EPT12 Barcelona: Poker's best gather in Marquee Room for €5K 8-game
For the second day running here at the start of the 71-event European Poker Tour Barcelona festival, the day's highest buy-in event is of the non-hold'em variety. These events doubly appeal to a certain, significant category of poker players, namely those who prefer less trafficked variants and also putting a little more on the line.
Yesterday the €5K razz event -- the third largest buy-in live razz tourney ever -- was the attraction for these players, with 14 of them taking part and Russia's Andrey Zhigalov proving victorious.
Today comes the €5K 8-game (Event #13), and to it has come a considerably bigger group of mixed-game aficionados. A total of 29 players are taking part, creating a €140,650 prize pool to be divided among the top five finishers, with a €52,040 prize awaiting the winner.
Adam Owen, who finished second in yesterday's razz event to Zhigalov, is playing, as is third-place finisher Matt Grapenthien. Meanwhile Sebastien Sabic, the high-stakes online player (who goes by "Seb86" on PokerStars), is also part of the field.
The star of the Nosebleed documentary picks his spots when it comes to live events -- in fact, this is only Sabic's second EPT -- although he's done well in mixed events at the WSOP, picking up numerous cashes in H.O.E., H.O.R.S.E., 2-7 triple draw, and other non-HE games.
Another mixed game master, Stephen "stevie444" Chidwick, is playing, his WCOOP and SCOOP titles in Badugi and 2-7 triple draw (respectively) helping further establish his bona fides in non-HE games.
The three players who were battling most fiercely for the Season 11 Player of the Year -- Russia's Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Portugal's Joao Vieira, and Poland's Dzmitry Urbanovich -- are all playing the 8-game, too. Each of them held the POY lead at one point last year, until Urbanovich's breakout four-event win at EPT11 Malta gave him the lead he was able to hold onto until the finish.
Incidentally, Urbanovich will soon be receiving his trophy for winning the EPT11 Player of the Year at the first break of Day 2 of the EPT Barcelona Main Event.
Also in action are representatives of the red spade, including Naoya Kihara of Team PokerStars Pro Online who owns a WSOP bracelet in short-handed pot-limit Omaha.
A couple of Team PokerStars Pros are part of the field, too -- Theo Jorgensen and Jason Mercier. Mercier is just a couple of days removed from taking down the $25K High Roller at the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open, besting an 83-entry field to win a cool $517,000.
Vladmir Schemelev, Sergey Rybachenko, Tobias Hausen, and Jens Lakemeier are also helping make up this skill-laden group. The event is taking place in the corner of the auxiliary area referred to as the Marquee Room -- suitable, really, considering the headline-level talent assembled for it.
The room is located just a short walk away from the main poker room that is currently filled with Estrellas Main Event Day 1B players. We'll be checking in down there to see who emerges from this small, strong field in to collect the 8-game trophy.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.