night, and they have already restarted with Seamus Cahill returning to the chip lead and Sean Prendiville, Eric Theissen, David Vamplew, Yury Gulyy, and Norbert Szecsi among those with above average chips to begin.
A €200 "Win the Button" NL (Event #53) -- in which players who win a hand get the button for the next one -- drew another big crowd of 514 players for a €99,716 prize pool and a €19,245 first prize.
They were able to play down to 14 players before stopping last night, with Lebanon's Ara Melkistian the overnight chip leader as the only one among them with more than 1 million chips. Melkistian took runner-up in a €2K event at EPT11 Malta, and returns today with a group that includes EPT6 Kyiv champion Maxim Lykov (in third position).
Finally, the massive €2K Hold'em (Event #43) -- originally scheduled for two days -- has spilled over into a third, with the four survivors from a field of 510 coming back later this afternoon to finish things out. The event sports an enormous €989,400 prize pool with €190,960 reserved for first.
American pro Zachary Korik -- whose turned-up mustache also reminds us of Dali -- returns to the chip lead (2.7 million).
Ori Miller (1.8 million), EPT11 Grand Final runner-up Jack Salter (1.635 million), and Richard Dubini (630,000) are also still in the hunt in that one. Salter seeks his second trophy of the festival after winning a €1K NL Turbo last week.
Back in a bit with a rundown of what's happening today, side event-wise, on this busy Friday. Just follow us and we'll point you to the way to all the news and results from Barcelona.
Haven't gotten a PokerStars account yet? Join the world's biggest site now.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.