ESPT6: Reviewing the nightlife
It's quarter past 11 o'clock on a Saturday night in Barcelona. The sidewalks and streets are alive with life on all sides of the casino, and up above our location the floors are similarly full of light and sound and elation.
Down below where we are located the scene is similar, even for those playing out Day 2 of the Estrellas Barcelona Main Event. Those remaining have been going at it since noon, and while the table talk may not be as animated as it was earlier in the day, the atmosphere in the main poker room continues to be carnival-like, in part because of the excited (and huge) Barcelona Cup field filling most of the room.
Just now came the last break of the evening, and with two one-hour levels to go, there were 154 left in the ESPT Main. Two Team PokerStars Pros were among them -- Andre Akkari and Matthias De Meulder -- despite what might be called less ideal circumstances.
We'd been watching De Meulder nursing below average chips for some time. Having big stacks to his right and Sebastien Sabic at his table to contend with, the Belgian didn't have it so easy.
He nonetheless returned from the same stack of 170,000 or so with which he'd been battling for a while.
Akkari meanwhile was up around 500,000 a short time ago -- just a touch below the average -- but he, too, has been dealing with especially gritty foes. Pablo Gordillo sits across from him, still sporting big chips. And to Akkari's immediate right sits a familiar rival, Latin American Poker Tour Season 7 Chile Main Event champion Mario Lopez of Argentina, working with about three times the stack of his fellow LAPT star.
Among the cashers thus far, Rumen Nanev (482nd, €1,755), Martins Adeniya (430th, €1,820), Simeon Naydenov (376th, €1,915), Danyl Amri (360th, €1,915), Erik Van den Berg (354th, €1,915), Juan Manuel Pastor (343rd, €1,915), EPT7 London Main Event champion David Vamplew (268th, €2,075), and Carlos Mora Alvarez (267th, €2,075) were all sent railward before dinner.
Then since the evening meal Morten Mortensen (232nd, €2,270), EPT1 Barcelona Main Event champion Alex Stevic (217th, €2,585), Mikael Azoulay (207th, €2,585), Emil Ohlsson (197th, €2,585), Abdelkader Madjahed (187th, €2,585), and Claus Carlsen (168th, €2,940) were among the eliminated.
Players just now returned from the break, and alas for De Meulder he soon was felted, too, perhaps to walk out into that warm, vibrant evening, but not before a quick adios to Dermot Blain.
He leaves behind Blain, Akkari, and the rest, all still enlivened by the thought of the nearly half-million Euro prize awaiting the winner.
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.