By the time registration had closed for the second round of starters at the Casino de Barcelona, an astounding 495 runners had coughed up their €5,000 for a Day 1b seat — astounding considering that the total field for this tournament last year was only 428. The total number of runners for the 2010 PokerStars.com European Poker Tour Barcelona was 758, and even given the reduced buy-in this year, it is an impressive increase. The huge turnout has generated a €3,790,000 prize pool with 112 places paying out and €825,000 for the top spot. We will return for Day 2 with 399 players. Luis Rufas currently leads the pack with 232,100.
The notable players were heavy on the ground and nary a table didn't feature at least two or three well-known players. Their fortunes were mixed.
Sole Mexican Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen was among the first exits of the day. He ran kings into aces and won't be going any further. Dario Minieri was another Team PokerStars Pro who suffered some early misfortune, and although he spent a few levels admirably grinding with a short stack, he eventually succumbed with against pocket jacks.
Daniel Negreanu, fresh off his rather dramatic fourth-place finish at EPT Vienna, never really got off the ground in Barcelona. Although he got above his starting stack a couple times, his run was unremarkable and after failing to hit a flush draw against Jan Collado's, he flopped two pair and was gone.
Other familiar faces who couldn't last the day included John Duthie, Luca Pagano, Nacho Barbero, Allan Baekke, Tristan Clemencon and William Thorson.
Luis Rufas, from host nation Spain, took the chip lead in Level 5 and stayed in the upper echelons of the chip counts for the rest of the day. He will be the overall chip leader returning for Day 2, with 232,100. He and Day 1a chip leader Loic Sa are the only players to have topped the 200,000 mark.
A couple of places behind Rufas is Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez from Argentina on 164,400. He made a great call for a huge double-up towards the end of the night with pocket queens on an ace-high board and is in fourth place overall. EPT Copenhagen finalist and garrulous Welshman Roberto Romanello also had a fine day, ending up in eighth place going into Day 2.
Further down in the chip counts, Bertrand "ElkY Grospellier, Carlos Mortensen, Michael Binger, Johnny Lodden, Kevin MacPhee, Noah Boeken and Liv Boeree are all still alive and kicking.
It's going to be pretty packed in the Casino de Barcelona when all 399 Day 1 survivors reconvene Wednesday, but we here at PokerNews.com are ready for the scrum. Play is due to start at noon local time and you'd be a fool to miss it.
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