For many years, poker tournaments in Europe have visited different casinos in the same city, or tournament venues just miles apart across many European hotspots. But when it comes to Barcelona, there has only been one great place to play great - the legendary Casino Barcelona.
As partypoker LIVE President John Duthie told us when we spoke to him earlier this year about taking the partypoker LIVE tour to Barcelona for the MILLIONS Grand Final:
“It has such a long history. In 2004, when I first started, the very first tournament was in Barcelona. It took a lot of persuading for the casino to embrace poker originally because they didn’t really get it. They still dealt the wrong way round, anti-clockwise. They used to put the flop the wrong way so that you were reading it from right to left, it was all very odd. But the wonderful thing was that they really embraced it and right from the word go it was self-evident that the number of people who turned up that meant it was always going to be popular.”
It is, of course, now one of the most recognised casinos in which to play poker in the entire world. The World Series of Poker may have the Rio, but there is a lack of comfort and charm about any venue large enough to host a NFL match within a cardroom and still have room for hot dog stands. There's something extra about Casino Barcelona. John Duthie again explains:
"Whatever you look like or whatever your opinions are, you feel welcome there. People do like to have other things to do if and when they get knocked out of the tournament. It’s very easy to go out and do other things, more so than at other casinos I’ve been to, because of its location.”
Casino Barcelona is surrounded by beauty, and yet once inside to play poker, the ambience is no different. It is as if the staff have preserved the carefree, almost Bohemian atmosphere on the streets of Barcelona within the walls of a gigantic entertainment hub. That's certainly the feeling many players have about what is, to many, their favourite place to play poker, and certainly in Europe.
Team partypoker's Roberto Romanello and Natalia Breviglieri love it in Barcelona and have always found Casino Barcelona to be a fantastic place to play.
"It's perfect here really, a great place to come and play." said Romanello.
Brevglieri couldn't agree more.
"Barcelona is just so effortlessly cool. Whether you want to party, eat good food, shop or take in the amazing architecture, Barcelona has it all. Its definitely a city that requires no map as getting lost feels like such an adventure. "
Romanello has a great record in Barcelona, having cashed for over €200,000 in Barcelona during his poker career. He's already added €5,500 to that total by finishing 41st in the €1,100-entry Open Event here at the season-ending MILLIONS Grand Final.
"I've been coming to poker festivals in Barcelona for years now and it's fantastic every time." Romanello continues. "It's a great set-up in the casino here, the poker room is nice and airy, everything looks fantastic and the location of the casino is great especially for families. Step out the casino and you're straight onto the beach! There's plenty to do in Barcelona, so there's a good chance to spend some time in the city with your family. My mum and dad came out for the first few days but they've gone home now so I can get my head down for the Main Event."
Roberto Romanello (pictured) in friendly mood at the partypoker LIVE felt
No business is about the bricks and mortar, and casinos always reflect the personality of their staff. Casino Barcelona is supposed to be an experience. A place where players can forget about the travel, the demands of being a poker professional or their regular day-job if they are a recreational player visiting as part of a holiday or poker adventure.
If Casino Barcelona is about one thing, it is putting players first, which is why we had no doubts about where our Season 1 finale had to be. The MILLIONS Grand Final was always going to be huge with €23,000,000 in guarantees across massive tournaments such as the €10,000,000 guaranteed Main Event. But any huge operation can only happen if everyone is pulling in one direction, together. That's only achievable with a devoted staff who are passionate about offering the best poker experience in Europe, as well as our partypoker LIVE tournament staff, of course.
Casino Barcelona makes what is a supreme effort look effortless, and that's down to the dedication of the staff and the culture of the Catalan capital. Truly, it is the casino where dreams come true. Make sure you stay tuned to our live coverage of the MILLIONS Grand Final to find out which three players will become millionaires in the Main Event and who will walk away with the trophy to go with the memories of a very special place to play poker.
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