EPT10 Barcelona: Quixotes by the hundreds

Tournaments. By definition, the odds are long, especially in a large field tourney like the EPT Barcelona Main Event.

Last year's winner here, Mikalai Pobal, claimed a head-spinning €1,007,550 first prize for his €5,300 investment. But to get there he had to best a field of 1,082, the largest of EPT Season 9.

Some may rightly call the idea of trying to topple a thousand-plus players unrealistic -- a vain venture, an impractical investment, a quixotic quest.

So much tilting at windmills.

But more than five hundred Don Quixotes have come out for today's Day 1A, and expectations are we'll see more tomorrow, perhaps even enough to challenge for the largest non-PCA Main Event field ever of 1,240 set at Sanremo in Season 6.

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Coming to Spain has put us in mind of Don Quixote, Miguel de Cervantes Saavedra's great 16th-century novel. Cervantes was born in Alcalá de Henares near Madrid, about a five-hour trip from the country's east coast and Barcelona. That's by car, of course, as the journey by horse -- or by Quixote's withered nag, Rocinante -- would take considerably longer.

Cervantes's novel tells the story of an addle-brained farmer who after reading a library full of books of chivalry fashions himself a knight errant patterned after those about whom he has read.


Don Quixote attacking a windmill, as illustrated by Gustav Doré

But Quixote lives in a modern world, not a medieval one. The inns he visits are not castles. The peasant farm girl to whom he pledges his undying loyalty is not a transcendent beauty. The shepherds and others he encounters aren't fellow knights, neither allies nor enemies.

And the windmills he decides to attack early on aren't giants, either.

Or are they?

The character and his story stand for many things to many people, with Quixote's willingness to dream of a reality other than the one in which he exists -- and fashion an identity for himself that is grander than is actually the case -- representing a kind of romantic ideal.

Sure, Quixote isn't very realistic. But where's the fun in that?

"I know who I am and who I may be, if I choose," Quixote famously explains early in his story, suggesting a level of self-awareness that most of his actions do not.

Not too unlike the thinking of the hundreds gathering in the Casino Barcelona for this week's EPT Main Event, all imagining themselves champions.

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.

Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.

Martin Harris
@hardboiledpoker in Main Event