It's a massive poker tournament in Spain, so it's only natural that Adrian Mateos should be leading the PokerStars Championship Barcelona €50,000 Super High Roller after the first day of play.
Spain's preeminent poker prodigy turned his 250,000 starting stack into 963,000 by day's end, giving him the lead out of the 54 players who made it through the day.
With all of the incredible success Mateos has experienced at such a young age — Mateos is still just 23 — it's perhaps a bit surprising that he hasn't put up more big results in his backyard here in Barcelona. While he has some decent finishes, including 12th place in last year's €50K here, he has yet to make a big final table.
He has, however, had plenty of success in €50K events. Along with the aforementioned cash, Mateos booked a win at PokerStars Championship Monte Carlo for €908,000. He also chopped with Dietrich Fast in the $50K at Seminole Hard Rock this March, banking over $400,000.
Of course, there's still a long way to go in this one as the 54 left represent more than half of the 81 total entries. Players can still enter up to the start of Day 2 on Sunday.
That 81-entry turnout means another strong field has already been secured. It's the third straight year this event has topped 80 entries, and the number is already well past the total of 64 in Monte Carlo, widely renowned as a destination that draws some of the most affluent fields on the planet.
Joining Mateos in the 900,000 club were Chris Kruk (916,000) and Dan Colman (902,000).
Steve O'Dwyer also finished with one of the biggest stacks at 702,000. The American transplant has been one of the most successful players on the high roller circuit in recent years. He looked like he might bag yet another chip lead but slid late.
He did show down one brazen bluff late, putting Daniel Dvoress all in for about 200,000 into a pot of about 320,000 on a king-high board that contained three diamonds and a pair of kings on fourth street. Dvoress couldn't find the call button, and O'Dwyer showed him ace-queen of spades.
Some of the players most relieved to see the end of the day — and the end of their opportunities to reenter — were PokerStars Team Pro Daniel Negreanu, PokerStars Championship Panama €50,000 Super High Roller champ Ben Tollerene and Mikita Badziakouski. All three have invested three shells into this contest, meaning they'll be looking at needing a final table finish to book a profit.
Negreanu had a tough early go of it but managed to double up late when Iranian businessman Ahadpour Khanghah tried to get a check-raise bluff shove by the Canadian on a king-high board with a pair of spades out. Negreanu sighed and called with a pair of nines and a flush draw, but Khanghah could only muster an unimproved pair of fours in the hole and shipped over a double when the river bricked.
Other players making it through included Erik Seidel, Isaac Haxton, Charlie Carrel and PokerStars Team Pro Igor Kurganov.
They'll get back to the action at 12:30 p.m. local time on Sunday at 3,000/6,000/1,000, so head on over to the PokerStars Blog for more live coverage then, and come back to PokerNews for more features.