On Tuesday, Season 12 of the European Poker Tour continued with Day 1b of the EPT Barcelona €5,300 Main Event. After eight 75-minute levels of play, it was Spain's Samuel Bernabeu who bagged the overall chip lead with 203,000.
The second starting flight drew a staggering 1,214 entries, bringing the total runners to 1,673. This number is likely to increase by a few digits as well, as registration will remain open until the start of Day 2. This impressive turn out was enough to break the record for largest-ever EPT main event, besting the previous record from Season 7's PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (1,560 entries).
Bernabeu's stellar showing on Day 1b moved him into the overall chip lead heading into the second day of play. Bernabeu bested Day 1a chip leader Imad Derwiche who finished the opening flight with 170,000.
The day began with an electric excitement about the tournament room, as staff and players alike anticipated a record-setting day. While the Main Event was cause for much of the excitement, the €25,000 Single-Day High Roller was also taking place in the main tournament room. This prestigious and unique format tournament drew the likes of professional footballers Neymar Jr. and Gerard Piqué. While both players were eliminated from that event, Piqué opted to try his luck in the Main Event.
Unfortunately for the FC Barcelona centre-back, his life in the Main Event was relatively short-lived. After becoming short-stacked, he moved all in before the flop for his last 2,200 and was called by two players. Piqué flopped bottom pair, but was ultimately unable to best Robert Zipf's middle pair. He was eliminated during the seventh level of the day.
Piqué was not the only familiar face to fall, as many of poker's elite were also denied the opportunity to win the largest EPT main event in history. Some of those to hit the rail throughout the day include Benny Spindler, Tom Middleton, Sam Grafton, Vanessa Selbst, Ari Engel, Barny Boatman, Yann Dion, Artur Koren, and Jannick Wrang.
On the flip side, several notable poker were able to thrive throughout the first eight levels and build sizable stacks heading into Day 2. The likes of Jude Ainsworth (155,800), Gaelle Baumann (107,700), Ryan Riess (103,500), Jan Heitmann (67,400), Fatima Moreira de Melo (65,400), and Johnny Lodden (48,200) will all return for the second day of action.
Speaking of that second day, it will all kick off on Wednesday at 12 p.m. local time inside the illustrious Casino Barcelona. As always, be sure to tune into PokerNews for all of the latest updates from the tournament floor.