The start of the 10th season of the European Poker Tour in Barcelona is inspiring a lot of looking back into the EPT’s history, with recognition of the tour’s considerable growth over the last decade an unavoidable consequence of doing so.
Of course, the EPT was just the beginning as far as PokerStars tours goes, with a host of others criss-crossing the globe having been launched over the years since including the Asia Pacific Poker Tour, the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour, the United Kingdom Ireland Poker Tour, and the Latin American Poker Tour.
Speaking of the LAPT, a few Team PokerStars Pros who help comprise regulars for that tour are in attendance here today, all taking advantage of a small gap in the schedule to play EPT Barcelona before LAPT Panama begins in a couple of weeks.
Two-time LAPT Main Event champion Nacho Barbero of Argentina is here, having built a stack of 41,500 through the first four levels of play. Angel Guillen of Mexico who has a handful of cashes including a runner-up and a third in LAPT Main Events returns to a stack of 22,625 to start Level 5.
And as those watching the EPTLive webcast so far today have seen, Argentina’s Leo Fernandez has been sitting at the feature table today. Fernandez also has a number of strong finishes on the LAPT, including a victory in last year’s Main Event at Panama.
So far today Fernandez has chipped up to 49,075, highlighted by an especially interesting hand with Michael Bauer of Germany.
That one saw Fernandez raise and Bauer defend his blind, then Bauer check-call bets after the Q♠3♥3♦ flop and 9♣ turn. The river was the 10♦, and after checking and watching Fernandez make a pot-sized bet, Bauer said “Wow, I can’t believe I don’t raise” as he called again.
“I’m a f—ing genius” added the German after seeing Fernandez table Q♣Q♥ for queens full. Bauer then turned over his 10♣10♥ for a lesser full house, and Fernandez nodded in a way that showed he didn’t necessarily disagree with Bauer’s self-assessment.
Fernandez has an EPT High Roller final table under his belt, having finished fifth in the £20,000 High Roller at EPT London in Season 6. But like his LAPT cohorts, he hopes to add a big EPT Main Event finish to his poker résumé this week.
Some tough competition here in Europe, no doubt, although the large fields and enticing destinations still make the EPT an attractive option to players from around the world.
Click through to live coverage of the EPT Barcelona Main Event. Check out all the festival results here or take a look at what happened in the EPT Barcelona Super High Roller. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the EPT action and check out the EPTLive webcast.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.