While the picture inside the Casino Gran Madrid changes, the picture outside remains the same. Were it not for the fact that the sun has an obligation to shine elsewhere, this part of the country would remain in permanent sunshine. Drawing back the curtains each morning unwraps a sun drenched, sun scorched, yellowed landscape of spikey trees, stray cats and abandoned out houses. Newly built housing estates and industrial blocks sit conspicuously alongside, looking a bit unfinished and with dusty old sedans parked outside.
Through all this is the motorway. Not many people seem to want to stop. Alongside the six lanes is nothing more audacious than a couple of hotels, two service stations (one open, the other boarded up) and of course the casino.
In between is wasteland; patches of ground that once someone thought would make a good place for a building of some sort, before changing their mind. But not before old bits of plastic tubing, rubble and dust had been delivered, leaving a picture for Bruce Springsteen to write about, with magic rat taking a stab at romance with barefoot girls.
Now, all that sits in a kind of permanent stasis; there’s only so much sun you can let burn your skin, only so much petrol you can put in an old Dodge, only so much dust your eyes can peek through. You can, however, fill your boots at the casino.
Outside the Casino Gran Madrid
That’s what the remaining 264 players will be doing today as they return for Day 2 of the European Poker Tour main event, swapping the cut priced out of season warmth and exhaust outside, for the fragranced luxury of the casino lobby inside.
Yesterday, a field swollen with talent eclipsed its predecessor, to make for a field of 477 in total. They’re in for a slice of a €2,313,450 prize pool that will award €545,000 to the winner at the final table on Saturday. But there’s some way to go before they reach that point.
Last night Juan Navarette bagged up the chip lead with a smile and returns today with the advantage. It will likely be fleeting, as all chip leads are, but that will be the jump off point. They’ll be five or at most six levels to play through before play ends for the night and players pick their rendezvous for the night.
You can find a list of all of today’s chip counts on our live coverage page. Play starts at 12 noon.