No one seems surprised at all at this development, as the tourney has seen increased numbers every year for the last several, eclipsing the 1,000-player mark for the first time last year. Now the focus turns toward whether or not the event will ultimately best the all-time EPT Main Event mark of 1,240 set at Sanremo in Season 6 (not counting the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, which otherwise get grouped in with the EPT events).
Players can actually register through the start of play today, and so we’ll learn definitely just after noon whether or not they make it to 1,240 total. I believe the official number at the moment is 1,228, so it’s still possible that record gets topped.
One big highlight yesterday came before the tournament started when I got to take Vera Valmore out for a speed boat tour of the Mediterranean for a couple of hours in the morning before going into the casino for the noon start. The EPT Concierge set up the trip, and in fact any of the players who are interested in it can book a seat to do the same absolutely free, one of the many extra perks around of which they can take advantage.
Vera and I were tagging along as Sarah Grant was shooting a video of the trip for PokerStars.tv (that’s a still from it above.) The video does a great job capturing the feel of the trip and all of the neat sights we were able to see as we made a wide circle next to the Barcelona coast. Check it out:
I wrote a post as well for the PokerStars blog -- “Mediterranean meditations” -- in which I tried to capture some of the details of our voyage.
Other fun Day 1b posts included one about chip stacks and the Sagrada Família (about which I was writing a little here yesterday) and another after I spoke with the Slovakian player Dag Palovic about his new detective thriller coming out next month.
Again going to keep things short here today in order once more to spend some of these morning hours with Vera. No boat trips today, but we may find a way to have a nice dinner somewhere this evening. She’s been able to do some exploring during the day, too, taking lots of pictures and doing lots of great shopping.