ESPT6 Barcelona: A festival for frequent fliers
Conversations among those of us already here for the kickoff festival of Season 12 of the European Poker Tour confirm once more there are many ways to get to Barcelona. Some of us flew from the States through Miami or Philadelphia. Others had journeys from South America or elsewhere in Europe, taking them through stops in Madrid or Frankfurt or Paris. And a few had direct flights here before shuttling from Barcelona-El Prat Airport to the casino on the coast.
Speaking of multiple flights -- and many ways to get where you want to go -- the €300 Barcelona Cup is in full swing this afternoon, where they are more than halfway through the first of six different Day 1 flights scheduled over the next four days. A total of 142 players ponied up for Day 1a, with Day 1b going off at 8 p.m. this evening.
The €1K Estrellas Main Event has multiple flights, too -- three of them, scheduled for today, tomorrow, and Friday. With registration now closed for Day 1a of the ESPT, the big board is showing 592 entrants for this first Day 1 flight, with 390 of them still with chips a couple of levels shy of the dinner break.
Russia's Kirill Ivanov appears an early chip leader in the ESPT Barcelona Main, sitting behind nearly 100,000 chips at the moment or close to four times the starting stack.
Things are flying along more quickly over in the Barcelona Cup (with its shorter levels), with less than half of the 142 who started Day 1a still with chips.
We've seen Erik Van den Berg, Joseph El Khoury, Sabina Hiatullah, Christian Grundtvig, and Jamila von Perger among the swifty-narrowing field over there.
Liliya Novikova of Team PokerStars Pro Online -- who plays as "Liay5" on PokerStars -- is in action in the Barcelona Cup as well, still alive as players continue to fall.
The plan there -- and for each of the Day 1 flights -- will be to play until they reach 15% of the flight's starting field, which means 22 players for Day 1a and likely puts that flight concluding right around the time Day 1b begins at 8 p.m.
That also means everyone making it to the end of a Day 1 flight will be making the money, in effect creating six cash bubbles punctuating each of the flights. Meanwhile anyone busting a given flight has the option to enter another one, and will continue to have that choice open to them until the six starting flights run out.
Other events are getting going as well now, including a €1K NLHE turbo where Kevin MacPhee and Jack Salter are both playing, having drawn seats right next to each other, MacPhee hailing from Idaho and Salter from London.
Like others, those two have traversed many miles to get here. And like all of us, they've many more flights to go as well.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.