EPT13 Barcelona: Julian Stuer leads as €50K Super High Roller goes wild

The buy-in: €50,000. The players: a collection of the richest and fiercest poker beasts from around the world.

In all, the cage collected 91 entries, the equivalent of €4.55 million. By the time the night was over, fewer than 60 players of the starting 73 remained, and the king of this Spanish poker jungle was none other than Germany's Julian Stuer.

Sitting on a stack of 1,350,000, Stuer had bettered the average stack by more than three times.

It was, in a word, wild, and it's nowhere near over. In fact, it's barely even begun.

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Julian Stuer

This place is a zoo

A sightseeing tour of Barcelona is no small undertaking. On a bus, it can take the better part of an afternoon. On foot, it will take days and lots of water. The beach and marina are just the beginning. Architecture of every sort is around every new corner. There are cathedrals, graveyards, skyscrapers, bazaars, and tapas joints as far as the eye can see.

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If you don't feel like walking around with blistered feet the next day, however, the nearest sight to see outside the casino is the Barcelona Zoo. A two minute walk will offer you everything from brown bears to buffalo, cheetahs to chimps, and penguins to porcupines, all for the low cost of €19.99. They are animals, kings of the jungle, masters of the savannah, monsters of the tundra, all collected in one place for the amusement of the viewing public. Over the course of a warm afternoon, you can study all the animals and get a sense for how they might act but for the whole "living life in an enclosure" thing.

At the zoo, a bear clutches its lunch between two huge paws and fights its container for every bite. A giant hippo sits just under the water, just waiting to break the surface and pounce when the time is right. A curious chimp sits on a tree stump scratching his head at the crazy people watching from the other side of the fence.

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If you look closely enough, you can start to see some parallels between the wild kingdom across the street and the beasts of the European Poker Tour €50,000 Super High Roller. The tournament is a wild kingdom in itself. Here, the EPT has assembled the greatest curiosities in poker, the carnivores, omnivores, and herbivores and, in a draconian bit of cruelty, unleashed them all on each other. Some come out swiping, others lay in wait, and still others scratch their heads like apes who can't quite figure it all out. It's poker's zoo, and it's amazing.


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Feeding time

As the day began, the staff announced that all the people who had paid their €50,000 to get in would have free access to the snack bar. It seemed a small concession (no pun intended) for the people who had put up the price of a decent car for a chance at a big win. While some indulged, most maintained an appetite for the main course.

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Feeding time

In reality, in this zoo the beasts feed themselves. They sow their field with €50,000 and hope there is a lot more to reap at the end of the day. For more than a few people, that means buying in more than once. Turkey's Akin Tuna (insert your fowl or fish joke here) bought in three times in the first eight hours of the day. Others (including Ivan Luca, Mustapha Kanit, Anton Astapau, Vladimir Troyanovskiy, Guanfei Zhu, Sam Greenwood, Max Silver, Christoph Vogelsang, and Daniel Dvoress) bought in twice.

Meanwhile, Jason Mercier is here with his family and hoped to finish the day with a beastly stack. Instead, he busted just before the end of the night after flopping two pair but getting outdrawn on the turn. He still has the option to re-buy before the start of play tomorrow should he feel like forking over €50,000 for around 40 big blinds.

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Jason Mercier

On our visit to the zoo, the lions and tigers stayed deep in their caves and didn't venture out into the sun. It was the same today for Daniel Negreanu. He woke today feeling ill and didn't make it to the casino for the Super High Roller. Earlier he suggested he would still show up and register before the start of play tomorrow. His intention, he said, was to "crush it anyway."

For those who showed up and managed to survive, here are some notable counts from the remaining field.

Jean-Noel Thorel - 1,075,000
Fedor Holz - 1,150,000
Timothy Adams - 877,000
Adrian Mateos - 566,000
Juha Helppi - 565,000
Markus Goeller - 565,000
Erik Seidel - 552,000
Nick Petrangelo - 496,000

If you'd like to look back through all of our live updates today, you can do that by clicking this link: EPT13 Barcelona: €50K Super High Roller live updates.

You can find the full chip counts for Day 1 of this event over in the black box on the right of this page. We'll update that link once the tournament staff provides the counts to us.


What's to come

Sunday brings Day 2 of the Super High Roller, where play and our coverage will begin at 12:30pm local time. Barring any further illness, we expect Negreanu to join us then.

Meanwhile, coverage of the Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event (live updates here) will pick up at noon for Day 3 of that tourney.

Join us then for full coverage as both events work their way down to a final table. Until then, goodnight from Barcelona...and watch out for the bears.


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is the PokerStars Head of Blogging. Follow him on Twitter: @BradWillis.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in Super High Roller