EPT Barcelona Shatters Record with Nearly 2,000 Entries, €9.3m Prize Pool

Who says poker is dead? The European Poker Tour’s Main Event in Barcelona broke records yesterday with nearly 2,000 entries buying into the tournament before registration came to a close.

The €5,300 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament officially drew 1,913 entries to create a gargantuan €9,365,350 prize pool (roughly $10.9 million US).

That was more than enough entries to best the 1,785 runners that challenged for the last record-breaking EPT Barcelona title in 2016 so this year’s event now stands alone as the biggest EPT Main Event ever.

The tournament attracted many of the heavy hitters of poker including Daniel Negreanu, Patrik Antonius, Viktor Blom, Adrian Mateos and more.

The eventual Sportsbook in this year’s EPT Barcelona Main Event will take home €1.6 million, or almost $1.9 million US.

Barcelona: The Premier European Poker Destination

Barcelona wasn’t always the 800-pound gorilla on the European poker circuit.

In the early days of the EPT, it was San Remo, Deauville, Vienna and Dortmund that were setting records. Even the larger buy-in Grand Final in Monte Carlo regularly drew more players than Barcelona.

That all changed over the last five years, however, as interest in the game in Spain and neighboring Portugal exploded.

The festival shifted into overdrive in 2015 when the smaller €1,100 buy-in Estrellas side event attracted 3,292 to become the biggest European tournament ever at the time.

The Barcelona Main Event hit a bit of a snag last year when sponsor PokerStars actually ditched the EPT moniker and went with PokerStars Championship Barcelona. Attendance dropped by about a hundred players.

EPT Branding Returns to Barcelona in 2018

PokerStars reverted back to the much-loved EPT brand this year and attendance immediately spiked again.

This year also marks the first time that PokerStars has been able to legally share player pools between Spain, France and Portugal, making qualification even easier than before.

At this point it’s really only the World Series of Poker and PokerStars Caribbean Adventure that are in the same league as poker-wild Barcelona.

Here’s a look at the rather impressive EPT Barcelona Main Event numbers over the last five years (*2017 represents non-EPT year):

EPT Barcelona Main Events 2014-2018
YearEntriesPrize PoolSportsbook
20181,913€9.3 millionTBA
2017*1,682€8.1 millionSebastian Sorensson
20161,785€8.6 millionSebastian Malec
20151,694€8.2 millionJohn Juanda
20141,496€7.2 millionAndre Lettau

Footballers Neymar, Piqué Join the Action

Barcelona has always been a soccer hot spot with legendary La Liga club FC Barcelona.

In recent years EPT Barcelona has also become somewhat of a hub for world-class footballers looking to play cards for a large amount of money. Neymar Jr., Ronaldo and Gerard Piqué are among the many players who have attended the festival over the years.

This year Neymar, Piqué and Giovani Lo Celso made the journey to Casino Barcelona to take part in the €2,200 National High Roller.

At one point Piqué and Neymar, who were teammates at Barcelona prior to Neymar’s exit to Paris Saint-Germain, were seated right next to each other and they happily hammed it up for the cameras. In the end, however, the title went to Neymar’s poker mentor Andre Akkari.

Neymar and PSG will be back in action in Ligue 1 against Nîmes Olympique. You’ll find odds for PSG to win the Lique 1 title and an in-depth analysis of the league in our soccer section.

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