Spanish Poker Championship Sets Attendance Record

Posted on: October 17, 2022, 11:03h. 

Last updated on: October 17, 2022, 11:52h.

The PokerStars-sponsored Spanish Poker Championship (CEP, for its Spanish acronym) wrapped up its latest stop, with Casino Marbella playing host to the largest field ever for the tour.

CEP Casino Marbella
Poker players compete in a Spanish Poker Championship tournament at Casino Marbella. The turnout for the event was better than expected, and shows a trend of continuing improvement for live poker tournaments in the country. (Image: Casino Marbella)

Following a two-and-a-half-year break because of COVID-19, the CEP hit Casino Marbella earlier this month. The main event was bigger than even organizers expected, pulling in almost 500 players and continuing to push the envelope on participation.

The turnout drove the prize pool to €320,000 (US$313,952), making it one of the highest prize pools in recent years. Next up is a stop in Peralada, which gets underway in a few weeks.

Living the Poker Life on the Med

Casino Marbella on Spain’s southern Mediterranean Coast became the go-to for poker players across Spain. In addition to the €500 (US$490) main event, there were a number of preliminary tournaments, each with their own satellites.

More than 1,000 players, including some of the most recognizable faces on the Spanish poker scene, descended on the casino to test their skills in various levels of competition. Antonio Galiana, after three days of card-slinging action, took down the main event and the lion’s share of the €207,360 (US$203,565) prize pool.

Satellites into the main event began on Saturday, October 8. Through a series of qualifiers, 171 hopefuls competed for a chance at the big event. In addition to the 46 qualifiers who gained access through five in-person satellites, there were also over 150 entries through PokerStars’ online satellites.

The main event began its Day 1A on Thursday, October 13, and things continued to improve. Two hundred players began the challenge and a run toward the final table. This was a prelude to Friday’s Day 1B session, when another 290 entries joined. By the time the Day 1 sessions concluded, there was a total of 490 entries.

The CEP continues to grow each year, even though it had a hiatus during the COVID-19 pandemic. The High Roller, with a buy-in of €1,100 (US$1,079), also did well, attracting 79 players and awarding €22,000 (US$21,584) to the top finisher, Juan Pardo.

The Casino Marbella stop achieved a new status among poker tournaments in Spain. Some 3,500 visitors were on hand at some point during the action to cheer on their favorites.

One More Stop Coming

The Marbella event was the penultimate stop for the CEP this year. It is now packed up and ready to move to its final tournament, which Girona’s Casino Peralada will host.

Casino Peralada is located close to Spain’s border with France and a little to the north of Barcelona. Earlier this year, the CEP’s second-largest event ever was held in Barcelona.

That built on the 873 entries from 2019, the highest at the time. The results this year following a return from COVID-19 show that Spain’s poker scene continues to draw greater interest.

If the Barcelona stop and the success in Marbella are any indication, the final stop should also be a hit with poker players. The CEP will run from November 23 to November 27, with more details forthcoming.