I never had a chance to write up my notes on Day 1b, so some of those stories will be included here, like three of the more popular pros playing in the field on Day 1b such as Greg Raymer, Daniel Negreanu, and Johnny Chan. Most Europeans don't fawn and gawk over celebrities like Americans, so it was unusual to see excited expressions on the faces of spectators and players when they spotted Fossilman, Negreanu, or Johnny Fuckin' Chan.
Before Day 1b started, the big three were busy chatting with fans and posing for photos. They were extremely accommodating. Over the past couple of years, I've witnessed Raymer and Negreanu's interaction with fans and the general public. Those two are probably the best in the business and extremely generous with their time when anyone approaches for a quick photo or autograph or to recant a bad beat story. That's rare in poker where it's a cut-throat selfish "me" world and pros want all the media publicity they can get without giving back. Chan has a reputation for being aloof, but not in Barcelona. He was chatting up fans and having a blast playing props (betting on the color of the flop) with Sorel Mizzi.
After their interview with Chan, Shronk and Schecky mentioned something to me about the Johnny Fuckin' Chan factor in poker, something that gets overlooked. The introduction of hole cams, televised poker, and the availability of online poker all helped contribute to the poker boom, but don't forget that JFC is a big factor as well. The reason he's known as JFC is all due to that famous scene in Rounders. And every player in the poker room at the Barcelona Casino had seen Rounders at least once. Johnny Chan was the top player in the game a decade a go and he's still regarded as one of the best in the world. Chan represented the Goliath and Mike McD was the Davey in that scene where he bluffed Chan at the tables in Atlantic City.
Although I was already a gambling junkie, when I saw Rounders at the Neptune Theatre in Seattle back in the summer of 1998, I was instantly hooked on Texas Hold'em. All the guys from my homegame in Fremont were hooked as well. Like monkeys jacked up on crack, we added Hold'em to the rotation of games that we played in the crowded kitchen of the Trout House, where hundreds of empty Labbats bottles were stacked in boxes and the aroma of dank nugs swirled around the house as we flung plastic chips around acting like we were the biggest swinging dicks in poker. We wanted to take down Johnny Fuckin' Chan since he was the ominous symbol of poker royalty.
It was amazing to see several of Europe's top pros pay homage to JFC as most of them came over at some point to pay their respects, kind of like a scene out of The Godfather. One Scandi kid in capri pants and designer sunglasses actually bent down on his knee and kissed JFC's ring. That's respect.
Negreanu looked tired on Day 1b and spent most of his time at the tables getting a massage. He had flown from Manila to Barcelona and had a little jet lag. Like most of the US-based pros, he was digging Barcelona.
"I love Barcelona," he said continuously. "Have you seen all the beautiful women?"
David Williams and Kirk Morrison echoed his sentiments. They had fallen in love with Barcelona. They all had the same looks on their faces that Brandon Schaefer had in 2005 when we first hung out. When you visit Barcelona for the first time, you become enraptured with everything... the amazing architecture, the history, the food, the nightlife, the vibe, and the women. I always felt that Paris was overhyped and overrated, while Barcelona was vastly underrated as one of Europe's top cities.
"I fuckin' love Barcelona," Morrison said as he sipped a glass of wine and asked me where my drink was. He told Shronk that he needed to move out of Las Vegas because, "That place will eat your soul alive."
Kirk Morrison showed up in Barcelona out of the blue. We had no idea he would be playing and neither did he. Morrison told us a funny story how he went to the Bicycle Casino in LA and stood in line waiting to buy into the WPT Legends of Poker when a dozen or so players asked him to buy them into the event. He knew they were horrible players and kindly said no. That's when it hit him.
"What the fuck am I doing here? I'm going to Barcelona to play instead!" he said.
And just like that in true rock and roll fashion, Morrison went to the airport and flew to Barcelona. Even though he'd bust out early, he knew that he made the right choice. Barcelona is an experience and PokerStars.com EPT is one of the best tournament circuits in the world. They actually outdrew WPT's Legends of Poker... 543 entrants to 485... and the EPT had a higher buy-in ($10,600 US to $10,000). Congrats to John Duthie, PokerStars, and the EPT for that epic milestone.
Anyway, 543 total players entered the event and by the end of Day 2, only 56 remained. Action was stopped just as the money bubble burst. The remaining players all made the prize money.
End of Day 2 Chipcounts:Players busting on Day 2 included... Johnny Chan, Daniel Negreanu, Thomas Wahlroos, Brandon Schaefer, Phil Gordon, Annette_15, Paul Wasicka, Thor Hansen, ActionJeff, ElkY, Sverre Sundbo, Patrik Antonius, and Noah Boeken.
Mohamad Kowssarie (Sweden) - 332,200
Mark Teltscher (UK) - 300,600
Patrick Bruel (France) - 267,000
Pete Giordano (USA) - 253,900
Adam Junglen (USA) - 227,800
Mika Paasonen (Finland) - 213,600
Christopher Ulsrud (Norway) - 197,000
Michael Wong (USA) - 193,800
Jean Baptiste Tomi (France) - 147,100
Sander Lylloff (Denmark) - 142,500
Tronde Eidsvig (Norway) - 141,200
Philip Yeh (Sweden) - 134,200
Dag Martin Mikkelsen (Norway) - 130,600
Martin Wendt (Denmark) - 130,400
Bjorn Erik Glenne (Norway) - 126,700
Thomas Fjelleheim (Norway) - 125,300
Javed Abrahams (UK) - 120,100
Ola Brandborn (Sweden) - 112,300
Nickolaos Panopoulos (Greece) - 110,600
Jan Sjaavik (Norway) - 106,200
Voitto Rintala (Finland) - 101,300
Kees Alblas (Holland) - 98,100
Giovanni Spadavecchia (Italy) - 97,000
Greg Dyer (USA) - 95,200
Daan Ruiter (Holland) - 92,200
Andrey Zaichenko (Russia) - 84,800
Alessio Isaia (Italy) - 84,700
Ian Woodley (UK) - 82,900
Juan Maceiras (Spain) - 74,300
Eric Hardt (USA) - 70,500
Nikolaus Jedlicka (Austria) - 67,700
Tutev Yovor (Bulgaria) - 62,300
Aditya Agarwal (India) 61,400
Fabrice Soulier (France) - 60,000
James Higgins (UK) - 56,500
Alexander Roumeliotis (Sweden) - 56,300
(UNKNOWN PLAYER) - 55,000
Michael Greco (UK) - 49,700
Daniel Dodet (Belgium) - 47,400
Borge Dypvik (Norway) - 45,200
Henrik Sorensen (Denmark) - 45,000
Cort Kibler-Melby (Germany) - 43,000
Phil Starrs (UK) - 39,900
Mark Vos (Australia) 38,300
Stefan Mattsson (Sweden) - 35,000
Jean Paul Pasqualini (France) - 34,600
Daniel Stern (USA) - 32,500
Massimiliano Rosa (Italy) - 31,200
Kitai Davidi Jacob (Belgium) - 31,100
Ole Gabriel Holgersen (Norway) - 26,200
Henrik Jensen (Denmark) - 25,200
Mika Puro (Finland) - 25,100
Jerome Ferron (France) - 23,100
Jesus Manuel Garde (Spain) - 20,400
Katja Thater (Germany) - 19,200
Ryan Jones (USA) - 7,200
Prize Money (in Euros):
1 - 1,170,700
2 - 673,000
3 - 388,800
4 - 301,000
5 - 250,800
6 - 196,500
7 - 154,700
8 - 104,500
9-10 - 64,800
11-12 - 46,000
13-14 - 33,450
15-16 - 25,100
17-24 - 20,900
33-39 - 14,650
41-48 - 12,550
49-56 - 10,500
Day 3 begins at 5pm local time, where the remaining 56 players will play down to the final table. In case you were wondering, the final table is scheduled for Saturday. You can follow the live updates of Day 3 over at PokerNews.com which will be provided by Change100 and yours truly. Don't forget to check out amazing photos from Felipe and kick ass videos from Shronk & Schecky.
Check out this video with Mark Vos...
Bouncin Round the Room: Barcelona Casino Version...
Around Midnight on Day 1b, several big cash games started. There were three 50/100 Euro NL tables running and the list was deep. Some of the players at those tables included Jan Boubli (The Godfather of French Poker and 2005 EPT Barcelona Champion), Greg Raymer, Mads Anderson, John Duthie, and Dario Minieri. Raymer had a stack of plaques to go along with his chips and even tried to do a chip shuffle with them.
Lee Jones and I have been having a "Live Music Moment" for about fifteen minutes everyday. You might know Lee Jones as the author of Low Limit Hold'em or from being the former poker room manager of PokerStars. He's currently doing commentary for the EPT and only a handful of people know about his passion for music. On Day 1b, he played Little Feat for me and we talked about a book I should read called Hotel California, which is about the Laurel Canyon music scene in the 60s and 70s features CSNY, Joni Mitchell, Jackson Browne, James Taylor and The Eagles. Last night, he played a video for me that he taped at a music conference in Canada, specifically an Appalachian style jam with a banjo, guitar, and two fiddle players that took place in a dirt floor covered log cabin. Those brief chats with Lee have been a pleasure and kept me sane during the grind of covering a poker tournament.
Sadly, my buddies, Brandon Schaefer and Johnny Mushrooms both busted out on Day 2 and failed to make the money. Johnny Mushrooms had his Aces cracked by Fabrice Souiler. Brandon was busted by Mark Teltscher, who ended Day 2 among the chipleaders.
The media room at the Barcelona Casino is held inside the disco, and we have our own bar and bartender. It was packed on the first two days and if you didn't get there by 3:15, you didn't get a spot. The casino opens up at 3pm and the tournament starts at 5pm each day. You must arrive to the media room/disco as soon as the casino opens to save a spot. On Day 2, the EPT cracked down on some of the shady media teams which helped ease the congestion. The internet is still crappy most of the time. I've had posts eaten several times, but having less media in the room made the internet go a tad faster. The downside is that the hot Swedish girls were booted. To quote our multimedia guru, Shronk, "I like it when they talk (in Swedish)."
The tournament area was super congested. People could walk right up to the tables and sweat anyone. On Day 2, they started policing the area and allowed only media to wander inside. After a while, the crush of media was so intense that several players complained and we all were booted from inside the ropes with 84 players remaining. I spent the bubble standing up on a chair with Homer from Blonde Poker trying to catch the bust out hand. Change100 positioned herself on the rail next to Owen from Poker Listings and did her best to get chip counts. The place was a zoo with media reps and spectators standing five and six deep on the rail with many other hoisted up on chairs hoping to check out the action.
And back by popular demand, here's the Barcelona installment of...
Last 5 Pros I Pissed Next to...
1. Jan Sjaavik
2. Juha Helppi
3. Paul Wasicka
4. Julian Thew
5. Thor Hansen
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