All of this confusion (predicated on Spanish gaming laws that force casinos into closing their doors between the hours of 4 a.m. and 3 p.m.) could have been avoided had tournament officials opted to play the scheduled eight levels last night. Instead, we quit play after the bubble burst at 1 a.m. and went to bed early. Or stayed up and got drunk. Moot point.
Tomorrow, then, we'll see the final thirteen contenders return to action at 3:30 p.m. and play down to the final table, at which point one assumes we'll see a pause in the action for observation and reflection, after which the final table will commence and we'll play down to an eventual winner. There's probably little to no chance we'll still be searching for that champion come 3:30 a.m. tomorrow morning, but still, what if we are?
Let's put aside these troubling questions of the future for a few minutes and answer a few from the past. Specifically, how did we get to this point? What happened to the 43 other players who started the day with million-euro dreams, varying stacks of chips, two (2) drink vouchers and one (1) chair apiece? Amongst their numbers were such poker luminaries as Fabrice Soulier, Mark Vos, Dag Martin Mikkelsen and Pete Giordano. Where did they all go?
Good questions. Here are the answers:
We kicked off the day, as implied above, with 56 survivors, all of whom returned guaranteed at least €10,500 for their efforts in this tournament. Chip leader was Sweden's Mohammad Kowsarrie, who paced the field with $332,200 to his name and was followed closely by EPT2 London winner Mark Teltscher ($300,600) and Patrick Bruel ($267,000), who apparently is some sort of superstar singer in France.
Well, so, awesome. The day began. And immediately short stacks started making it rain, led by the likes of Mark Vos, who busted quickly after pinning his tournament hopes on a pair of nines against Dag Martin Mikkelsen's ace-jack of diamonds (ace on the flop), and Katja Thater, who displayed remarkable tenacity in simply making it to the money, but who ran out of gas when she ran into a surging Teltscher, who cracked her kings with a set of pocket queens and then went on to eliminate James Higgins and Daniel Dodet soon afterwards.
By the end of the day's first full level (play began with ten minutes left in level thirteen) the field had dropped to forty survivors and Pete "The Beat" Giordano was making a run at the chip lead. Giordano took advantage of a turned set of queens to take a $100,000 pot from Mohamad Kowsarrie and would continue to chip up throughout the early going.
Going the other way was venerable Italian-American pro Giovanni "John" Spadevecchia, who doubled up an opponent A-Q versus A-K and on the next hand got all of his money in the middle on a J-10-7 flop with Q-J, only to see his rival turn up 10-7 for bottom two pair and fill up on the river. J-Spads (or G-Spads, if you're Italian) earned €14,650 for his time.
From there it was dinner, with 35 players remaining, and after dinner Martin Wendt joined the ranks of the departed when Juan Maceiras, an aggressive-playing Spaniard with a penchant for checking blind, sucked-out with Q4 of clubs to Wendt's own Big Slick, crippling the Dane and leaving Javed Abrahams to seal the deal, K7 versus 74 of spades, on the very next hand.
Soon afterwards, EPT3 Barcelona champ Bjorn-Erik Glenne bade farewell to the basement, seeing his KJo fall to Aditya Agarwal's AQo on a T-2-2-5-T board. Glenne would earn €14,650 for this year's attempt, a far cry from the €691,000 he pocketed just a season ago.
Fabrice Soulier, Michael Greco and Dag Martin Mikkelsen would all fall in the ensuing rounds, earning €14,650, €16,700 and €20,900 respectively, before Pete Giordano found himself making an early exit in the biggest hand of the tournament. With eighteen players remaining, the Beat woke up with kings and was more than happy to ship his stack into the middle with Tronde Eidsvig, but found that the only man at the table who out-chipped him also had the only better starting hand - pocket aces. The aces held and the Beat was rendered railside, while Eidsvig was suddenly stacking $900,000 in tournament chips on the felt before him.
Eidsvig would hold onto those chips until the waning moments of the evening, when he would attempt to bluff Adam Junglen off of a pot by putting the young American to a decision for his tournament life with a preflop all-in. Junglen called with A♣ T♦ and found Eidsvig holding naught but Q♦ J♠, and after the board brought no drama had earned himself a $600,000 pot.
Just about then, tournament organizers announced we'd play another five hands before the lights went out for the evening, and though Kees Alblas got himself excused early when he tried to put a move on Sander Lylloff with T6o, the field would still remain at a rather worrisome thirteen by the time the final buzzers had sounded.
Thus, as mentioned above, we'll return a little early tomorrow and attempt to play down to the winner, with the chip leader being Austria's Nickolaus Jedlicka ($879,000) and his runner-up being Finland's Mika Paasonen ($715,000). Action will resume at 3:30 p.m. CEDT (9:30 a.m. EDT) and continue until we have a winner or it's 4 a.m., whichever comes first. If we haven't established a champion by then, heaven knows what John Duthie will do, but we strongly suggest he not consult Joy Taylor for guidance in any case.
PokerListings.com will not leave Barcelona until the last card is dealt and the last chip is shipped, so rest easy knowing that your live update needs are in the competent hands of trained professionals. We'll see you tomorrow.