PokerStars EPT Barcelona Main Event Shatters Attendance Record; Chimkovitch Leads
Over the years, the PokerStars European Poker Tour Barcelona has always been the most popular EPT-stop. It should come as no surprise it's the one that has been featured on the calendar every single year.
Two years ago, the record for biggest EPT Main Event was set at 1,785. The 2018 edition shattered that record as no fewer than a staggering 1,903 total entries of €5,300 each were made in total, with 1,305 of them coming from Day 1b. That is, in part, because players are allowed a single reentry this year.
Late registration will be open up until the start of Day 2, which means the number is expected to rise even higher. While the total prize pool and payouts will be announced shortly after the start of Day 2, one thing is for certain: the winner on Sunday, September 2 will walk away with a life-changing seven-figure payday.
As expected, Day 1b featured a who's who of poker, with all of the big dogs from Europe duking it out with some of the overseas stars to set the first step towards the payday of a lifetime. After ten levels of 60 minutes each, it was Anthony Chimkovitch from Belgium who led the 535 survivors and bagged the overall Day 1 lead with 390,000 in chips.
Chimkovitch is no stranger when it comes to performing in this event: in 2016, he finished in 20th place, and last year, he ended up in 114th. With 390,000 after the first day, the young Belgian has set himself up quite nicely to make the third time the charm. Pivotal towards Chimkovitch's big lead was a pot against Pierre Merlin in the late stages of the day. Merlin had flopped the nut straight, but Chimkovitch turned a higher straight to stack the Frenchman for heaps as the day drew to a close.
The only other person to cross the 300,000-threshold was Patrick Clarke (321,500), who was able to get himself in some distance of Chimkovitch after a late-night surge. Clarke, already one of the bigger stacks, held king-five of diamonds in a four-bet pot and shoved the turn on an ace-trey-four-eight board with two diamonds. His opponent called with ace-king but Clarke rivered a diamond to stack up to over 300,000.
Top 5 in Chips After Day 1b of the PokerStars EPT Barcelona Main Event
|5||Justin Ligeri||United States||221,300|
Other top stacks on Day 1b belonged to Fabien Motte (233,000), Pavel Plesuv (221,400), Justin Ligeri (221,300), Dominik Panka (217,000), Andres Korn (212,600), and Niall Farrell (209,000).
Defending champion Sebastian Malec (78,000) and last year's PokerStars Championship winner Sebastian Sorensson (18,800) both advanced as well.
After Fatima Moreira de Melo had advanced on Day 1a, the vast majority of Team Pokerstars Pro showed up for Day 1b. Nearly all of them were able to find a bag. The team was led by online star Jaime Staples, who bagged 186,000 to find himself back in the higher echelons of the leaderboard. Andre Akkari (71,300), Randy Lew (65,500), Maria Konnikova (57,500), Muskan Sethi (51,200), Leo Fernandez (49,200), Jeff Gross (34,700), and Daniel Negreanu (31,700) also advanced. Celina Lin didn't make it through.
With 535 out of 1,305 advancing, there were plenty of those that had to wave the white flag in their quest to claim a share of one of the juiciest prize pools in Europe. Among those that busted, were Ludovic Geilich, Paul Berende, Barny Boatman, Michal Mrakes, Ari Engel, Anthony Zinno, Joep van den Bijgaart, and golf star Sergio Garcia, who each fired either one or both of the allowed bullets in this event to no avail.
Today, cards will be back in the air at 12 p.m. local time for the second of six days, which will feature five levels of 90 minutes each. The tension in the room will be palpable right off the bat, as one of the three $30,000 Platinum Passes up for grabs in this tournament will be awarded. With the Crazy Pineapple Flipout, everyone has an equal shot to punch their ticket to the Bahama's. Win all the flips? The Platinum Pass is yours!
Day 2 will also mark the start of the PokerStars TV coverage. The cards-up live stream will be airing on Wednesday and every subsequent day, starting at 12:30 p.m. (with hole cards up, on a security delay).
PokerNews covers the biggest PokerStars EPT Main Event of all time from start to finish, so make sure to come back tomorrow to not miss any of the action from the vibrant Casino Barcelona, where good times are shared. Cheers!
All photos in this article courtesy of Neil Stoddart / PokerStars.