Winamax Pro, Manuel Bevand, ends Day 1A of WPT Barcelona with the chip lead; MacPhee, Vandersmissen & Pesonen in hot pursuit.
As the eleventh season of the World Poker Tour (WPT) comes to a close, it’s the Catalonian capital of Barcelona that hosts the final European soiree; before climaxing with stops in Florida and the piece de resistance: The WPT Championships at The Bellagio.
It’s been a difficult season for the WPT, with a calendar chocked full of live tournaments and a player base struggling for funds. But there was still an expectation of a 200+ field to show up at the Casino Barcelona in the heart of the trendy Olympic Port. Day 1A found 106-players eager to put in a shift and so it seems that the WPT are on target for another 200+ field.
Of the 106-players who paid €3,200+€300 for the chance to be crowned WPT Barcelona champion a sensible number of 59 made it through to the second day of action. The man at the helm is the experienced Frenchman Manuel Bevand who finished the day with 141,200 chips and a smile that stretched from ear to ear.
The member of the Winamax team of pros always looks as if he should be teaching philosophy, playing chess with old folk or listening to Jazz in a quiet bar somewhere. I would call him the Daddy of the Winamax team, but when it comes to amassing big chip stacks, early doors; there is no one better. But what is sorely missing from Bevand’s repertoire is that finishing touch. There’s a long way to go, but I always expect the early chip leaders to go deep, and it remains to be seen if Bevand is ready to add a title to his Hendon Mob stats after a seven-year hiatus.
Day 1A enticed some of the biggest names in Europe and pulled a whole host of players from the U.S. When you consider that the World Series of Poker (WSOP) was making its debut Down Under for the inaugural Asia-Pacific tournament, they did pretty well. One of the big U.S names to make it through to Day Two was a man who has been in the headlines for all of the wrong reasons: Kevin MacPhee. His two-year relationship with the PokerStars Team Pro, Liv Boeree, hit the rocks and the lighthouse keeper must have been outside having a sneaky cigarette, because the whole relationship ended up smashed to smithereens. MacPhee looked like he had lost a lot of weight, but he shrugged it all off, settled down and played a great game of poker finishing with 95,400 in chips.
Joining MacPhee and Bevand in the Day Two tombola were the likes of Daniel ‘Jungleman’ Cates, Toby Lewis, Steve O’Dwyer and the former WPT Season VIII Player of the Year (POY) Faraz Jaka, but it will be interesting to see if Jaka will forfeit his stack and re-enter with a full 30,000 as he ended the day on a lowly looking 14,200.
It will be interesting to see the quality that turns up on Day Two; but there will be a whole raft of re-entries from those who failed to make the grade during Day 1A. They include the man currently tying in firstplace in the Season XI WPT Player of the Year race, Matt Salsberg, the youngest-ever WPT Champion Lukas Berglund and former champions Davidi Kitai and Guillaume Darcourt.
Day 1B action starts at 14:30 (CET).
*images courtesy of WPT Europe’s Flickr Photostream