I was out sightseeing in Barcelona the day before the main event and popped into a huge church called Santa Maria del Mar . Mathilde suggested lighting a candle and placing it in front of a saint .
Not being particularly religious i agreed to go along with it as there are a couple of people close to me who i could think about , anyway i then decided to throw in a couple of poker requests .
Well either the big man is busy with New Orleans and other natural disasters such as worldwide famine and wars or he doesn't understand poker !
My table had Steve Vladar in my SB and last years winner Alexander Stevic in the BB , before we started the casino was a little chaotic . Here in Barcelona even after you first show your passport and get a card for free entry you still have to do the same every day , when i turned up at 3.30 for the 4.00 start there were 200 players signing in , once downstairs it was clear they had underestimated the numbers .
I spoke to John Duthie and he had allowed for 250 , in fact it was already sold out at 290 and eventually they fitted a further 35 alternates in , one player i know bought a ticket for €6000 rather than be an alternate and others are rumoured to have paid €7000 ! The biggest problem was the TV people were only supposed to be filming the event over 2 days . In the end with a skipped level they got to 45 on day one , the blinds took care of 32 of these in 3 hours the next day and the final , scheduled for 4.00 started at 9.00 .
This all sounds negative but i must tell you the atmosphere in the casino was as good as the main event at the WSOP used to be at Binions . One thing is for sure , the Scandinavians who have been beating us all on the internet are now venturing out to play live in force , in the €1000 event there were 280 players , 27 got paid and 11 were from Sweden !
To fit all the starters in they used the main casino with all tables 10 and 11 handed as well as 9 round the TV table and 3 heads up tables with 8 squeezed round .
During the first 3 levels my chips dwindled away as my only hands were 22 twice and 77 one off the button , with the 77 i raised and the BB , a Brit who already had 13,000 called , flop was K 3 4 and checked to me i represented AK , he called and on the turn bet 1500 , the only hand i won was later against the same player .
During the 4th level 100 200 my heart skipped a beat as i picked up AKs , FP raised to 500 and i reraised to 1700 , passed to the button who moved in for 12,000 , after some time the FP passed , i figured the FP must have at least had an A as well and with 5300 left elected to pass , clearly with the action that had taken place in theory the best i can hope to be against is QQ or AK . Later the same player did all his chips , Luke Smith raised 1000 in FP with QQ , all in again for 8000 this time, Luke calls and we get to see his hand , he had 44 !
I got AKs again but this time no callers , still card dead and with everyone willing to take me on as short stack i patiently waited for the hand and eventually with 2650 left i found KK in FP and with blinds at 150 300 raised to 850 , all passed to a lady on the button who had played very few hands who flat called , she had won a pot earlier off Luke when calling him down with bottom pair and spiking a gutshot straight so had 13,000 , the blinds passed and i dreamed of two things ,a double up and no A on the flop , the flop was A 4 6 , i checked and the lady bet 500 , as there were two clubs and i held the K i took the turn card for 500 leaving me 2350 , turn was a blank and i checked hoping for a free card which i got , maybe my KK were good ? River was another blank , i checked and now she bet 1000 , i passed my KK face up as if to say this isn't my day and she proved it wasn't by showing me the other two Kings !
With only 1300 left and having to find a hand before the blinds came round i decided to call in position with K6s after three limpers , the SB also called and the BB checked , pot was 1800 , flop was K Q 7 , all checked to me and i tossed in my last 1000 , the BB raised to 3000 and i thought i needed to hit my kicker , all passed and he turned over 77 for a set , i could still hit a runner runner flush but not ony did that not materialise he made quads on the river .
The next day the final had yet another three Swedes as well as Gus Hansen needs no introduction , Jan Boubli , serial finalist in Paris including a second in the WPT last year and Christer Johansson who not only won the first Paris WPT but has also won the European WSOP Trial in Vienna , Gus second in chips came a disappointing 5th but Chris and Jan got heads up , with nearly a two to one chip lead Jan moved all in on a flop of 8 8 2 , Christer studied and called with A2 , his read was perfect Jan was bluffing with KQo , luckily for him the river was a K and it was all over , he collected just over €400,000 and an entry for the Super Final in Monte Carlo next year worth another €10,000 .
The next venue for the EPT is the Vic in London , if you intend to play i suggest you pre enter as they are guaranteed to sell out as will most of the support events .