EPT10 Barcelona: Once they were random dudes -- how to become a "notable"
Poker reporting is riddled with vague references to a certain shadowy figure that lurks in the corners of the world's tournament rooms. If you look close enough you'll see them, bit part characters whose role is crucial but whose identity is difficult to fathom. Often all we know is their gender. They are the "unknown players" that you'll find littered across major events, and the reporting thereof.
Frankly, it's time these guys are saluted for the vital part they play. For it is they that become the notables of tomorrow, listed on chip counts first instead of not at all, with links to a player page somewhere rather than a faceless entry on the Hendon Mob database. No more taps on the shoulder for your name. No need to keep that player ID card so visible.
So when does an "unknown guy" become a "notable player? The answer is simple: when they win something.
Actually it's not that black and white, some good results will help. But as far as immediate promotion goes there's nothing like a 24-carat title to catapult you into the limelight, and the tournament room this week is full of them.
Like Jason Mercier for instance, a textbook "random dude" at the start of EPT4 Sanremo. He was first name on the chip sheet at the Grand Final a week later, and he's stayed there ever since.
From random dude...
In Season 8 Martin Schleich made his transition, albeit at about 4am, from EPT min-casher to Barcelona champion. Ivan Freitez did the same in the Madrid Grand Final the previous season - from complete obscurity to winner of €1.5 million, although he pulled off the rare "and back again."
Zimnan Ziyard was just another number before taking down EPT Loutraki in Season 8. Just a year ago Mikalai Pobal, rested his first title from Ilari Sahamies , turning any reference to the Belorussian from a player Id number to an actual name - the highest accolade.
Welcome back Mr Pobol
It doesn't always work. Sometimes fate conspired to make even winners seem anonymous. For some reason the name Kent Lundmark never stuck, despite the performance he put in to win here in Barcelona. We can only apologise for future shoulder taps.
You only have to win, sir
There are more of these notables, some of whom yet to win their first title but well known for a deep run or two. We do our best to remember their names, get them in the public domain, but there are lots to remember. So if you're tired of that tap on the shoulder and questions about who you are and where you come from -that means you Anton Morgenstern - we have one piece of advice. Win.
Click through to live coverage of the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller and the EPT Barcelona Main Event. Check out all the festival results here. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the EPT action and check out the EPTLive webcast.
Stephen Bartley is a PokerStars Blog reporter.