EPT12 Barcelona: Enough of all that, time for the Main Event
When you look into the weary eyes of the waiting staff at the hotel breakfast buffet, or the security guards directing patrons through the labyrinth of the casino, this next sentence sounds especially ridiculous: Today is the start of EPT12 Barcelona!
I think we all know by know that festivals on the European Poker Tour stretch far wider than only one major tournament. The EPT festival, encompassing the largest Estrellas Poker Tour event ever seen, plus various other record-breaking add ons, has been running for more than a week. Folk in these parts are already deep into a furrow of late nights and early mornings and people walking in the out and out the in.
But when players and observers talk about "winning an EPT" or an "EPT champion" their shorthand is referring actually to the EPT Main Event, the showpiece tournament of the festival. It is that specific event that begins today, at 12 noon, in Casino Barcelona. It will be eyes down in search of a 106th EPT champ.
To refresh your memory, the German online cash-game player Andre Lettau won here in Barcelona 12 months ago, beating a field of 1,496 to pick up a €794,058 pay-day. That cheque was deal-adjusted; Samuel Phillips became the millionaire when they chopped it three-ways (with Hossein Ensan). Phillips won €1,021,275, but lost to Lettau heads-up.
More recently, Spain crowned its first EPT champion when Adrian Matteos (pictured left) clinched victory at the season-ending stop in Monaco in May. We all took some time off over the summer, before returning for action to start again this week.
Of course, there will be a lot of chatter in the room over the coming couple of days as to whether the record for attendees can be broken once more. Last year's tally was the biggest EPT Main Event in the tour's 11 seasons, and it seems madness to expect it to be beaten again.
But with crazy numbers attending all tournaments across the festival this week, it is far from impossible that the total is toppled again.
Expect all your favourite poker stars to take their seat over the coming couple of days. There are, as normal, two opening flights: Day 1A today and Day 1B tomorrow. Entry costs €5,000+€300, players begin with 30,000 in tournament chips and the plan is to play eight 75-minute levels, with a dinner break after level six (approximately 8.10pm).
It should all be done and dusted by about midnight, before we rinse and repeat tomorrow.
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.