EPT10 Barcelona: The High Roller explosions of Daniel Negreanu, Gerard Piqué and Ole Schemion
It was an explosive day in the EPT Barcelona High Roller with minds blown left, right and centre. Now then, we're certainly not saying that a man can't lose his temper from time to time, nor a woman for that matter, but when a brain blow-up costs you a €10,000 High Roller bullet you've got to ask yourself some questions. Daniel Negreanu is not someone afraid of asking questions, and an early outburst and exit may have lead to some introspection. But first, let's ask a couple of different questions.
Who is the Day 1 chip leader of the EPT High Roller?
Ole Schemion, whose rise to the top of the game has been high octane to say the least. Over the last year he's won more than $3m and was final table chip leader in the €50,000 Super High Roller here just a few days ago. Schemion leads with 393,600 but just behind him is - prepare to have your mind blow - Barcelona FC and World Cup winner Gerard Piqué with 308,500. The footballer had played a solid Main Event game but running up a big stack in this is quite the validation of his fledging poker skills.
How much can be won?
A lot. There's currently more than 160 €10,000 bullets in the pot, good for a million-and-a-half euro, but with registration open until the start of play tomorrow we could yet see that number swell. This single re-entry event means that you can bust once and buy back in later whenever the moment takes you. For some that means dipping their hand into a man bag straight away, for others that means they can blow off some steam, eat a bowl of lentils and regroup.
Negreanu was very much in the latter camp having had an extreme (and extremely expensive) blow up over the 'first card off the deck' rule, as detailed extensively here by Martin Harris. It was ranting Negreanu at his most vitriolic, but calm soon returned. That rule, as explained by Neil Johnson in this opinion piece that he wrote for the PokerStars Blog, looks set to continue to be a contentious one for some time. Expect tub thumping on a regular basis.
Negreanu's return was a joyous one.
"Hey buddy, I'm back!" said Negreanu to EPT floor man Nick O'Hara.
The Canadian flung his arms around the tall O'Hara who returned the hug with a wide grin. You wouldn't have thought that angry words had flown just a few hours earlier. For O'Hara who cut his teeth in lively Irish tournaments - where the clock is used as often remind to beat the rush to the bar than it is to know when the blind levels are going up - it was fairly regular stuff.
No wonder Negreanu had returned in such good spirits. He'd studied the rules and felt he had them beat. He slung the chair over his shoulder and walked around the room with it claiming that his hand could not be killed. Well, it was within arm's length.
"A player must be at his seat when the first card is dealt on the initial deal or he will have a dead hand. A player not then at his seat is dealt in, he may not look at his cards, and the hand is immediately killed after the initial deal. His blinds and antes are posted and if dealt the bring-in card in a stud-type game he will post the bring-in*. A player must be at his seat to call time. "At your seat" means within reach of your chair. This rule is not intended to condone players being out of their seats while involved in a hand. [*Note: In stud, house rules may require additional card(s) be dealt to the killed hand in certain situations.]"
-- European Poker Tour rules and regulations
Now then, don't go thinking that every pro out there is anti this rule. Most are ambivalent about it and don't see what the fuss is about. Mickey Petersen and Andrew Chen were among the shrugging high rollers. Petersen, taking on his first High Roller, suggested that perhaps there was a more simple approach.
The High Roller is a curious beast, one loaded with the biggest names and toughest players that act as a canvas to pull out the players that you don't normally see in these things. It's going to be fascinating tomorrow to see if Piqué can convert his stack into a final table. It won't be the same as getting his hand on the Ballon d'Or, but it would certainly be an achievement that he should be proud of: this is one helluva tough field. Join us Friday at midday for live coverage to see how it plays out.
Click through to live coverage of the EPT Barcelona Main Event or the EPT Barcelona High Roller. Check out all the festival results here or take a look at what happened in the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the EPT action and check out the EPTLive webcast.
Rick Dacey is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.