Barcelona has never been this popular, something that’s now official thanks to the 1,046 players who have taken seats, who added to the 459 of yesterday, have passed last year’s record of 1,496. What’s more players are still coming. Alternates are being seated as we speak, with a steady supply of these reserves eager to get started.
But in the shadow of this giant are a minority who are paying the price. They’re called Razz players, and right now they’re a symptom of the EPT’s success.
The thing is, with the Limit Razz event scheduled for 2pm, there were still too many Main Event players to accommodate to make room for all of them. This is a big tournament room, but even with the additional tent there are no free tables. Three tables were spared, but the rest of the Razz players were understandably disappointed.
Step forward tournament director Toby Stone, clutching a stress ball.
Why couldn’t they play? When would they be able to play, why wasn’t this problem anticipated? What are you going to do about it?
Stone, in a dark grey suit and a week’s beard, listened, and then explained. At first he squeezed the stress ball, but was soon spinning it in his hand. By the end of the conversation he was tossing it up in to the air and catching it without looking.
They had to seat Main Event players, he explained, and hoped he could fit another razz event in later in the week. Hindsight, as they say, is 20-20, he said, tossing the ball up to eye level. But he would do his best to find space later in the week. Razz would get its air time.
He’d won most of them around, and even disappointed, they seemed to take his point.
“Razz is going to be big!” said one player, with a wry smile. “I can guarantee you’ll get 20 runners!”
He might be right, just not today.
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Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.