Despite being traditionally the quietest leg of the Estrellas Poker Tour, there was a good turnout yesterday at the Casino Valencia for Day 1A of the Main Event
The ESPT Valencia Main Event got underway yesterday with 143 players ponying up the €1,100 buy-in or qualifying online at PokerStars.es – a decent result considering the ailing fortunes of the Spanish online poker market – and, after nine levels of action, local player Eduardo Revert leads the sixty-two survivors after bagging up 148,500 chips.
Revert practically led from the start to the finish of the day, having increased his opening chip stack of 20,000 chips to over 100,000 chips before the end of level 5 – courtesy of a rivered King-high flush – and he maintained his momentum thereafter through to the close of play.
Revert has been a Day 1A chip leader before in a major live poker tournament – having built a massive opening flight lead in last year´s Cirsa Poker Tour at the same venue in Valencia – and he will be hoping that he has a better Day 2 of the ESPT Main Event than his previous experience in Valencia, when he blew a 90K chip advantage and finished out of the money.
Gomez and Mihairinzis Head Chasing Pack
Christian Pacheco Gomez ensured that it was a Spanish one-two at the top of the leaderboard by enjoying an excellent final level to bag and tag 147,800 chips at the end of the day – less than one big blind behind the chip leader – with Romanian poker player Daniel Mihairinzis back in third, carrying forward 135,000 chips into Friday´s Day 2.
Several big names tumbled out of the ESPT Valencia Main Event on Day 1A – including PokerStars-sponsored pro Juan Manuel Pastor, who lost most of his stack during Level 7 in a AJ < TT flip, before running A4 into an opponent´s pocket Kings for what was left of his stack. Pastor was joined soon after by Dutch poker star Pieter de Korver, whose pocket Eight´s failed to improve past his the pocket Nines of Valerio Bartorelli.
Estrellas Regulars Make a Good Show
The day also featured the second, third and fourth-placed players in the record-breaking ESPT Madrid Main Event that was played in February; with runner-up Jesus Alfaro (27,800 chips) and third-placed Heinz Traut (23,900 chips) faring better than fourth placed Raijmond Slabbekoorn – who was one of the first players to be eliminated from the ESPT Valencia Main Event.
Another player surprisingly down towards the foot of the chip stacks is Pablo Gordillo. Readers of PokerNewsReport will recall that Gordillo came close to winning the EPT Vienna Main Event last week – but after seeing his chip stack rise to over 70,000 chips by the dinner break, it declined during the later levels to be little more than what it was at the beginning of the day – 23,500 chips.
So, What´s Wrong with Spanish Poker?
Despite a good turnout for the first opening flight of the ESPT Valencia Main Event, the vultures are circling for poker in Spain – particularly online poker. Pablo Gordillo – who plays on PokerStars.es as “gordonk” – said in an interview during the EPT Vienna that his cash of €262,150 was going to fund a move to the UK to play on PokerStars.com due to liquidity issues and high personal taxation in Spain.
It has also been chronicled that a large number of Spanish poker players are considering a move to Portugal so that they can play on European .com poker sites where larger player pools exist – especially after it was reveal that the Spanish gambling authorities are putting their efforts into regulating online bingo and slots rather than pursuing shared liquidity with the (bigger) Italian market.
Spanish Players Choose to Play Away
Net online poker winnings in Spain are currently taxed at 25%, and players do not get the option of whether or not to declare poker profits as it is a condition of the poker operator´s license that they provide a financial report to the Hacienda (Spanish tax office) each year. Consequently – according to a recent report by EGR Insights – 41% of online poker players in Spain choose to play at unregulated .com sites.
A similar taxation issue applies in live casinos, which have taken a hit in attendance due to the Hacienda using the HendonMob.com database to track live poker results and the recently-imposed smoking ban – the ban resulting in Sheldon Adelson pulling out of his multi-billion “EuroVegas” project at the end of last year when the Spanish government would not grant him an exception to the non-smoking law.
That would imply that Spanish politicians are less corruptible than Republican presidential candidates!