EPT10 Barcelona: Sandor Demjan steals late Super High Roller lead on opening day
After the waiting the tenth season of the European Poker Tour finally got underway today . A record breaking Estrellas main event ramped-up the excitement earlier this week, but the Super High Rollers heralded the proverbial ribbon cutting, as the summer break came to a close.
Season 9 was book-ended by Super High Rollers and Season 10 will likely be no different. The usual cast was in town and in their seats at the noon bell, intending to mimic the work of Dan Smith 12 months ago, who got his season off to a start worth more than a million dollars.
The tournament room
To do that the winner, whoever that proves to be, will have to climb past the type of players used to climbing past players - a field of champions, bracelet winners, the successful, and everyone in between.
Chief among those at the close tonight were Samdor Demjan, Fabian Quoss, Daniel Negreanu and Jean-Noel Thorel.
Demjan, the former Hungarian "Man of the Year", took everyone by surprise to grab top spot, taking chips from Negreanu and then sent Igor Kurganov to the rail set over set to take the lead with a stack worth more than a million.
Quoss, the immaculate German, kept in touch of the leaders after eight levels and emerged out front at the close, leaving himself in a strong position coming back for day 2 tomorrow. In contrast - in appearance at least - was Frenchman Thorel.
While Quoss's parting was a thing of Praxiteles steadfastness, Thorel, who sports a more laissez-faire arrangement, worked his way back from an all-or-nothing pot earlier in the day to finish within the top five.
Negreanu, for his part sporting an almost electrified scalp, was not far behind. He got off to a good start and kept it that way, featuring predominantly on the TV table. A few dubious conversational topics aside, his was a day was without blemish.
Elsewhere there were good days for Sandor Demjan and Steve O'Dwyer. O'Dwyer led at this stage of the event 12 months ago, but predicted Dan Smith would take the crown. For his part O'Dwyer went on to win the Grand Final eight months later. We'll try to get the Oracle predictions for this year before play tomorrow.
The full list of the end of day counts can be found on our live coverage page, as well as details from the entire day's play, which passed by like any other Super High Roller, in a calm and relaxed fashion at odds with the amount of money at stake. The 40-plus survivors will return tomorrow for more.
Throughout the day there were stories from behind and beyond the rail. While the queue for the side events reached Space Mountain proportions, Daniel Negreanu was talking mobile phones with Sarah Grant, who also set out to discover Who is David Benefield?.
The line for the side events or the Harrods sale?
That brings the opening day of EPT10 Barcelona to a close. You can fill the time in between this and the next day with an EPTLive Instagram competition.
Click through to live coverage of the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller. 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.