These are proving long days at EPT Barcelona, and the High Roller just got longer.
Tournament staff, doing their best to marshal record breaking fields, are stuck between a rock and a hard place, the rock being the job of keeping players happy, and the hard place the 2am deadline for the EPT festival to close tomorrow night (technically Monday morning).
With 46 players left and only one more level scheduled for today, tournament staff realised they’d have to take action, because by their calculations doing nothing would involve playing until 6am.
The problem was getting a consensus from the 46 players still in the event. So staff gave them options and hoped beyond hope that one suggestion would be unanimously agreed. But these things never really go according to plan.
The suggestion was for an extra two levels to be played tonight, bringing play to an end after 3am, or shorter levels when play resumes tomorrow. Maybe the dream scenario would have involved players sitting quietly, discussing it amongst themselves, and then electing a spokesperson to voice their opinions. But the world doesn’t work that way. And instead all hell broke loose.
It was one of those situations in which everyone had a good point and it was hard to blame anyone for the circumstances, ones which emerged only because the tournament leapfrogged everyone’s expectations in terms of size. Some said it wasn’t fair to shorten levels, others that it was wrong to play even later into the night and expect play to restart at noon. One player said he had an appointment at 1.30am and didn’t want to miss it.
All these points were listened to, but a decision had to be made. TD Nick O’Hara made the call, a compromise of sorts that he went from table to table explaining. They’ll be an extra hour of play tonight, and levels tomorrow will be 55 minutes long. The five minute saving will shave some time off the day, which is already looking like a long one.
So there are a few unhappy players in the High Roller, there were some contented, and others practicing pragmatism.
“Gotta do something,” said Isaac Haxton, who joked that playing till 4.30am tonight would get things back on track.
As it stands Adrian Mateos still leads, having avoided anything that looked capable of putting a stop to his ascent. But you can follow updates through to the finish right here, with chip counts available in full on our live coverage page.
Regardless of how many make it, join us tomorrow to see this one through to a conclusion.
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Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.