The final table of the European Poker Tour London leg begins today, the record field of 848 players having been whittled away to just eight after four days of play.
The action is due to start at around noon today, with live streaming of the action available on EPTLive.com. You can also find near minute-by-minute coverage right here on the PokerStars Blog from start to finish.
It looks poised to be a good one with Kyle Bowker and John Juanda neck-and-neck for the lead, a long way ahead of the competition. So who are they and who are the others? Funny you should ask….
Seat 1: David Vamplew, 23, Fife, Scotland – 3,670,000 chips
Vamplew has played poker since 2005 and turned pro after graduating from Edinburgh University last year with a maths degree. Normally an online cash player Vamplew started playing live tournaments this year, cashing once before, a 106th place finish worth $6,000 in a WSOP $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em event this year.
This is only his second EPT and he’s here with poker playing friends Nick Risk and Max Silver. He is also hoping his Mum will travel down to support him.
Seat 2: Tom Marchese, 23, Parsipity, New Jersey, USA – 1,480,000 chips
Originally an online cash game grinder, Marchese made his mark on the live tournament in spectacular fashion in February this year, winning the inaugural PokerStars.net North American Poker Tour event at the Venetian, in Las Vegas. The $827,648 victory came only a few weeks after his third place finish in the $3,300 No-Limit Hold’em championship at the Borgata Winter Open for $190,027.
Marchese began playing online while at college, spending the last few years fine tuning his skills as “kingsofcards” on PokerStars, earning more than $350,000 in online multi-table tournaments. Since the NAPT Marchese has had results in Monte Carlo and the World Series, amounting to more than $1,6 million this year.
Seat 3: Fernando Brito, 51, Salvador da Bahia, Brazil – 1,100,000
Brito, a business man from Portugal, who now lives in Brazil, owns factories in Angola and “fazendas” (large farms) in Brazil. Married and with four children, Brito first started playing poker a year and a half ago, starting online on PokerStars while also enjoying live play, finishing 53rd in the EPT Grand Final earlier this year.
Brito is a regular on the Latin American Poker Tour, reaching several side event finals, although main event success eludes him. He is currently considering retiring from business in order to play more around the world. He is being railed here in EPT London by his Brazilian poker buddies, Team PokerStars Pros Gualter Salles, André Akkari and Alex Gomes.
Seat 4: Per Ummer, 44, Cyprus – 1,245,000
Ummer was born and raised in Sweden but has lived in Cyprus for many years. Ummer was a software developer, and his familiarity with the internet led him to online poker. While mainly a cash game player he competed at the Barcelona Open in 2004 where he cashed in one of the preliminary events.
The following year, he came 44th in the $25,000 Monte Carlo Millions while his best live result was at the WPT LA Poker Classic in 2006 – where he came 6th for a $200,000 payday. He was also a finalist in the Bellagio Cup in Vegas in 2008 and has cashed in several other tournaments since that time, including a 2007 World Series of Poker event.
Seat 5: Artur “wesylaa” Wasek, 35, Plock, Poland – PokerStars qualifier – 2,250,000 chips
Wasek has been playing poker for over two years now, becoming an EPT regular. The Pole won his seat to EPT London in a $22 re-buy satellite on PokerStars. He first came to the poker world’s attention earlier this year when he made the final EPT Berlin, his first appearance on the tour, finishing fourth earning €280,000.
A few weeks later he finished fifth in a €500 side event at EPT Snowfest, in Austria. Online, his biggest success was fifth place in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-up for $37,000. He is married with a six-year-old daughter Susanne.
Seat 6: Kayvan Payman,, 33 Vancouver, Canada – 1,295,000
Vancouver native Kayvan Payman has been playing poker for around ten years. He’s had some decent results – his biggest online win was for around $40,000, and he has picked up a few other five-figure paydays – but isn’t a pro, making most of his living trading in stocks instead.
Most of his live results have been in his native Canada, but he finaled the €1,000 side event at EPT Tallinn, and cashed in the £2,500 six-max event at the WSOPE just a few weeks ago. Wherever he finishes here in London, this will be his biggest ever live cash.
Seat 7: Kyle “kwob20” Bowker, 27, Walton, NY, USA – 7,165,000 chips
As a professional, Bowker’s tournament winnings total more than $800,000. His first major results was a deep run at the 2006 World Series of Poker Main Event, where he finished 37th earning $247,000.
A few weeks later Bowker made poker history when he became the first player to win two PokerStars World Champion of Online Poker bracelets in one year, first taking down the 2006 WCOOP Limit Omana Hi-Lo event, worth $103,162, then the Seven Card Stud High/Low event a week later for an additional $68,267. His winnings on PokerStars now exceed a million dollars.
Seat 8: John Juanda, 39, Las Vegas, USA – 7,075,000 chips
John Juanda moved from Indonesia to the USA in 1990, enrolling at Oklahoma University. He has since gone on to become one of the world’s most successful poker players, with more than $10.5 million in tournament winnings – a far cry from his days as a door-to-door salesman selling bibles.
Juanda has four World Series of Poker bracelets to his name, including one for winning the 2008 World Series of Poker Europe Main Event for £868,000. A few weeks after that he came second to Team PokerStars Pro Jason Mercier in the London EPT £1 Million Showdown, earning another £327,000. London has proven to be a happy hunting ground for Juanda, who starts the final close to the chip lead.