EPT13 Barcelona: Day 1A Main Event live updates

PokerStars qualifier Alex Brand tops Day 1A field

As Day 1A draws to a close, Alex Brand, a man from the Netherlands who won his seat on PokerStars, sits at the top of the first flight leaderboard. His 178,800 in chips is good for the lead in a flight that drew nearly 500 players. Fewer than 300 of those runners remain as the chips go in the bag for the night.

NEIL7892_EPT13BAR_Alex_Brand_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Alex Brand

It was a crowded day in the Casino Barcelona EPT tournament room as the Main Event kicked off amid several final tables, new satellites, and a Right to Play charity event.

The first day crowd drew more than a few tested and true pros from the ranks of the touring crowd. We saw the likes of Jason Mercier, Leo Fernandez, Jason Koon, John Juanda, Shaun Deeb, Matt Stout, Sam Grafton, Faraz Jaka, Charlie Carrel, Dominik Nitsche, Andreas Hoivold, Davidi Kitai, and more in in the field.

In addition to the leader, here are some notable counts from stalwarts who are headed to Day 2.

Bernd Vogelhuber 167,600
Kestutis Gecevicius 153,300
Michael Addamo 153,100
Dorian Rios 152,700
Victor Bogdanov 150,200
Shaun Deeb 136,700
Andreas Hoivold 120,100
Connor Drinan 68,100
Jason Koon 66,600
Jason Mercier 44,200
Thor Hansen 17,100

A full count of the field is available here.

While the Main Event is the main attraction for a majority of the players here, it could not overshadow the two final tables that finished here tonight. Our focus will now fix on the Main, but you would do well to check in on how the €50K Super High Roller and Estrellas Main Event finished. You can do that by clicking the links below.

Holz continues incredible run, claims latest Super High Roller title
Mohamed Samri tops 3,447-player Main Event field, Teunis Kooij after heads-up deal

The €5K Main Event resumes Tuesday with Day 1B.

We'll be back with full coverage beginning at (an ungodly) 10am local time here in Barcelona. We'll also have full coverage of the 25K Single Day High Roller.

Join us right there for all of that action in just about ten hours.

Until then, look for a link to the chip counts in the black box on the right (or in the link a couple of paragraphs above) and feel free to scroll down through some of the highlights from the day posted below.

Until then, goodnight from Barcelona.

Updates from Day 1A below

11:55pm: Day 1A ends

The first flight of the EPT Barcelona Main Event has come to a close. We'll have a full wrap-up of the day coming shortly. --BW

11:35pm: All the fun of the fair
Level 8 - Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

Charlie Carrel is out and was just spotted leaving the tournament room carrying the teddy bear he brought with him today, giving him the appearance of someone walking home after a trip to the fun fair. -- SB

11:30pm: Main Event Happy Hour
Level 8 - Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

It's happy hour in the Main Event, literally and figuratively. Or it is on table 21.

Wine has been ordered, and been taken over there, and it's the happiest table in town, led by chief enabler Chance Kornuth. Parker Talbot in seat one joined him with the CabSav. Eli Heath stuck to beer.

As usually happens at this time of the day, when the bulk of play (and dinner) is now behind them and the finishing line is coming into view, guards are down, tempers eased, relaxation.

Bernd Vogelhuber is also happy at this time. He leant over to Talbot in the seat next to him and asked if they all knew each other, such was this new founded bonhomie.

"No," said Talbot. "I know two people because they're famous and all these other idiots I don't know."

The idiots laughed. Vogelhuber laughed as well. He's not drinking, but may well be high on the perfume he wears (he's a fan of perfume as he explained in Malta last season).

Happy hour plays on for another half an hour. - SB

11:01pm: I bid you goodbye. Wait, I'll stay.
Level 8 - Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

Jason Koon was all in for around 11,000 and waiting on the guy who raised him, Isidoro Barrena, to make the decision.

"If he does get me, it's been a pleasure playing with you all," Koon said to everyone around the table.

A few more seconds ticked by, and Barrena finally made the call.

"I think I'm good if it took that long," Koon said. He flipped over A♣J♦, and he was right. Barrena only held A♠5♠. Koon's hand held, and he doubled to more than 22,000. --BW

10:45pm: Farrell closing in on a six figure stack
Level 8 - Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

More from Niall Farrell, by which we mean more for Niall Farrell.

On a flop of 3♥K♠5♣ he was up against Vladimir Troyanovskiy. Farrell had checked to the Russian who bet 3,200. Farrell, taking his time, called for a 5♦ turn card.

Both players checked that to get to the 9♣ river card. This time Farrell led the betting, 7,700 which gave Toryanovskiy reasons to pause. A minute later he called, but mucked immediately as Farrell turned up A♠K♥.

That was good to win the pot and to take his stack up to around 90,000 now. - SB

10:15pm: Last level
Level 8 - Blinds: 400/800 (100 ante)

The remaining players are beginning their final 75-minute level of the night. --BW


10:15pm: The Mask of Gruissem
Level 7 - Blinds: 300/600 (100 ante)

It's over people. Philipp Gruissem has arrived.

Admittedly we're fans, but we say this out of a growing hunch that whatever Gruissem does he succeeds at, whether it's poker ($10million in tournament winnings), doing some good (see his REG charity), or table tennis, whic hhe demonstrated his prowess with earlier as part of the #StarsFun activities here.

He arrives late, dressed all in black (I'm giving my Gruissem as Douglas Fairbank's Zorro comparison a break), and places his chips down with a nonchalance reserved exclusively for players who have been there, done that, and with witnesses. That would include the eight players at his table.

He didn't sit down immediately. Instead, he went to get himself a cup of water and then do a few stretches, his shoulders, his calves, his back, looking up briefly to watch David Peters crack aces with 6♥[4] (he made a flush) to double up.

Then he did sit down, casually looking at who he was up against - as well as Peters there was Jack Salter and Paul Berende. It was time to play.

Gruissem started by raising. The action moved around the table: fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold, fold and fold.

A solid start. - SB

10:35pm: Same coinflip, same result
Level 7 - Blinds: 300/600 (100 ante)

Just a few minutes after mentioning the queens versus ace-king coinflip that ended with an ace on the river against Faraz Jaka, we saw the exact same thing happen. Alex Brand came in for a raise and Fabiano Kovalski came in over the top all-in for 12,800. Kovalski held Q♥Q♠ to Brand's A♦K♣. The ace hit the river again, and Kovalski was gone.--BW

10:23pm: Jaka gone
Level 7 - Blinds: 300/600 (100 ante)

Before the break we wrote about the unfortunate ending to Faraz Jaka's queens vs. ace-king coinflip. Though he had chips when it was over, he doesn't anymore. Jaka is no longer in his seat and is presumed gone for good. --BW

10:06pm: It's your decision, Davidi
Level 7 - Blinds: 300/600 (100 ante)

You never know what to expect when Davidi Kitai gets involved in a hand. The latest episode proved that as well as any example can. Kitai called a raise to 1,300 by Sam Grafton and watched as two other people called behind him. One of those people was Jan Nader Zadeh. Remember that name.

Grafton led into the K♣5♣8♦ flop for 3,000, and Kitai didn't waste much time bumping it up 8,800. THat might not have been so suprising but for the fact, after one fold, Zadeh cut out 21,200 and put it in front of his cards. Grafton mucked quickly, but Kitai looked tortured. For nearly five minutes he studied the short stack he'd picked up in his hand. He looked at it, mumbled, and then slammed it down...behind his cards. He did this at least three times before asking Zadeh a simple question.

"Show me if I fold?" he asked.

Zadeh held his tongue for a few seconds before saying quietly, "It will cost you your tournament if you want to see my hand."

Without any ointment for the sick burn, Kitai was left to decide just what he wanted to do. He looked agonized, but finally picked up a card in each hand, turned both over, and laid them on the felt in front of him. He swished them back and forth across the felt with his fingers, quietly begging Zadeh to reveal anything. Zadeh would not.

So, Kitai took one last look at his face up cards, and finally let the dealer pull his two red aces into the muck.--BW

9:55pm: Fearless Farrell
Level 7 - Blinds: 300/600 (100 ante)

Back from the dinner break Niall Farrell was pressing on in the same fashion as earlier. He opened for 1,300 before Carlos Arias in the seat next to him raised to 3,100. All right then. Farrell would call it, and they saw a flop.


That was checked, for the J♣ turn card. Farrell checked to Arias who bet 3,500. All right then. Farrell would call it, and they saw a river card.


Farrell checked and Arias took one last stab at it, betting 5,000. All righ... whatever, you get the point. Farrell called, watched Arias turn over 5♠3♠ for a busted straight draw, and took the chips with J♠T♠, which got a tap on the table from one player.

Farrell continues to do well today, now up to around 60,000. Arias meanwhile drops to 7,000. - SB

9:40pm: Silver onto the next one
Level 7 - Blinds: 300/600 (100 ante)

After finding no good fortune in the €50K and no better in the Main Event, Max Silver is turning his sights to tomorrow's €25,000 one-day High Roller. --BW

9:40pm: Back in action
Level 7 - Blinds: 300/600 (100 ante)

The dreadful 25 denomination chips are gone, the remaining players are back, and the final two levels of the night have begun. Everybody left will be coming back to 3600-600-100 blinds and antes and two 75-minute levels.--BW


8:10pm: Paella time!

After a quick chip race to get rid of the 25 chips, the players will be out on a 75-minute dinner break. We'll be back when they are.--BW

7:55pm: Why does it have to be the river?
Level 6 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

They can't just put the ace out there on the flop, can they?

Faraz Jaka knows this all-too well. Folded to him on the button, he made it 1,200 to play. Alessandro Borsa sat in the big blind and re-raised to 4,000. This is where it became clear Jaka wasn't joking. He four-bet to 10,200. In came Borsa's five-bet shove for 34,450. Jaka snap-called with Q♦Q♣. Borsa turned up A♦K♥.

Jaka dodged the flop and turn in every way possible. He needed only to avoid one of the six outs left. He didn't. The A♠ on the river took more than half his stack. And that was that.--BW

7:45pm: Farrell picking up where he left off
Level 6 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

Niall Farrell and John Juanda, who yesterday featured in the Super High Roller, are now seated at the same table in the Main Event.

Juanda won a hand from the big blind and is enjoying what's best described as a face massage. Meanwhile Farrell, not a massage man, was calling a bet from Jose Schwaiger from the big blind for a flop of T♣4♥8♠.

Farrell checked to Schwaiger who bet another 1,300, which Farrell then called for the 9♣ turn. That was checked for the 2♣ river card. Both checked, Farrell's Q♠J♥ getting the better of Schwaiger's ace-jack.

That put him on more than 50,000. The next hand made that figure more like 55,000. And all without the need of a massage. - SB

7:10pm: Sergey Lebedev loses race, is finished anyway
Level 6 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

Sometimes you just have to ask yourself: should I just flip for it right here? Sergey Lebedev found himself in just that position a couple minutes ago. He'd come in for a raise to 1,200 and left himself 8,000 behind. He made it through everyone but the big blind, Michael Addamo, who put out enough to put Lebedev all in. Lebedev held A♣J♥ and decided his remaining 16 bigs were going in. He couldn't have asked for much more. Addamo held 2♦2♣, a hand that held up all the way. Lebedev can now consider himself among the eliminated.


6:55pm: Jacobson shines
Level 5 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

Martin Jacobson is among the field today. The former WSOP Main Event winner is the picture of health. The only thing that glows more brightly than his yellow t-shirt is his skin. Being a talented and successful poker player agrees with him.

He just opened for 1,000 from the cut off, getting a call from Henri Koivisto in the big blind. The flop came 6♣7♠9♦ which Koivisto checked to Jacobson who bet another 1,500. Koivisto called once more.

The turn was the 2♥. Koivisto checked but sensed he was beaten when Jacobson made it 3,500 to play. It was. Jacobson up to more than 50,000. - SB

6:30pm: Fernandez doesn't love a chop pot
Level 5 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

Leo Fernandez spent the majority of the early part of his his day getting the choppy-choppy from a massage therapist. Now, with the therapist gone, he can't stop.

When we arrived at the table, the board was already fully out: T♣Q♦]A♠2♥K♦. Fernandez was locked in a everlasting raising battle with Adrian Ioan Ionescu, and everybody knew both men had jacks, and if one of them didn't, he was going to feel mighty stupid. As it turned out, that was exactly the case. Fernandez had been ahead all the way to the river with A♥J♠. Ionescu had managed a chop with J♣T♥. Fernandez was...well, his face looked a lot like this.

NEIL7527_EPT13BAR_Leo_Fernandez_Neil Stoddart.jpg

6:30pm: More from Grafton
Level 5 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

Pratyush Buddiga just sent a player to the rail, but was paying for it with friendly banter from his friend Sam Grafton.

With the board reading [j][9][t] the chips were in (on this part of the story we're short on detail). Buddiga called Rojas who had shown [k][q] for the straight. Buddiga had 9♦T♦ for bottom two.

Buddiga looked beaten until the turn [q] and river [9]. The last card gave him the full house, and sent Rojas to the rail.
Cue Grafton. He took to explaining the prowess of Buddiga to Davidi Kitai next to him, who laughed his way through it.

"He didn't even realise a straight was possible!" he told Kitai as Buddiga laughed too. "Unbelievable!" he said, turning to Buddiga. "You bust the poor guy as well!"

It was true. Rojas was picking up his bags while everyone was laughing, a river card away from a different future entirely.

Grafton laid into Buddiga a little more. "What did you think he was going to show you?"

"I'm happy to run over king-queen, he replied."

"I'm just going to sit back and watch... stay out of the way until I get bottom two pair... then go ballistic."

6:15pm: Picasso in the house
Level 5 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

You know why we like Sam Grafton? He's good for a quote. In this case, in a quick analysis of Davidi Kitai's tricky play, screams to the table: "We're getting to see the genius at work. We've got Picasso here! We want to see how he uses the f---ing paintbrush!"

You don't even need context for that. It's wonderful just as it is.--BW

6:05pm: MacPhee vs. Koon
Level 5 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

One of the tougher tables in the field features Simon Deadman, Kevin MacPhee, and Jason Koon, the latter two tangling in a pot just now.

MacPhee opened for 900 which was called by Oscar Kroon as well as Koon in the cut off and Vítor Monteiro in the big blind.

The flop came 4♦A♠8♥ which went checked four ways. That's exactly what happened on the Q♣ turn too.

The river card was the 7♣, which Monteiro checked. MacPhee was ready with a bet of 1,300. That would get folds from Kroon and Monteiro but Koon called in between.

"Kings" announced MacPhee, sensing he was beaten. Koon nodded politely and turned over his A♥5♥ to take the pot.

MacPhee is comparatively short at the moment, with roughly 7,300. Koon meanwhile is up to more than 40,000. - SB

8G2A9023_EPT13BAR_Jason_Koon_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Jason Koon (right)

5:55pm: And we're back

Everybody is now back in action with 200/400/50 blinds and antes.--BW


5:13pm: Break time

The players are now on their second 20-minute break of the day.--BW

5:13pm: Annnnnnd...action!
Level 4 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

Let's be honest with each other here. It's the early levels of Day 1. It's not that there is no action, but in a room with 450 or so players, it's hard to be in the right spot at the right time.

Unless you find Table 47.

That's where we find, sitting side-by-side-by-side the follow: Sam Grafton, Dominik Nitsche, and Andreas Hoivold. There there be action, friends.

It's hard to knock where to start, because every hand is a hand. There is no limping. There are only raises, and thee is very little folding. There seems to be no regard exactly for the pre-flop value of a hand. It's a post-flop table, and Nitsche is looking to get involved almost every hand.

As we join the table, Nitsche has raised it to 700, Hoivoid has called, and Gregory Dupuy has decided to make it 2,100 out of the big blind. Both Nitsche and Hoivold call without blinking. The flop caomes down J♣J♠7♣. Dupuy leads for 2,500 and gets two snap-folds. It's that easy.

So, move on to the next hand where Nitsche again makes it 700. Dupuy, apparently enjoying the action, calls in the small blind. Now Byron Kaverman makes it 2,800 out of the big blind. It gets two quick folds.

Next hand...you know the deal. Nitsche makes it 700 to go, Hoivold calls, Marco Frenken calls, and Sam Grafton calls out of the big blind. THe flop drops 5♦4♣4♦. Grafton and Nitsche both check and open the door for a 900 bet from Hoivold. Frenken release his hand, and good thing he does, because Grafton is ready to raise it to 2,200. Nitsche is again happy to hold (remember, we're post-flop...), but Hoivold doesn't believe Grafton yet. On the J♠ turn Grafton leads for 4,100 and gets Hoivold to call again. The river? J♥ Now, Grafton comes for 6,200 and Hoivold calls again. Grafton is quick to flip up 4♥3♦ for the win.

On the next hand, Nitsche cannot raise to 700 because he's in the big blind, so Hoivold does it for him under the gun. That's not going to stop Grafton or Nitsche from playing out of the blinds. This one goes quick. It's a rainbow flop of babies, and Hoivold takes it down for a 700 bet.

The next hand is remarkable for a number of reasons. First, Dominik Nitsche doesn't play it. Second...well it goes like this. Frenken limps in, but Kaverman makes it 1,100 to play. Hoivold, now in the big blind, makes the call. So does Frenken. They see an all club flop: 4♣7♣A♣. Frenken stabs at it for 600 and Kaverman calls. But wait just a second, because Hoivold has check-raised to 2,000. Only Frenken calls, and it turns out badly for him. He pays on two consecutive streets to further enrich Hoivold who flopped the nuts with K♣9♣.

So, if you need action, listed for the sound of raising, follow the light of Sam Grafton's mustache, and bring your writing fingers. All the action is at Table 47. --BW

8G2A9258_EPT13BAR_Andreas_Hoivold_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Andreas Hoivold

4:50pm: Arrivals and departures
Level 4 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

More and more players from the high rolling end of the poker spectrum are arriving, but one of them just departed.
While the likes of Jason Mericer, Kevin MacPhee, Jason Koon, and Steve O'Dwyer are taking their seats, Stephen Chidwick is leaving his, and making his way to the exit. - SB

4:20pm: Hard Grafton
Level 4 - Blinds: 150/300 (50 ante)

Filling the time in these early levels is always important. Phones help those seeking a quick fix. In fact earlier I saw one player looking at this phone while getting a massage by a therapist who was also on her phone.

For other players though they prefer conversation, players like Sam Grafton, and sooner or later talk will turn to drinking.

Grafton has a new look for today. A fan of changing styles and retro-fashion, he sports the horn rims and moustache of the well-respected man of the 1960s, carried off with kind of post-modern sprezzatura.

But the conversation is about powerful drinking nations, of which Germany featured highly - or did, until Andreas Hoivold warned of the Norwegian Championship, telling a cautionary tale that held everyone's attention.

"Some strong nations involved, I'm sure" deadpanned Grafton, with the gravity of a sports analyst. Unprompted, and perhaps tellingly, he then got up to buy coffee for everyone. - SB

4:13pm: Meanwhile...table tennis!

As the Main Event grinds on to its halfway point, the action outside is decidedly faster as table tennis Olympian Darius Knight is taking on all challengers. (He's playing nice, as near as we can tell.)

8G2A8883_EPT13BAR_Darius_Knight_Neil Stoddart.jpg


4:03pm: Picking Kid Poker's brain

Today before the start of play, Daniel Negreanu offered what amounted to free lessons to anyone who wanted to show up at 10:45am. During the course of his hour-long Q&A, Negreanu focused on how smaller-stakes players could start to feel comfortable in bigger buy-in tournaments. In the coming weeks, we'll bring you some of that advice here. --BW

8G2A8421_EPT13BAR_Daniel_Negreanu_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Here is a sample of what we heard:

4:00pm: They come...and they go
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200

As the field swells to 430 Day 1A entries, there have been more than 30 bust-outs in the early levels. Among them were Christoph Vogelsang and Jason Lavalee. --BW

3:57pm: Right this way, Mr. Mercier
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200

With just a few minutes left in the third level of the day, WSOP Player of the year and Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier has arrived to play Day 1A of the Main Event. --BW

3:50pm: Hard luck story (Cont.)
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200

An update on the man we talked about earlier, you know, the player with the worst seat draw in the world? Well it just got worse.

He happens to back onto the rail, on the other side of which is the Estrellas Main Event (read updates from that here).

Inevitably railbirds breach the stretchy perimeter and are pouring in to watch. The best spot? That would be right behind our man.

He's keeping his cool, even as man of considerable proportion uses him as a back rest. Luckily floor staff is on hand to move people along, but crowd control is traditionally a losing battle, especially when there's a final table going on. - SB

3:30pm: A man called Oikonomou
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200

Sometimes it's not the way a player plays a hand that stands out, but jus the player themselves.
That would apply to Panagiotis Oikonomou.

Oikonomou is certainly easy to spot, not just for the mane of brown hair flowing down to his chest, or for the beard, or the deep tan, but for a baritone that would match the very best narrator on the Discovery Channel.

The rest of the look is made up of a long sleeve t-shirt, jeans, and a large keychain, on the end of which is a large key - seriously big - which could only really unlock a church, or maybe a prison from the middle ages.

But judging his appearance, that of someone who has been on retreat for 20 years, I'm guessing the key unlocks something else entirely. Something that is different in each of us, and that only we can discover ourselves: the Key to Happiness.

Actually no, it's just a chain. No key. Dammit. He still stands out though. - SB

3:20pm: Double Deeb!
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (Ante: 25)

Shaun Deeb has wasted no time getting things rolling here. Less than four hours into the day, he is sitting on around 65,000, more than double his starting stack. --BW

3:20pm: Still getting bigger
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (Ante: 25)

As we make our way through the third level of the day, the Day 1A field entries now numbers 426. --BW

3:05pm: What's in Jason Koon's bag?
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (Ante: 25)

As we have noted in detail before, Jason Koon is a specimen. He's the picture of health. He's an example to anyone who wants to live a healthy life. (And given his $1 million in in the SHRPO last week, he could also teach you a thing or two about poker.)

He's arrived for the Main Event with a bag full of food he's cooked for himself. It (and many hours of exercise) will save him from having a body like the members of the PokerStars Blog who have recently been subsisting on snack bar hot dogs and hotel room minibar Toblerones.

When we passed him last, he had what looked like...well, we didn't know what it looked like. A quick glance made it look as if he had a bag of crystal methamphetamine and was dipping a piece of tree bar in it. Turns out...it's a piece of nearly pure cacao and a bag of dried coconut flakes.

Million-dollar winner? Healthiest man in the room? Biggest smile you'll find? Bag of coconut flakes? That's Jason Koon, folks. --BW

2:50pm: Action resumes
Level 3 - Blinds: 100/200 (Ante: 25)

Everyone is now back in action with the first antes of the day --BW


2:30pm: Break time

Players are now on the first first break of the day. --BW

2:25pm: Big pot for Level 2

EPT Prague final table player Ilkin Amirov is not looking to play small today. We wandered up on the table to see 10,000 already in the pot on a 4♣4♦J♣5♠ board. He'd put out a 4,500 bet and Sergio Cabrera, after thinking for a bit, made the call. The river brought the J♥, and Amirov quietly tapped the table in front of him. Cabrera had just 7,850 left in front of him. He pushed it all in front of him. Amirov rose an inch out of his seat and cut the air with his hand as if to say, "Look at this guy!"

The decision took about three minutes. After resting his head on one hand and grimacing a few times, Amirov finally pushed his cards forward and gave up the chance to win a pot worth more than 25,000 in Level 2. --BW

2:10pm: Careful with those aces...
Level 2 - Blinds: 75/150

It's early, and no one wants to go broke with aces. Especially not Spain's Andres Nadal Boluda. Sitting in the small blind, he was facing a raise to 525 from France's Jeremy Sitbon. Boluda, holding two red aces, made it 1,100 to go and got the call from Sitbon. On a 8♣6♣8♥ flop, Boluda led for 1,200. In came the call.

This is where things get...well...commentary aside, this is when the 8♠ hits the turn. You know the sound a car makes when you stomp on the brakes on dry asphalt? That was Boluda, checking his eights full of aces over to Sitbon and then simply calling a bet to 1,500. Say what you will. It's Level 2, and Boluda isn't about to go broke here.

But, lo! There! On the river! It's what? By goodness, that's right. It's the A♣. Angels fly! A choir sings! The sound of timpani goes boom-boom-boom!

And Boluda checks. Yes, yes, he does.

Sitbon now has to feel pretty good. Why? Well, he's just managed to river a full house with A♠9♦. Not knowing what danger lurks across the table, unaware of the giant crocodile with the second nuts in his claws, Sitbon ignores the possibility he is crushed and puts out a 2,500 bet.

Oh, that poor man. That poor, poor man. He's never seen what he's about to see. He may never see it again.

Boluda simply called with his aces full. Yes, yes he did.--BW

2:00pm: And Leon is getting laaaaaaaaarrrrger!
Level 2 - Blinds: 75/150

The Day 1A field continues to grow. As of right now, there are 386 people signed up to play this first of two starting day flights. --BW

1:50pm: Vogelsang takes flight
Level 2 - Blinds: 75/150

What does a Super High Roller do when facing an all-in for his tournament life? He does exactly what the rest of us do. He agonises about it and hopes for the best.

This would be a non-technical account of what Christophe Vogelsang just went through, in a hand that took off and is still flying straight towards the sun.

It got started properly when Majid Noubarian three-bet to 1,100 from the button. Vogelsang was in the small blind with pocket kings, and four bet 3,200. Noubarian, who plays while holding an unlit cigarette, and occasionally takes long draws on it, five bet 8,500. Vogelsang moved his chips around a little and called. Noubarian took another heave.

The flop came 4♦6♣T♥

Vogelsang checked and Noubarian made it 5,000 to play almost immediately. Vogelsang called (although he thought the bet had been 4K not 5K).

The turn was the 9♥. Another check from Vogelsang, and another insta-decision from Noubarian who moved all-in, and waving his cigarette forward to make clear his intentions.

Vogelsang recoiled a little. "If you have the best hand in poker you win... otherwise".

What followed would take Vogelsang nearly ten minutes to conclude. A period of agonizing while Noubarian stared blankly at the board holding his cards a few millimetres off the table.

"You have ladies, or jacks..." said Vogelsang. "I don't think I can fold this."

"You have flush draw?" said Noubarian perhaps thinking he ought to at least say something.

"I told you what I have," replied Vogelsang. "I'm super strong. I can't ever fold this."

A few minutes later Vogelsang had made little progress.

"Whatever you have you played the hand very well."

Eventually the clock was called. In these cases you get the inevitable sense while watching that the clock will count down, the hand will be mucked, and you'll never find out what all the fuss was about. But with 20 seconds left on the count Vogelsang called.

Noubarian turned over A♥Q♥ for a flush draw. Vogelsang visibly perked up, showing his K♦K♥. There was just one card to come.

The river: 4♥

That made Noubarian the flush.

"Yes! Yes!" said Noubarian as if watching football on television. Vogelsang made an involuntary "sheesh" noise, and his hands went to his head. You sense he was rightly gutted.

Noubarian took a heave on his cigarette. Vogelsang made a bee-line for the door. - SB

1:45pm: International relations
Level 2 - Blinds: 75/150

It's slow going at Charlie Carrel's table, but he's passing the time chatting to Canada's Christopher Kruk. Kruk, who had a good WSOP this year and placed third in a $3,000 shootout, is apparently vexed by America's tax system which wasn't kind to him. Carrel seemed shocked by the details.

"I thought America was the land of the free," he laughed. "Land of the taxed!"--BW

1:30pm: Early action loosey-goosey
Level 2 - Blinds: 75/150

It's early, the stacks ate deep, and ace-high is going to be good a lot more often than it will be down the road, so evidenced by a hand just played at the beginning of Level 2. After satellite winner Antonio Perez limped in, Italy's Michele Guerrini raised to 1,100 out of the small blind. Both players checked through the flop and turn on a Q♣T♠4♥9♦ board. When the river came the T♥, Guerrini checked again, and Perez tossed out 2,000. Guerrini didn't think for long before making the call. Perez didn't even want to show his hand (apparently an unsuited 7 & 8), but he had to. It was, no surprise not good against Guerrini's ace-high. --BW


1:05pm: Ever wondered what the worst seat in the house looks like?
Level 1 - Blinds: 50/100

"What's the problem!?"

This was asked by a lady in the two seat of a table by the rail, who was speaking in an agitated fashion to someone she knew on the rail, and at a volume loud enough to wake the Super High Rollers.

"You're loud and you're driving everybody nuts!" said one lone voice. "I'm the only one saying it, but everyone thinks it."

This was from the player next to her, in the three seat. We won't give away his name but he looks like a man coming to terms with the fact he's been drawn into the worst seat in the house.

"I didn't have cards," she said by way of defence, both to him and to the tournament director asking her in the politest possible terms to shut the hell up. Her friend on the rail, who kept coming back and forth to talk to her, was either oblivious to protests, or simply didn't care.

You might have met one of these people before, those who go through life not caring at what volume people hear their private conservations. This couple might well be the prototype on which all the others are based.

She retook her seat, folded a hand, and then stood up directly behind the seat three player, the only position in the room closer to him that the seat she was originally in.

We have enormous sympathy for this guy, and we'll keep tabs on his progress throughout the day. If he goes deep he'll have a "in the face of adversity" story befitting ESPN. - SB

12:45pm: Different event, same face
Level 1 - Blinds: 50/100

There's not always much to say at this point in a Main Event, that point being halfway through the first level of play. As we've become accustomed to there are gaps in the field, no tables have a full complement, and pots are small. But there's always something to pick out from the crowd.

Even if it's just because they happen to be taller than most people.

Stephen Chidwick has the posture that yoga instructors promise you can have after a ten week pay up front course. But more than that, he has his game face. Actually it's most likely his normal face, because whether he's 23 minutes into the Main Event, or 23 levels into a high roller his expression barely changes. The type of event is irrelevant. It's all handled with the same intensity. It's one you'd have to say has worked well for Chidwick so far. - SB

12:28pm: Paging the following players...
Level 1 - Blinds: 50/100

While not everyone has shown up today, here are some of the people we expect to sit down for Day 1A.

Leo Fernandez, Christian Christner, Steve O`Dwyer, Pratyush Buddiga, Jason Lavallee, Adrian Mateos, Joseph Cheong, Shaun Deeb, Joe Serock, Pascal Lefrancois, Jack Salter, Chance Kornuth, Per Linde, Simon Persson, Max Silver, Andreas Hoivold, Sam Grafton, and Sam Chartier.--BW

12:15pm: Play underway...sort of
Level 1 - Blinds: 50/100

No one shows up on time anymore. The Main event started 15 minutes ago, and there are few tables with more than three or four people at them. This is Barcelona where the nights go long and morning is an abstraction. Also, we hear there was a PokerStars party last night. That can make for a slow start for anyone who might have been involved.

To fill out the seats, Charlie Carrel has positioned a teddy bear in the seat to his right. Asked if the bear has any game, Carrel responded, "He's pretty good, but I have position on him. It's be a really tough day for him."

NEIL7305_EPT13BAR_Charlie_Carrel_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Smile, Teddy!

Among the others who have managed to show up on time (and without soft toys): Stephen Chidwick, Juha Helppi, Vitaly Lunkin, Jani Sointula, and Paul Newey. --BW


11:55am: Play to begin soon

The EPT13 Main Event is scheduled to kick off in just a few minutes. Stick with us here for live coverage for the next 12 hours!--BW

8G2A8530_EPT13BAR_Dealers_Neil Stoddart.jpg

Dealers prepping for the Main Event

Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for EPT13 Barcelona and the rest of the season.

Also all the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the EPT13 Barcelona Main Event: Stephen Bartley and Brad Willis. Photography by Neil Stoddart. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter:@PokerStarsBlog

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in European Poker Tour