EPT12 Barcelona: Irimia's nightshift lands €2 qualifier in Barcelona

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Marius Irimia: Well worth the €2 investment

Anybody who lives near Marius Irimia in Bucharest, Romania, might be suspicious of some strange nocturnal habits. Several times over the past few months, the light has been on in his home long, long into the night.

But today we can reveal what Irimia has been up to when even the sun is asleep: he has been parlaying €2 investments into €5,300 live tournament tickets on PokerStars.

Irimia is one of those online qualifiers that has given PokerStars Blog some of its finest stories throughout the years. He entered a satellite costing €2 on PokerStars and won a ticket into a €27 tournament. From there, it was into a €215 tournament and then, at around 5am, with daylight breaking across Romania, he had secured his trip to EPT Barcelona and a place in this record-breaking field.

marius_irimia_ept12_barcelona_portrait.jpg"I play little qualifiers because I'm not so rich," Irimia said when we caught up ahead of play today. However, in tournament terms, he is one of the wealthiest. After a day that was heaven sent yesterday, he bagged 164,700 at the close, which is the eighth largest stack in the room.

Irimia described the hand that took his stack from a merely healthy 90,000 to that chip-lead challenging total. He had pocket kings and had a full house by the end after three sevens fell on the board. That was enough to beat a couple of huge draws in two opponents' hands.

Pocket kings has come to be Irimia's signature hand on the European Poker Tour. Barcelona is not actually his first rodeo. Irimia also followed the precise same satelite route to EPT Vienna a couple of seasons ago, spinning €2 into a trip to the Austrian capital.

He was eliminated short of the money that time around, with pocket kings, and accepts, as all poker players must, that you win some and you lose some. However, the fact that he has now made two trips to the EPT for €2 investments has given him a measure of confidence in his abilities.

"The first time, I thought that I was lucky," he said. "But now I think maybe that I know something about this game."

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Irimia is far from along in the ranks of PokerStars qualifiers on an enormous spin-up. We also have the following to keep an eye on:

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Alexander Saladze, Canada - €2 qualifier

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Sebastian Malec, Poland - €4.40 qualifier

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Todor Borisov, Bulgaria - €55 qualifier

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.

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