Television crews, casino staff, dealers and players are currently undergoing last-minute preparations for today’s final table. The returning eight players are already guaranteed a payday of at least €77,400 but all eyes will be on the first prize of €851,400. (A full list of prizewinners to date can be found on the prizewinners page.)

Here are our final table players:

Seat one:
Arnaud Esquevin, France – 483,000

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Esquevin celebrated his 21st birthday last Monday and is here in Deauville playing in his first major live tournament. The young business student lives in Paris and regularly plays in cash games at the Aviation Club de France, the most famous poker club in the country. If he wins today, Esquevin plans to buy a new house and use the rest of his money as a bankroll for games higher than the €5-€5 he currently plays. He will start the final table as a short stack but said, “Anything can happen.”

Seat two:
Jorn Walthaus, 25, Amsterdam, Holland – PokerStars qualifier – 539,000

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Jorn Walthaus (right)

Walthaus is a computer science student at Amsterdam University but admits that poker is slowing his studies down a bit. He qualified for EPT Deauville on PokerStars through a $800 satellite and this is his second major tournament inside a month, having also been at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure. He came to Deauville with his friend Joep van den Bijgaart who also cashed in 34th place.

Seat 3:
Moritz Kranich, 28, Hamburg, Germany – PokerStars qualifier – 1,434,000

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Kranich first started playing poker four years ago, kicking off with free-rolls before progressing to $5 sit n gos. Within four months he had raised his average buy in to $100. In August 2006, the 28-year-old IT student started focusing on multi-table tournaments and last September recorded his biggest win to date: third place in the $1,050 WCOOP second chance tournament for $77,000. He has also won the S109 rebuy tournament on PokerStars. He has made three final tables in major live events, including the German Poker Championship, and he enjoyed his biggest live cash two weeks ago in the $5,000 side event at the PCA, where he earned $19,100 for 12th place.

Seat 4:
Andrea Benelli, 27, Prato, Italy – 1,195,000

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A former computer sales rep, Benelli has been a professional poker player
for about a year. He has played in several EPTs, cashing in London and making the final table in Warsaw, where he came seventh and won €45,745. Benelli said that he would very much like to have supported his good friend Dario Minieri in the high roller event, but instead returned to his hotel room to prepare for the final table ahead.

Seat 5:
Bruno Launais, 22, near Montpellier, France – 402,000

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Launais has been playing poker for four years, earning his prime income from the game for the past year. When he first started playing, he favoured full ring games but now plays mainly heads-up online, multi-tabling at the $10-$20 level. This is his first ever live tournament and won his seat online. His girlfriend Victoria couldn’t make it to Deauville but he is being supported here by a group of friends – and more are arriving before the start of the final table.

Seat 6:
Thomas Delatte, 21, Boulogne-Sur-Mer, France – 233,000

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This is not only Delatte’s first EPT but it is his first major live tournament. He qualified for the event last Friday in one of the €200 live satellites held at Trouville Casino just down the road from Deauville. He normally plays cash games in card rooms in northern France and Belgium but has recently started playing tournaments and has cashed in the past five he played. The former estate agent is the short stack at the table and said: “I’ve nothing to lose. Everything from now on is a bonus. I’m very
happy to have made it this far.”

Seat 7:
Tristan Clemoncon, 19, Bordeaux, France – 1,731,000

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Clemencon was studying economics before turning full time to poker last March. So far it’s proven to be a good decision as the 19-year-old has won close to $100,000 in less than a year. Deauville is his third EPT event, following Prague and Budapest, where he cashed in 49th place. His previous biggest win came at the Aviation Club in Paris but the €77,000 minimum he is guaranteed here will top that.

Seat 8:
Jonathan Azoulay, 29, Paris – 426,000 chips

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Until five years ago, Azoulay used to play quite a lot of poker – mainly cash games in clubs around his home city of Paris. But then he qualified as a dentist and since then he’s had very little time to pursue his hobby. He came to Deauville with a group of friends just for fun and bought in directly to his first major tournament. He said: “We all came along dreaming of making the final table but I still can’t believe I’ve made it.” Jonathan’s girlfriend Laura is heading to Deauville tomorrow to cheer him on.

Here’s what the video blog team made of it all:


Watch EPT Deauville S5: Final Table Introduction (English) on PokerStars.tv

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