EPT10 Barcelona: Watching the super high railers
One thing dominates the tournament area at Casino Barcelona today. It's not the Super High Roller event, nor is it the new look décor that has smartened the place up a bit. It's the long queue, three-men wide and stretching from the tournament area back to the casino floor. It has been there for more than two hours now.
Unlike Space Mountain, there are no signs informing those in line how long they have left to wait. An hour ago the man in the Panama hat was by the press room door. Now he's nearer the refreshment stand but still has some way to go before getting a ticket. Actually that's the only thing going for the people right at the back of the line - they still have no clue how long they're going to be standing there.
"Two day wait from here"
They're here though because the prospect of being part of the new season is too much of a draw to pass up. The signs of its popularity were already apparent yesterday, when staggering numbers arrived to play the Estrellas Poker Tour main event, immediately making it the biggest freezeout event in PokerStars history. Today, it seems the defeated in that event seek revenge in this one.
Eclipsing all of them for stature though are the Super High Rollers, currently numbering 40, who play amid the massed fields in the tournament room, looking quite ordinary, rather than the type of folk who stump up €50,000 at will. At least they didn't have to queue. In Season 9 Super High Rollers started and ended the season. Season 10 has begun in much the same way.
Dan Smith, who took down the Season 9 opener, is among the field today, along with the usual suspects, each glowing with wealth and positive energy. Smith was unstoppable here 12 months ago, extending a period of "unstoppable" that included three side event wins in Monte Carlo that year as well as the $100,000 challenge crown at the Aussie Millions.
Here his task will be the same. Steer a safe path past the best in the game and win big at the final table on Sunday -- which is about the time when the three guys who just joined the back of the side event queue will get to the front.