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Welcome to the final table of EPT Kyiv. The following eight players will today play down to a winner; there will be a new champion and the first in a CIS country.

Here is some brief biographical information about those players — get used to it, especially if you’re listening to EPT Live, where it will be repeated over and over again before you can remember it by rote. (We share our information.)

Seat 1: Vadim Markushevski, 22, Minsk, Belarus – 1,662,000 chips

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Markushevski doesn’t consider himself a professional poker player but he has had some pretty astounding results for a “recreational” player. Last year he won close to a million dollars when he came fourth in a 2008 WCOOP event and he followed that up in January this year by coming second in the inaugural PokerStars.net Russian Poker Tour event in St Petersburg in January. Although he still spends most of his time running his business, Markushevski is also reaping rich rewards with his part-time poker hobby.

Seat 2: Lucasz Plichta, 22, Gdansk, Poland – PokerStars FPP qualifier – 731,000 chips

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Plichta qualified for EPT Kyiv in a 2,500 frequent player point satellite only two weeks before the event began. Effectively, that means he has free-rolled his way to the best result of his poker career to date. Plichta. who is currently studying economics at Gdansk University, has been playing poker for nearly three years and has already notched up some good online results. His best so far was fourth place in a $650 no limit hold ’em event for which he won around $55,000. Plichta was the only representative of Poland at EPT Kyiv and has now made it to the final eight.

Seat 3: Adrian Schaap, 45, Rotterdam, Holland – 520,000 chips

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Schaap, who owns a chain of American grill style restaurants, has been playing recreational poker for five years. He frequently plays on the European Poker Tour and has cashed in two main events so far: in Prague on season four and in Monte Carlo last season. In the past year, he has also taken up playing cash games among top Dutch pros, including Marc Naalden. He is hoping his two daughters will be able to fly out to cheer him on at the final but even if they can’t, he has few friends here who will support him, including Raoul Refos. Making the final is Schaap’s dream and now he dreams of winning the event, in the process becoming the third consecutive Dutch winner of an EPT after Constant Rijkenberg and Pieter de Korver.

Seat 4: Arthur Simonyan, 43, from Moscow, Russia – 531,000 chips

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A businessman from Moscow, Simonyan started playing poker in 2006 and has now turned professional. He only plays live tournaments and specialises in no-limit hold ’em multi-table events. His best result to date was in 2007 when he won $10,000 in a local Moscow event.

Seat 5: Torsten Tent, 31, Korbach, Germany – PokerStars qualifier – 264,000 chips

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Tent is a production manager for a large tyre manufacturer in Germany and plays poker for a hobby, where he’s recently been enjoying considerable success. He won a World Series package on PokerStars this sumer but unfortunately couldn’t find time to get to Las Vegas and he also won his seat for EPT Kyiv online in a $11 rebuy satellite. His favorite game is pot limit Omaha and he usually plays the lower stakes online. “When I’m at home surfing the internet, I’m usually playing poker online at the same time,” he said. “There is always space for a table on the desktop. Tent will celebrate his success here in Kyiv with friends from Germany and Austria who also played the Main Event.

Seat 6: Maxim Lykov, 21, Moscow Russia – 2,597,000 chips

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Lykov was overnight chip leader on day three and retained the lead for much of the penultimate day’s play, until his one-man mission to eliminate the short stacks backfired slightly. He’s a professional poker player and specialises in multi-table no limit hold ’em tournaments, both online and offline. Known as “Decay”, Lykov has already had considerable success in the internet card-rooms but cemented his reputation as a good live player by coming third in the $5k no limit hold ’em shootout at the World Series this summer. The win netted him $145,000 at his first WSOP.

Seat 7: Alexander Dovzhenko, 45, Kiev, Ukraine – 1,590,000 chips

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Dovzhenko is the oldest player at the final table and has a string of results going back many years, reflecting 15 years’ experience in the game. Making the final table in Kyiv is his best live result to date although he cashed three times at the World Series this summer and came 56th at EPT San Remo last season for €13,700. The former chess player started his poker career with seven-card stud and it is still his favourite game. Dovzhenko, who plays online as “berserk64”, is a close friend of the Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravchenko. Coming up to congratulate his friend, Kravchenko said: “He is a very good player, one of the best in Ukraine. I would say he was a favourite to win this event.”

Seat 8: Vitaly Tolokonnikov, 22, Moscow, Russia – 1,019,000 chips

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Tolokonnikov started playing poker about three-and-a-half years ago while studying at university. He is now a professional player, dividing his time between playing live and online. His favorite game is Texas hold ’em and the best result of his career to date is making the PokerStars EPT Kyiv final table.

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