We are aware that the Ben Grundy and Bill Edler sharing the same patch of felt. Scattered around the room were tables of varying difficulty with pros seemingly outnumbering their amateur counterparts, an unusual dynamic at most big-buy-in events.
Europe's pros are in attendance, as expected, but North America is also well represented. While EPT events usually see just a handful of American exports, comprised mostly of PokerStars-sponsored players and qualifiers, there are a slew of them here in Barcelona. One such pro, who happens to have a very Spanish-sounding name, is J.C. Alvarado, who finished the day second in chips. Telling PL.com after the dinner break he had been playing small-ball poker for most of the day, he was nonetheless able to build his starting stack of $15,000 up to $42,075 by the time the chips went in the bag at the end of the night. While still well short of Day 1a chip leader Maurizio Carra's almost $60K, and the man who finished today in first, Guillaume De La Gorce with over $50K, it puts JC in great shape going into Day 2.
One of the most dramatic hands of the day came late in the evening with Alvarado at the center of the action. The board read J♠ 8♠ 4♦ 4♠ and Alvarado had led out at the pot. He got a call from the other player in the hand and after the river brought the 8♥, Alvarado fired an intimidating $10,000 bullet. Alvarado's opponent was facing a big decision and peeled back his cards so the players on his side of the table, and the media standing behind him, were able to see he had J-4 for the under-full. After some time in the tank he opted to let it go, no doubt fearing the over-full from JC. Alvarado did us the courtesy of showing after the pot had been pushed - nothing but Q♠ 5♥ for the busted flush draw.
A good example of why nothing's sometimes enough, to quote Eric Bana, Alvarado showed us why he is regarded as one of the fastest up-and-coming young players in the game today.
The real action is set to get underway tomorrow though, as the two halves of the field meet for the first time to exchange pleasantries and perhaps a few chips to go along with them. While there are always interesting hands on the preliminary days of these big tournaments, the events that dictate the winner rarely start to develop until later in the game. As they say: No poker tournament has ever been won on the first day.
So as always we here at PL.com implore you to come along for the ride and experience everything the WPT Spanish Championship has to offer, vicarious as that experience may be. We travel the globe and do all the hard work of actually attending the events so that you can enjoy them from the comfort of your computer. We'd hate for you to miss a thing.