Live poker continues to thrive

Amidst the World Series of Poker and the World Poker Tour, the European Poker Tour (EPT) sometimes gets ignored. Some of that is because it doesn’t have as many events and some of that is because, by definition, it doesn’t have the exposure in the United States that the other two brands do. But players love the EPT and it certainly has shown this week as the EPT Barcelona Main Event has laid siege to the record books.

With 749 entries on Day 1A, another 1,485 on Day 1B, and 65 late entrants on Day 2, the Main Event attracted 2,294 entries, obliterating the record for the largest Main Event in European Poker Tour history. The previous top mark was 1,988, also set at EPT Barcelona in 2019, the year before the COVID-19 pandemic slowed things down.

In fact, five of the top six and six of the top eight largest EPT Main Events were all set in Barcelona. Three of the other top ten were at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure 2009-2011.

And really, it’s six of the top seven and seven of the top nine. The 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona was not technically a European Poker Tour event, but in reality it is, since it was just that one year of an ill-conceived rebrand. It was the EPT, even if the record books don’t reflect it.

“The record field here in Barcelona shows just how strong the PokerStars live poker offering continues to be, even after the coronavirus pandemic,” EPT tournament director Toby stone told PokerNews, “The team behind the scenes put in a huge amount of effort to ensure these events run smoothly and players get the best experience possible.”

Big field means big money

On top of the Main Event, the Estrellas Poker Tour Main Event, which is part of the EPT Barcelona festival, drew 6,313 entries, making it the largest poker tournament – period – in EPT history.

As the EPT Barcelona Main Event goes into its second day (third calendar day, of course), Stephen Kehoe sits atop the chip counts with 331,500 chips. Several players are close behind him, including Anthony Cierco with 322,000 and Andrew Moreira Marques with 315,000.

The tournament is so big that there will be two million-Euro payouts. First prize is €1,714,000 and second prize is €1,027,470. The total prize pool is €11,125,900; the top 327 will make the money.

The plan for Day 2 is to play through six 90-minute levels with two short breaks and a dinner break before calling it a night.

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