You will read a lot over the coming season about changes to the European Poker Tour. There are fewer stops, but they are longer; there are more tournaments and they are richer; you win a bracelet and a watch with your million-odd euros.
Perhaps more significant than even the glittering new timepiece, however, is a shake up to the way the EPT interacts with the various tours that snake through smaller regions, all carrying the PokerStars logo too. In Spain, this regional charabanc is known as the Estrellas Poker Tour (“Estrellas” means “Stars”) and the festival previously known only as EPT Barcelona is now also Estrellas Barcelona, which happens to be the Estrellas Grand Final too.
The main event of the Estrellas Grand Final began last week and wrapped late yesterday after five days. The Italian player Lorenzo “bovediroma” Sabato took it down, earning €200,000, and dashing hopes of a home champion on Spanish soil. (The top-placed Spanish player was Miguel Mora. He was fourth.)
The good news for Sabato – and anyone winning, for instance, the UKIPT main event (ending at EPT London), the Eureka Poker Tour main event (ending at EPT Prague) – is that they can jump straight from the winner’s enclosure into another tournament, namely the main event of the EPT.
Momentum can be a wonderful thing in poker, and Sabato will know this better than most.
The last hand Sabato won on Sunday earned him that €200,000. It was Q♣Q♦ versus the 5♠9♠ of Andrey Demidov, by the way. The next hand he played was today, and wouldn’t you know it he knocked out a player then too, doubling his starting stack to 60,000 immediately in this even bigger event.
By the time the players went to their third break, Sabato was up to about 90,000 after felting another one.
He is on a brilliant roll right now. I just can’t wait until he butts heads with the similarly unstoppable Dan Smith.
Follow all the action from the Estrellas Poker Tour on the Spanish version of PokerStars Blog. Ivan Marti is your guide there, but if you run it through Google Translate, he becomes Stephen Bartley. Go on, try it.
Registration has ended and 665 players are now on the board as having joined the fray. They join the 403 from yesterday, of whom 222 survived. This is not entirely official, so it will be a while before we learn full prize pool information. But it does seem certain that we broke through the 1,000 barrier for the first time in Barcelona.