Two Triple Crown Hopefuls at EPT Barcelona

As we write this article, the European Poker Tour’s clock is ticking away the last few hours before the much anticipated Barcelona tournament begins. The satellites are still running tonight, but tomorrow the action will be live at the Casino de Barcelona in the Arts Hotel. The EPT Barcelona is scheduled to run from November 22 – November 27 and thus far more than 30 of tour sponsor PokerStars’ pros have committed to competing at the tournaments 20 events.

Most notable among these pros is Daniel Negreanu, not just because he’s on the precipice of overtaking Phil Ivey for the top spot on the lifetime earnings leaderboard, but because “KidPoker” is desperately chasing the game’s much-coveted and only twice attained (by Roland de Wolfe and Gavin Griffin) Triple Crown. With WSOP and WPT titles already under his belt, the only major award that continues to elude Negreanu is an EPT win.

Negreanu has come painfully close to finishing off the Triple Crown three times this year. He managed to win a smaller event at the EPT Vilamoura in September, cashed in the EPT London Main Event, and made it all the way to the final table at the EPT Vienna Main Event last month only to finish in fourth. Early reports suggested that Negreanu might not make it to Barcelona due to an unfortunate oversight involving his expiring passport, but like a true poker player he put his head down and ground his way through the ordeal, arriving in Spain – passport in hand – earlier today. Negreanu will be grinding again on Tuesday when he sits down to compete in Day 1B of the Main Event.

Coincidentally, Negreanu isn’t the only pro hoping to attain the Triple Crown at the EPT Barcelona. Brazilian pro Alexandre Gomes distinguished himself immediately by starting his live poker career with a bracelet win at the 2008 WSOP, won the Bellagio Cup V WPT Championship in 2009, and also cashed at the EPT London Main Event earlier this year, hot on the heels of Negreanu. He’s had five cashes in the 2010 season, but nothing nearing the prestige of a Triple Crown title. Gomes busted out in Day 2 of the same event last year, so here’s hoping he has a more promising start tomorrow.

In addition to Day 1A of the Main Event, tomorrow’s EPT Barcelona schedule also includes the last day of NL Heads Up Event 1, which started today, the last Main Event satellite, and a NL Turbo Bounty.

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