The total turnout for the EPT Grand Final Main wound up being 1,098 players, not quite twice the 564 who played in it a year ago. The pic above came from one of the Day 1 flights, when most of the field was still in it. (In fact, technically speaking, I took the photo, although was only aiding PokerStars blog photog Neil Stoddart with some remote-button pushing.)
The increase, of course, came from the buy-in being halved from a €10K to €5K, and so the total prize pool is close to the same.
The lower buy-in has meant a much different make-up of players. It’s still a pretty tough tournament field, as is the case at all the EPT Mains, although not quite as consistently difficult as was the case a year ago. During the early days of the event you didn’t necessarily encounter one example after another of those “tables of death” containing more immediately recognizable top pros than non-familiar faces.
The fact that this year’s field also included 121 players who qualified after winning €10 buy-in Spin & Gos on PokerStars (no shinola). I believe nine of those players cashed and three are still in the sucker. That, too, has obviously affected the general make-up of the field somewhat, adding a bit of diversity to the players’ general skill level.
As much as I enjoy watching and learning from high-level, consistently strong poker, I think I better enjoy covering tournaments where it isn’t necessarily the case that “everyone is solid.” In fact, I think there’s sometimes more to learn from watching those kinds of games, as watching players make less than optimal plays (or outright mistakes) sometimes more obviously demonstrates what good, sound play actually is.
In any event, I’ll be moving around some here as the festival plays out, shifting over to the €10K High Roller, too, to wind things up where I’ll expect a lot of error-minimizing elites will be taking part. Keep checking the PokerStars blog for continuing updates of both the Main and the HR.
Photo: courtesy Neil StoddartPokerStars blog.