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ESPT7 Barcelona: Gabor Szabo zooms to Main Event Day 1C lead; overall leader for Day 2

They've made it through three huge days -- the three Day 1 starting flights -- of the Estrellas Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event. At the close of Day 1C it was Hungary's Gabor Szabo zooming to the top of the counts, passing everyone here today and who played Wednesday and Thursday, too, to claim the overall chip lead with 454,000.

EPT13_Barcelona-395_Gabor Szaboa.jpg

Gabor Szabo

Szabo's late surge pushed him ahead of the Frenchmen Hilal Merabet and his stack of 410,000.

EPT13_Barcelona-390_Hilal Merabet.jpg

Hilal Merabet

And Louis Salter surged forward at night's end as well to end with 378,000, joining those two as having passed the previous chip leader, Benny Glaser, who will be coming back to 360,000 tomorrow.

Louis Salter-EPT-13-Barcelona-2533.jpg

Louis Salter

Day 1C saw 1,755 players take part, and while the overall totals need to be confirmed that should take the total field for this event to more than 3,450 players. That's uniques, by the way, as the tournament is not a re-entry. That also tops last year's record mark of 3,292 players.

Mills Leon (293,000), Tim Hickling (279,500), and Sjors Harmens (270,000) were also among those bagging above average stacks. Chris Moorman (143,500) and Sofia Lovgren (143,500) didn't badly for themselves today, either.

A total of 449 players survived Day 1C, meaning 862 players will come together to play tomorrow's Day 2. Click here for a full list of chip counts from the end of Day 1C.  Also, here is a combined list of all 862 players' chip counts heading into Day 2.

It'll be another early start at 10am, and that's when we'll be back, too, to continue bringing you start-to-finish coverage of this ESPT Main Event.

Come back then and we'll continue to find out together who will become the next ESPT Main Event champion. Until then, see you mañanas! --MH

10:01pm: Day 1C concludes

They've reached the finish line for Day 1C, and it looks like Gabor Szabo might have edged ahead of everyone -- including the previous first flight leader Benny Glaser -- by finishing with well over 400,000.

Back in a bit with a recap of the day and a report on all those big stacks. --MH 

9:46pm: Stop the clock
Level 13: Blinds 1,200/2,400, Ante 400

The clock has now been paused for the last three hands of the night. --JS

9:36pm: Salter can't falter
Level 13: Blinds 1,200/2,400, Ante 400

Louis Salter just knocked out another player after Tobias Lundgren went all-in with his 7♠7♦ versus Salter's A♦K♦, but the board ran out [Jj]9♣8♠K♣A♣ to give Salter two pair and the hand.

Salter is up around 360,000 now, challenging the leaders as the night winds to a close. --MH

9:23pm: Heimiller time
Level 13: Blinds 1,200/2,400, Ante 400

Dan Heimiller was one of the very last players to take a seat in this event -- we only spotted him sitting down at the start of the night's penultimate level. But he's doing what he can to spin a relatively shallow stack upwards.

Just now he watched a player raise to 5,000 from middle position and the small blind call, and he called as well from the big blind. The flop came 7♣9♠8♣ and it checked to the raiser who c-bet for 8,000, with both opponents calling. Then after the 5♠ turn card it checked to Heimiller who fired his 19,000 or so all-in, and the others folded.

Heimiller has more than 50,000 now, twice the starting stack though still well below the average. --MH

EPT13_Barcelona-393_Dan Heimiller.jpg

Hi, Mr. Heimiller

9:20pm: Last level
Level 13: Blinds 1,200/2,400, Ante 400

We've just entered the final level of Day 1C. The race to bag as many chips as possible starts now.

Remember - the man and stack size they're all chasing for the Day 2 lead is that of Benny Glaser, who ended Day 1A with 360,000. --JS


9:15pm: See what I mean?
Level 12: Blinds 1,000/2,000, Ante 300

A few minutes ago Joao Vieira was our chip leader with 245,000. Now, after winning a huge pot, it's Siramarg Danielyan with 260,000.

This kind of thing happens right up until the end of play, so following the leader gets harder and harder! I didn't catch the hand, but I arrived in time to see the amount of chips the French lady had to stack. A lot. --JS

9:04pm: Vieira vaulting ahead
Level 12: Blinds 1,000/2,000, Ante 300

Over the last couple of hours they have been gradually moving tables out of the main poker room up to the secondary room, opening space for other side events as the festival gets going in earnest. At one of those 25 tables in action in that other room is Joao Vieira, who continues to accumulate chips at a rapid pace.

We just caught another hand in which Vieira raised from late position, saw both blinds call, then took down the pot with a flop continuation bet. He's playing around 245,000 right now, a stack that looks to be the biggest of those in the secondary room, and perhaps bigger than anyone's in the entire Day 1C field at the moment. 

Vieira finished Season 11 of the European Poker Tour runner-up to Dzmitry Urbanovich for Player of the Year, then finished ninth in the POY race for Season 12. From the looks of things he's hitting the ground running here at the beginning of Season 13 as well.

Perhaps if Vieira wins a few more pots and further in front, he'll allay those bloggers' nerves my colleague Jack was describing just below. --MH

8:58pm: Chip leader nerves
Level 12: Blinds 1,000/2,000, Ante 300

As we approach the end of the night, us bloggers and photographers go on a quest to find out who the chip leaders are. That means we can take photos of them and find out who they are for our daily recaps and press releases. But right now, I have to admit, I'm a little scared.


It's going to be a long night. --JS

8:52pm: Meet the new big stack
Level 12: Blinds 1,000/2,000, Ante 300

"Raise to 47,200," said the dealer. That was all it took to make me stick around and see what was going down.

Turns out we'd reached the end of a 2♥T♠4♠[6♠8♦ board, and one player (who escaped before identification) was all-in for around 8,000. Two players had built a decent-sized side pot, and those were Mohamed El Berrak and Jouni Huovila. The former had checked to the latter, and Huovila put in a 17,500 bet. And here's where the raise came in.

Huovila had a big decision for a large chunk of his stack, while the all-in player was waiting to get out of there as if he knew his time was numbered. And it was; Huovila called and flashed pocket deuces for a flopped set, but El Berrak had A♠K♠ for the nut flush.

El Berrak has roughly 212,000 now and that might put him among the chip leaders right now. --JS

8:42pm: Starting stacks becoming ending stacks
Level 12: Blinds 1,000/2,000, Ante 300

The all-ins are increasing, of course, along with increases to the blinds and antes. Players began with 25,000 -- 250 big blinds back in Level 1. But now that same 25,000-ish stack is becoming an ending stack for many.

For example, just now Jaco Verloop open-pushed his 25,000 or so from the cutoff with 9♦9♣, but unfortunately for him ran into Denis Strebkov sitting in the small blind with K♣K♥. The board came 2♥6♥T♠3♥5♥, and Verloop is out. 

Strebkov is up to 138,000 now. --MH


8:11pm: One more break

They've reached the end of Level 11 and players are now taking the last 20-minute break of the night. They'll return and play two more 45-minute levels, then Day 1C will be done. --MH

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8pm: Two big pots, back to back
Level 11: Blinds 800/1,600, Ante 200

I found myself at the biggest action table in the room just now. Two big pots played out back to back, so let's get down to it:

Luis Jaikel opened under the gun to 3,600 and it folded around to Narcis-Gabriel Nedelcu on the button. He made the call, as did Francisco Benitez in the big blind. The three saw an A♦3♠3♥ flop and Jaikel continued for 7,300 after Benitez checked to him. Both would call that bet, taking us to the 5♣ turn. After Benitez checked again, Jaikel slowed down and checked too. That let Nedelcu in to take a shot with a 13,000 bet, leaving himself 22,500 behind. Benitez got out the way, but Jaikel check-raised it up to 40,000. Nedelcu laid his hand down and onto the next one we went.

Now Hilal Merabet opened to 4,000 only for Alexandru Cristian Stoian to jam for 31,600. Nedelcu called off his last 22,500 too and when it got back to Merabet he also called.

Merabet - J♥T♥
Stoian - 9♦9♣
Nedelcu - T♣T♦

At one point everyone was ahead in the hand. Nedelcu led to begin with, but Merabet led after the Q♥J♣3♠ flop, pairing his Jack. But then Stoian took the lead after the 9♠ turn gave him a set. But THEN the 8♦ river gave both Merabet and Nedelcu a straight! Stoian made a quick exit and the others chopped it up. --JS

7:49pm: No chips and no chair
Level 10: Blinds 800/1,600, Ante 200

"Don't worry... it can happen!"

So said Vegard Froshaug's tablemate by way of encouragement. It was an abbreviated version of the old "chip-and-a-chair" pep talk, delivered after Froshaug lost all but 1,400 of his stack with A♣Q♥ versus the K♥K♦ of Ruben Cortes Estaban.

Froshaug nodded in response, then after a Cristian Nogales Bravo open on the next hand committed those last chips. A third player got involved and stuck around until Bravo bet him out on the river with the board showing 4♦4♣K♠2♠4♥.

Froshaug had a full house with 3♥2♦, but Bravo's was better with K♥9♥, and another player has hit the rail. --MH


7:32pm: Boeree chipping up nicely
Level 10: Blinds 600/1,200, Ante 200

Not long ago Team Pro Live Boeree was approaching the danger zone (mainly because she only started the tournament with 25,000). Well, she no longer has to worry as in her short tournament life so far she's managed to chip up to just over 45,000.

She just won a pot, too. She opened to 2,500 and got one caller. The flop came down 7♠9♥2♣ and Boeree's 3,000 c-bet took it down. --JS

7:23pm: Hoivold doesn't fold, hand doesn't hold
Level 10: Blinds 600/1,200, Ante 200

After a cutoff raise, Andreas Hoivold looked down at Q♦J♦ on the button and called, then winced a little when he saw Xixiang Luo reraise for 22,100 from the small blind. It folded back to the original raiser who got out of the way, and Hoivold thought about those big, promising suited connectors.

"I don't want to fold," he grinned. And he didn't. 

Luo had 8♣6♣, which meant Hoivold could win the pot if his better hand could hold. But the board ran out 5♦7♦6♥5♣4♥ to add up to a straight for Luo, enabling him to double-up.

Hoivold has about 56,000 now while Luo bumps up over 45,000. --MH

EPT13_Barcelona-284_Andreas Hoivold.jpg

Andreas Hoivold

7:20pm: One more big stack
Level 10: Blinds 600/1,200, Ante 200

You can add Joao Vieira to the top of our big stack list. He must have just won a doozy because he's now sitting with 160,000 - enough for the lead right now. --JS

EPT13_Barcelona-342_Joao Vieira.jpg

Vieira ascending

7:10pm: McAllister takes a late seat
Level 10: Blinds 600/1,200, Ante 200

Phil McAllister is one of the many late comers that got into this event as an alternate, and the fact that he still has an around-25,000 stack suggests not much has happened for him yet.

EPT13_Barcelona-381_Phillip McAllister.jpg

McAllister helping to Phil out the field

You might remember Mr. McAllister for the royal flush hand he had at the PCA Main Event this year, where he eventually finished third for $356,020. Check it below:

He also had a great summer, winning his first WSOP bracelet in the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Shootout event for $267,720.

In the one hand I've caught him in so far, the flop showed 3♠7♠7♦ and Moises Rodriguez checked to McAllister. He led out for 5,000 which Rodriguez matched, so the dealer burned and turned the 9♥. Now both checked. The river came the T♠ and Rodriguez's bet of 5,400 got McAllister to give it up. --JS

6:51pm: Surveying the stacks
Level 10: Blinds 600/1,200, Ante 200

Among players who've made it through nine-plus levels today, those who have managed to spin their 25,000-chip starting stacks up to four, five, or almost six times that amount earn spots at the top of the leaderboard.

Of course, there are nearly 1,000 players still with at least some chips. But we can share a best estimate of who is doing especially well with the latter levels of the evening left to go:

Patrick Serda - 148,000
Sebastian Delorean - 142,000
Sjors Harmens - 140,000
Jan Dentler - 137,000
Ivan Zhechev - 135,000
Marian Dinu - 132,000
Stefan Petkovic - 130,000
Oliver Hede - 130,000
Toni Bosch - 128,000
Jose Antonio Bordas Neriz - 125,000
Darryll Fish - 125,000
Tomaczak Przemyslaw - 120,000
Chris Moorman - 105,000

EPT13_Barcelona-374_Patrick Serda.jpg

Patrick Serda


6:15pm: Break time

Having reached the end of Level 9, players are off now on a 20-minute break. --MH

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6:13pm: Board goes Blay's way
Level 9: Blinds 500/1,000, Ante 100

Jesse Blay opened from middle position for 2,000, a player behind him made it 5,500, then Sulaiman Sesay reraise-pushed a short stack from the big blind. Blay reraised over that to push out Sesay, then turned over A♠K♥ while Sesay showed T♠T♥.

The K♠9♣2♦ flop immediately swung things Blay's way, and after the 6♦ turn and 2♣ river Sesay was knocked out. Blay sits with close to 70,000 now. --MH

6:08pm: Cats have nine lives; Kitty has two birthdays
Level 9: Blinds 500/10,000, Ante 100

As the final table of the €10K single re-entry is on dinner break, Kitty Kuo (one of those finalists) and her boyfriend Russell Thomas had time to pop into the main tournament room to say hey to Team Pro Yaxi Zhu. Sat across from her on the same table is Faraz Jaka - also a friend of both Kuo and Thomas.

"Congratulations!" they both said, as Kuo is now guaranteed at least a €75,900 payout. They also said happy birthday, as Kuo happens to be celebrating hers least, we think she is.

"Chinese people have two birthdays!" Kuo said, something which Zhu quickly backed up. So which is it today Kitty? The real one or the 'other' one? --JS

6:03pm: Increase, then decrease
Level 9: Blinds 500/1,000, Ante 100

For the first today, we're seeing some empty tables in the main poker room. In other words, after days of getting bigger and bigger, the Day 1C field is finally starting to get smaller, eventually to be reduced to a single player with all of these many chips at the end of Monday's final table. 

The big board has settled on 1,755 players entered today, although we'll continue to wait for a final, official tally. That number would put the overall total number of players participating in this freezeout tournament around a 150 beyond the record set at last year's ESPT Barcelona Main when 3,292 played.

Of that group, 1,090 are still with chips as they move through Level 9 and toward the next break. --MH

5:51pm: Mette meets end
Level 9: Blinds 500/1,000, Ante 100

Following a flop of A♥3♣K♠, Armin Mette's last chips were in the middle and at risk behind his 7♥7♠, and he was behind in another sense as well as Ivayo Panev had the big edge with A♠J♥. The turn was the 5♠ and river the 5♥, and Mette wished the table well before departing.

Panev is still on the short side, relatively speaking, with about 30,000. --MH

5:45pm: Boeree sneaks in
Level 9: Blinds 500/10,000, Ante 100

Team PokerStars Pro Liv Boeree has finally managed to take a seat in this event, after waiting for her number to called as an alternate. With blinds now at 500/1,000 she's coming in with just 25 bigs, so expect to see her making some moves over the next level or two.

EPT13_Barcelona-360_Liv Boeree.jpg

Liv made it! But with a short stack hasn't much room to Boereethe

Here's a quick update on some of the other female players we've covered so far:

It's been smooth sailing for Sofia Lovgren so far today. Every time I've passed her table her stack has grown, and she now sits with 85,000 coming into Level 9.

EPT13_Barcelona-341_Sofia Lovgren.jpg

Sofia so good for Lovgren

The same can't be said for Boeree's fellow Team Pro Yaxi Zhu. She hasn't found any momentum and sits with just 17,000 - but one double up could change everything.

One player we can't seem to find is Shola Akindele Deadman. She's no longer in the seat she started in, so unless she was moved to balance a table we can safely assume she's busted. --JS


5:31pm: Leou earns an "ooh"
Level 8: Blinds 400/800, Ante 100

Up in the secondary poker room, Murad Akhundov was all-in and waiting. The board showed A♥J♦2♦J♥4♣, his last chips had been committed, and he sat quietly in anticipation while Yuan Hui Leou contemplated what to do. 

At last Leou tossed a chip forward to call, and Akhundov tabled his K♠Q♠, showing a gutshot that hadn't gotten there. Leou then showed his hand -- 9♠9♦ -- earning at least one "ooh" from a tablemate. He's up to 50,000 now. --MH

5:25pm: Sick and sicker
Level 8: Blinds 400/800, Ante 100

In a poker room this big there are always going to be areas you haven't spent much time in. I spotted a couple of tables that hadn't had much attention and boy, did I arrive at a good time.

In this hand, Hak-Mann Lee opened from under the gun to 2,000 and picked up one caller. Everyone else folded until it was on Jakub Michalak in the big blind, and the Polish player raised it up to 6,900. Lee then jammed for somewhere between 30,000 and 35,000, the caller folded, and Michalak insta-called flipping over pocket Aces. Lee showed his pocket Queens with a sigh.

But he went from a sigh to a sight for sore eyes as the Q♣4♣J♣ flop brought him a set. It was all good in the hood, but Lee didn't come too comfortable - anything can happen, and sometimes it does.

The turn was the T♥ which safe, but did bring a straight draw to Michalak. But who needs to hit a straight when you can just hit a two outer? The river was indeed the A♠ giving Michalak a bigger set and Lee was on his way. Michalak has around 80,000 now. --JS

5:15pm: Taking turns to raise
Level 8: Blinds 400/800, Ante 100

Gábor Szabó opened to 2,300 and was immediately facing a three-bet from his neighbour Iulian Oprea to 5,100. It folded right back around to the original raiser and Szabó made the call. The flop came down J♥5♠2♥ and Szabó checked it, letting Oprea in for a c-bet of 4,600. But now Szabó decided to be aggressor and it was he who raised it up to 10,500. Oprea was in the tank for a good few minutes but ultimately gave it up. --JS

5:05pm: An update on the alternates
Level 8: Blinds 400/800, Ante 100

Poker rewards patience. Just ask the alternates.

Late registration has closed, but they're still seating alternates at a fairly rapid clip. More than 500 alternates have been seated so far, and there are plenty more to go (we're hearing something like 800 total for the flight). 

Everyone wants to be part of this one -- a €1,100 buy-in event for which the prize pool will be easily over €3 million. --MH


What's your number?

4:52pm: River queen saves Vega
Level 8: Blinds 400/800, Ante 100

Following a David Gassian open from the hijack seat, Carlos Garcia Vega reraised all-in for 6,800 from the cutoff, then it folded to Mathieu Philbert who called the shove from the big blind. Gassian decided to call as well, but after the K♠9♦K♣ flop inspired Philbert to fire a leading bet, Gassian let his hand go.

Philbert had J♥J♣ and was ahead of Vega's A♣Q♥, and the 4♠ turn kept Philbert in front. But the Q♣ fell on fifth street to save Vega, and he triples to around 20,000. Gassian still has about 32,000 and Philbert around 44,000. --MH

EPT13_Barcelona-350_Carlos Garcia Vega.jpg

A queen appears to save the light-shirted man in the middle


4:42pm: Greenwood's got the goods
Level 7: Blinds 300/600, Ante 100

Picking up the action on the turn of a very wet J♠K♠Q♠5♣ board, Mathias Christensen checked to Luc Greenwood who put out a 4,000 bet. Christensen then jammed for 17,900 total and after ten seconds of thinking Greenwood made the call.

Christensen showed the K♣5♠ for a turned two pair like he thought it might be good, but alas; that was trailing Greenwood's T♣9♠ for a flopped straight. He'd need another King or five to fill up and win, but the river was a brick and Christensen was sent packing. Greenwood now has 78,000. --JS

EPT13_Barcelona-318_Luc Greenwood.jpg

Christensen couldn't see Greenwood for the trees

4:31pm: Handle (your chips) with care
Level 7: Blinds 300/600, Ante 100

Preflop jockeying between Dariusz Paszkiewicz and Mills Leon had produced a pot of about 15,000 when the flop came 6♣T♠8♦. First to act, Paszkiewicz pushed his last 11,000 in the middle as an all-in bet, and Leon hesitated just a moment before acting. 

Having arrived a little later, the action to this point we've surmised from what followed. We also didn't see what happened next exactly, but it sounded as though the dealer interpreted the slipped chip as a call and Leon instantly said that he didn't mean to call. Meanwhile Paszkiewicz turned over his hand -- A♥T♥.

The floor had to be called, and after some discussion it was determined Leon had made clear he didn't intend to call well before seeing Paszkiewicz's hand. He subsequently folded, having been given a warning about playing with chips in such a fashion. Both Paszkiewicz and Leon were fine with the decision and chatted amiably afterwards, chuckling a little about what might have happened if Leon were to have been made to call in the spot.

Lesson learned. Leon has about 65,000 right now, and Paszkiewicz 26,000. --MH

4:15pm: To Schillhabel go the spoils
Level 7: Blinds 300/600, Ante 100

It's a rare occurrence where a hand plays right down to a called river bet but you still don't get to see any of the hands; this was one of them.

The flop showed the A♦J♥T♦ and Stefan Schillhabel was heads-up in the pot. Both checked it to see the 9♥ turn, and now Schillhabel's opponent led out for 2,000 - which was called. The river card came the 2♥ and he bet again - this time 5,700. It didn't take long for Schillhabel to call, and it took even less time for his opponent to muck his hand. That meant Schillhabel didn't have to show his cards either, and so he went straight to stacking chips. He's up to 36,000 now. --JS

4:05pm: Play resumes
Level 7: Blinds 300/600, Ante 100

Players are back in their seats, tummies presumably full after their mid-afternoon meal, and play has resumed in this last Day 1 flight of the Estrellas Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event. Late registration is now closed, so we're hoping to have an idea soon just how many players officially took part in this huge event. --MH


It's getting crowdy


2:55pm: Lunch time

Players have now gone on a 75-minute lunch break, so we'll see you back here after. --JS

Ready to play the EPT yourself? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

2:40pm: Too many chips spoil the Stuer
Level 6: Blinds 250/500, Ante 75

Julian Stuer might not be a household name, but to those on the high roller circuit the young German is a familiar face indeed. He's made a bunch of EPT side event final tables, with his best result coming from his 14th place finish in the €25,000 High Roller at the EPT12 Grand Final, good for €83,760. He's in the action now today but just lost a pot to Camel Meriem, who opened to 1,100 in mid-position. Stuer defended his big blind and the two saw an 8♥9♠7♦ flop. It went check-check and the dealer burned and turned the 3♦, which saw Meriem put out a delayed c-bet of 1,500. That was called too, taking us to the 7♠ river card, and now the bet from Meriem was 3,500. That was too many chips for Stuer, who opted to give it up. --JS

2:30pm: Lemoine knocks out Sanchez
Level 6: Blinds 250/500, Ante 75

Sebastian Lemoine opened for 1,600 from middle position and got one caller on the button. Then Roger Sanchez reraise-pushed from the big blind for around 8,000. Lemoine thought a couple of beats and called, and the third player stepped aside.

Lemoine had 9♠9♦ and Sanchez A♥Q♥. The board came ten-high -- 2♥T♣T♥4♠6♠ -- and Sanchez leaves midway through Level 6. Lemoine chips up over 45,000. --MH

2:20pm: Just one more thing...
Level 6: Blinds 250/500, Ante 75

Lieutenant Columbo is arguably the best TV detective. Rocco Palumbo - who currently sits 11th on Italy's all-time money list - is vying to become the best Italian pro.

His latest venture to make this happen is taking place here on Day 1C where he currently sits with a starting stack of 25K. --JS

2:12pm: All-in and waiting
Level 6: Blinds 250/500, Ante 75

Daniel Ericson sat quietly. Patiently. He checked his messages and appeared entirely unconcerned with what was happening in front of him. 

You wouldn't even realize he had anything to do with the hand being played out if not for the little red triangle sitting in front of him -- in lieu of any chips. 

Ericson was all-in while two other players -- Daniel Ezquerro and Maksim Bura -- vied for a side pot. The community cards had come 8♠9♥J♥, then 6♣, then 6♦

Was that board good for Ericson, and he was assured of keeping his seat? Bad, and he knew he'd be leaving shortly? There was no telling.

The result of Ezquerro and Bura's back-and-forthing was only Bura showing down a hand -- the K♦K♣. Putting his phone away and saying nothing, Ericson tabled his cards -- A♠A♣ -- and contentedly collected the main pot. --MH


2:02pm: Keeping up the conversation
Level 5: Blinds 200/400, Ante 50

Over in one far corner of the poker room near the currently-under-construction, the lighting isn't quite as bright, and the relative darkness is being reflected somewhat in the quietness of the players at those tables. Mathieu Foirest is the exception to that rule, offering occasional friendly comments in between hands to fill the space in between hands.

Just now Foirest raised from middle position, then watched Shivan Abdine reraise from the small blind. Foirest then pushed out a decent-sized four-bet, and Abdine folded instantly.

"At least think a little bit!" said Foirest with a grin. "Give me some hope!"

Foirest is up around 45,000, continuing to chip up as he keeps up the conversation. --MH

2pm: A handful of hands for Jouhkimainen
Level 5: Blinds 200/400, Ante 50

Joni Jouhkimainen is an EPT regular with more than $2.1 million in live earnings. His biggest score came right here in the EPT9 Barcelona Main Event - a third place finish good for €404,050.

He didn't last long here today though. When our photographer René Velli went to grab a snap of him, he was already on his way out the door.

"How many hands did he play?" asked Velli.

"About three or four," replied one of the players at the table.

That's pretty baller. --JS

1:50pm: Zhu time
Level 5: Blinds 200/400, Ante 50

Team Pro Yaxi Zhu is now the in the mix. The Chinese pro from Shanghai has just over $350,000 in live earnings, with her biggest score to date coming from her win in the €2K High Roller at Eureka4 Prague for €119,100. --JS

EPT13_Barcelona-325_Yaxi Zhu.jpg

It's like a Zhu in here

1:43pm: More familiar faces
Level 5: Blinds 200/400, Ante 50

More familiar faces to report. EPT6 Warsaw champion Christophe Benzimra is part of the field today, as is Marton Czuczor, Thor Hansen, Piotr Franczak, and Jakub Michalak.

Alexander Dovzhenko -- who took runner-up at EPT6 Kyiv -- is playing, too, as is Fernando Pons, of the 2016 November Niners. Pons will be ninth of nine to start the WSOP Main Event final table, and so can't be blamed if he occasionally thinks about how he's going to spin his short stack up once play resumes in a couple of months.

EPT13_Barcelona-310_Fernando Pons.jpg

Pons - he's schemin'

Another former November Niner and familiar face is here as well -- Pierre Neuville, who finished seventh in last year's WSOP Main.

EPT13_Barcelona-322_Pierre Neuville.jpg

Pierre! What's Neuville with you?

1:28pm: Tables and tables and tables
Level 5: Blinds 200/400, Ante 50

A quick visit to secondary poker room confirms our suspicions that every available inch of poker-playing space is being devoted to this third and final flight of the Estrellas Poker Tour Barcelona Main Event. Of the 30 or so tables there, all but two are filled with Day 1C players, with the only exceptions being the two tables at which the final day of the €10K Single Re-entry High Roller is being contested.

EPT13_Barcelona-351_Andrea Rocci.jpg

Field further flowering

The big board shows more than 1,700 having registered today, although again we remind that number includes the alternates (and there are a lot of them). --MH


As far as the eye can Day 1C

1:22pm: Bit of an unusual one
Level 5: Blinds 200/400, Ante 50

An interesting hand just played out and I caught the end of it. The flop showed the Q♥T♥4♦ and the action was on Christian Eikenes. He must have done something resembling a check, because his only opponent Laszlo Molnar then checked too and the dealer put out the T♦ turn card. Problem was - Eikenes hadn't acted at all, and the floor had to be called.

It was ruled that the turn would be abandoned and put back into the deck, and a new one would be dealt with no flop action. The new turn card was the Q♠ and Eikenes checked this time, as did Molnar. The river was the 3♠ and now Eikenes put out a little 1,500 bet which was quickly called.

Eikenes had a monster all along with the Q♠T♣, and hit a full house on both turn cards! --JS


1:15pm: Dubini's down too
Level 4: Blinds 150/300, Ante 50

Richard Dubini hasn't been able to get much going today. The Argentine is down to 11,000 and just opened to 700 only to instantly get three-bet to 1,925 by the player to his left. When it folded around he simply sighed and folded. --JS

EPT13_Barcelona-289_Richard Dubini.jpg

Richard Dubini

1:10pm: David down
Level 4: Blinds 150/300, Ante 50

Moshe Ben David's tournament has come to an early end after losing the last of his short stack to Daniel Ericson here in Level 4. 

David's final hand was A♦5♦, which proved unable to sustain him against Ericson's K♦K♠ -- especially with another king on the board to give Ericson a set. As David departs, Ericson is stacking up about 45,000. --MH

1:02pm: Garcia embarks on another ESPT Barcelona run
Level 4: Blinds 150/300, Ante 50

The young Polish pro Jose Carlos Garcia is part of the huge Day 1C throng. He catches our eye in part because of his performance in this same event a year ago when he finished fourth of 3,292 -- and for a time near the end looked as though he'd be the one lifting the ESPT Barcelona trophy.

An aggressive, talented player, Garcia had already final tabled the LAPT Bahamas Main Event in January 2015 (finishing fourth) as well as the EPT Grand Final in May 2015 (also taking fourth) when he made his deep ESPT Barcelona Main Event run in August of last year. 

A pivotal hand at that final table saw eventual winner Mario Lopez raise from the small blind and Garcia defend the BB with a call holding 7♠4♣. Lopez then checked all three postflop streets as the board came 9♦5♥J♣5♦3♣ and Garcia barreled each time with his seven-four, including making a huge overbet on the river.

After a deep, five-minute tank Lopez came up with a gutsy call on the end, turning over Q♦9♠ for nines and fives to win a big pot and take over the chip lead. Garcia went out in fourth shortly thereafter, and if not for that one hand might well have made it a few spots further to win.

He's hovering around the starting stack at present. --MH

EPT13_Barcelona-320_Jose Carlos Garcia.jpg

Garcia gearing up for another ESPT run

12:59pm: Florentin barrels, collects
Level 4: Blinds 150/300, Ante 50

Enrico Florentin just played an interesting hand with Brzeski -- interesting enough for him to share the details with us afterwards.

As he tells it, Florentin opened from under the gun for 650 and it folded to Brzeski on the button who three-bet to 2,000. The blinds got out, Florentin called, and the flop came 2♣6♦8♦.

Florentin checked, and when Brzeski bet 2,600, Florentin check-raised to 6,300 and Brzeski called. The turn was the 7♠, and this time Florentin fired 5,500 into the middle. Brzeski called once more.

The river was the 3♣, and Florentin pushed his last 12,000 into the middle. Brzeski tanked for a couple of minutes before finally letting his hand go, and before collecting the big pot Florentin tabled his hand -- J♥T♠!

Florentin is up around 45,000 now, while Brzeski slips to 15,000. --MH

12:56pm: Even more names
Level 4: Blinds 150/300, Ante 50

Max Silver, Joao Vieira, and Luc Greenwood are just three more well-known names who entered the event during the break. --JS

12:50pm: Katchalov can't catch some chips
Level 4: Blinds 150/300, Ante 50

Eugene Katchalov opened to 800 and picked up a caller in Tatiana Nikitina. It folded to Mathias Siljander in the small blind and he came along too.

The three saw the 4♠K♦J♣ flop and Siljander checked, allowing Katchalov to fire a c-bet of 1,200. That got Nikitina to fold, but Siljander had a plan and raised it up to 3,525. Katchalov glanced back at his hand and didn't like what he saw enough to match it. --JS

12:42pm: Welcome to the party
Level 4: Blinds 150/300, Ante 50

We continue our tour of the tables -- and our reviews of the constantly updating player lists -- and are spotting many familiar faces and names as we do.

Chris Moorman is part of today's field, as is 2013 PCA Main Event champion Dimitar Danchev. ANZPT Sydney winner Dinesh Alt is in action as well, as is Simeon Naydenov who has a WSOP bracelet made the EPT10 Vienna final table where he finished sixth. --MH

EPT13_Barcelona-345_Chris Moorman.jpg

He's won a lot, but he wants more, man

12:35pm: Play resumes
Level 4: Blinds 150/300, Ante 50

The spacious ballroom has filled back up again with players -- as has the secondary poker room -- and Day 1C is back in action. The big board is showing 1,665 players so far for Day 1C, although we should note that total includes alternates as well, and so isn't exactly reflecting how many players are actually at the tables just yet.



Late registration remains open through Level 6, so after that we'll see if the total field size will exceed last year's 3,292. --MH


12:15pm: Take a break

Level 3 has ended which means it's time for a 20-minute break. We'll be back at 12:35pm for Level 4. --JS

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12:10pm: Lovgren loses a small one
Level 3: Blinds 100/200, Ante 25

Sweden's Sofia Lovgren is fresh off a great summer in which she had a deep run in a big tournament in Vegas, cashing for $75,109.

She just opened to 525 but faced a three-bet to 1,525 from Karl-Heinz Metz, which she would call. The two saw a K♣3♣8♦ flop, but Lovgren would check-fold to Metz's 2,800 continuation bet. --JS

11:55am: Schillhabel joins the scene
Level 3: Blinds 100/200, Ante 25

High roller specialist Stefan Schillhabel has entered here on Day 1C, but there have been a couple of bumps in the road so far. The latest was a hand on a flop of A♥T♦K♥. Schillhabel checked to Laurent Azoulay who put in a bet of 1,500, which got two players to fold but Schillhabel came along.

The turn was the Q♣, bringing four to a straight, and it checked to Azoulay again. The Frenchman put in another bet - this time 2,500, and it was called again. Finally the 4♠ river fell and after one last check Azoulay moved all-in for 13,000. Schillhabel released his hand quickly. --JS

11:47am: 1,600 and counting
Level 3: Blinds 100/200, Ante 25

We've got an incredible 1, wait, make that 1,609 players now spread across the two tournament rooms. If this blogger had a fitbit counting my steps, it would already be three times that just from pacing around the room. --JS

11:43am: Bendik's back
Level 3: Blinds 100/200, Ante 25

We last saw Jan Bendik winning the final EPT main event of Season 12 - the Grand Final - in Monaco for a €961,800 payday. He's back at the felt here today and looking to take down an Estrellas Poker Tour title. --JS

11:35am: Ante up!
Level 3: Blinds 100/200, Ante 25

We're already into Level 3 and that means it's ante time. A running 25 chip will now be mandatory for every player. --JS


11:25am: Vamplew on the grind
Level 2: Blinds 75/150

Fokke Jacob Beukers opened to 500 from early position, only to find himself three-bet to 1,000 by Alen Bilic. Next up to act was none other than David Vamplew. A glance at his cards preceded a glance at his opponent, and he reached for raising chips. A cold four-bet to 2,600 was on the cards and that got both raisers - and the rest - to fold. --JS

EPT13_Barcelona-268_David Vamplew.jpg

Vamplew knows a thing or two

11:15am: You might know this lot
Level 2: Blinds 75/150

Eugene Katchalov has taken his seat. The Ukraine's all-time money winner had a pretty quiet summer with just one small cash at the WSOP, so he'll be hoping to make a big splash here in Barcelona over the next ten days.

Elsewhere we've got Sofia Lovgren, Dara O'Kearney, and Spain's own Diego Gomez among the crowd. Two players who travelled a bit further to get here include Australia's Jonathan 'xMONSTERxDONGx' Karamalikis and Argentina's Richard Dubini. If you're not familiar with Dubini, he's a heavily tattooed gent who's a bit of a legend on the Latin poker scene. He's also made some waves here in Barcelona, with a win last year in €2K side event for €142,376. --JS

11am: Wow.
Level 2: Blinds 75/150

We've already got more than 1,500 players here on Day 1C, and the arriving players strolling to get their seat ticket doesn't seem to waning. --JS


10:40am: Another three notables
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Finland's Kimmo Kurko is probably best known for his runner-up finish to Tom 'hitthehole' Middleton at EPT10 Barcelona three years ago. Or maybe it's for his straw hat, I'm not sure. He's definitely out in the Day 1C field today though - that I am sure of.

EPT13_Barcelona-277_Kimmo Kurko.jpg

Kimmo Kurko - sans hat

We've also had our first PokerStars Team Pro sighting - Chen-An Lin. The Taiwanese native has plenty of cashes on the Asia poker scene and we look forward to seeing how he gets on here on European soil.

EPT13_Barcelona-274_Chen-An Lin.jpg

Team Pro Chen-An Lin

Another face we recognise is that of Shola Akindele Deadman, a talented pro who finished second in the €2,000 IPT7 Malta High Roller for €96,160. She's married to British pro Simon Deadman, who we've yet to see in this event. Could we have a husband and wife team both make Day 2? --JS

EPT13_Barcelona-276_Shola Akindele.jpg

Shola Akidele Deadman

10:30am: The picture says it all
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Willie Elliot called me over to his table as I was doing my first round of the day. It was this hand he wanted to tell me about - a brutal beat to suffer in the very first hand of the day!

Elliot held the A♦2♦ and Florin Ghimpu had the 6♦3♦. The two saw an 8♣2♦5♦ flop, which Elliot fired a 225 c-bet into. Ghimpu called and both checked the Q♦ turn, despite the flush now hitting Ghimpu. The 4♦ was the most-action card in the deck and it fell on the river, giving Elliot the nut flush but Ghimpu the stone-cold nuts with a straight flush.

Ghimpu made it 600. Elliot raised to 1,600. Ghimpu raised to 4,000. Elliot raised to 8,500. Ghimpu shoved. Elliot called.

And lost, obviously. But he's not out! He still has a handful of chips and a dream, while Ghimpu truly has had the dream start. --JS

10:15am: Three names in a sea of faces
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

On our first stroll around the tournament area, in which more than 1,300 players have already taken their seats, we picked out three faces in particular.

The first belonged to EPT7 London champ and Scotland's all-time leading money winner David Vamplew. The Scot had a great summer, picking up nine cashes at the World Series of Poker for more than $100K.

The next sighting was that of Patrick Serda - the Canadian who qualified for the €10K Single Re-entry tournament in a live satellite and ended up bagging the Day 1 chip lead. He would eventually fall in that one, and has taken his shot in this event here on Day 1C.

EPT3 Dortmund winner Andreas Hoivold is also out among the masses. Expect plenty of these updates as players are flooding in all the time. --JS

10:01am: Cards are in the air!
Level 1: Blinds 50/100

Players are finding their seats and dealers have been told to shuffle up and deal. We'll be back shortly after we go have a look around the room to see who's out in the field. --JS


9:45am: Big day ahead

Morning everyone! We hope you had a good sleep, because today is going to be masivo. It's going to be enorme. It's going to be...very busy indeed.

My Spanish vocabulary might be limited, but the amount of players set to play here on Day 1C of the Estrellas Barcelona Main Event at the fantastic Casino Barcelona certainly isn't. Throughout Day 1A and Day 1B we've already had 639 and 1,048 players respectively, and today might be just be the biggest yet. After all, last year a record total of 3,292 players entered this event - could we smash that record here today?

EPT13_Barcelona-11_Location_Montjuic Castle1.jpg

The structure is the same as it has been: a 25,000 starting stack, playing 13 45-minute levels. Right now it's end-of-Day1A chip leader Benny Glaser who will lead coming into Day 2 with 360,000, so that's the amount everyone here today will be hoping to beat. There will be a lunch break after Level 6, at which point registration will officially close for the tournament.

Play kicks off at the ever-so-early time of 10am, so sit back, keep clicking refresh, and enjoy all the coverage of Day 1C.

Meanwhile, the €10K Single Re-entry tournament played down to 14 players last night - check out the coverage here. --JS

Ready to play the EPT yourself? Sign up for PokerStars and begin your journey. Click here to get an account.

Take a look at the official website of the EPT, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for EPT13 Barcelona and the rest of the season.

Also all the schedule information is on the EPT App, which is available on both Android or IOS.

PokerStars Blog reporting team on the ESPT7 Barcelona Main Event: Jack Stanton and Martin Harris. Photography by René Velli and Carlos Monti. Follow the PokerStars Blog on Twitter @PokerStarsBlog.

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