Eight players will contest the EPT Prague final table, starting at noon on Sunday at the Hilton hotel in the Czech capital. Details of the full prize-pool, and winners so far, is on the prizewinners page.
The chip leader is the only local player remaining in the field, the Prague-based student Jan Skampa.
The full line up is as follows (in seat order):
1 – Anthony Roux, 26, Provence, France – 2,839,000
Anthony Roux was studying accountancy when he first tried online poker. He used to spend his evenings playing the video game Quake 3 when a friend suggested he try Texas hold ’em instead. He deposited $1 and has never looked back. He is now a well-respected high stakes online cash game player at the $10-$20 and $20-$50 limits and turned pro nearly three years ago. Although Roux has played numerous EPT events, this is his first cash on the tour. However, he came fifth at a WSOP $2,000 no limit hold ’em event this summer for $120,311 and followed that up at the WSOPE in London a few months later with another fifth place finish in the £1,000 hold ’em event, winning £28,181.
2 – Stefan Mattsson, 30, Stockholm, Sweden – 3,553,000
A professional player from Sweden, Stefan Mattsson is a familiar figure on the European Poker Tour circuit and has cashed three times – 41st in Barcelona on season four (€12,550), 35th in Prague last season (€9,700) and 37th in Vilamoura two weeks ago where he came 37th for €8,121. This is his first final table. Mattsson has played poker since he was a child and took up Texas hold ’em seven years ago. Although he considers himself primarily a cash game player, Mattsson has notched up more than $800,000 in major tournaments winnings. He first came to international attention when he went deep in the 2006 World Series, finishing 57th for $123,699. The following year he bettered that with a 22nd finish for $333,490. In May 2008 he was runner-up at WPT Barcelona in for €220,000 and this summer came sixth at the pot-limit Omaha World Championship at the World Series. Mattsson grew up in Kiruna in Lappland, Sweden’s northernmost city, but now lives in Stockholm.
3 – Larry Ryan, 46, Tipperary, Ireland, PokerStars qualifier – 1,338,000
Larry Ryan won his seat to Prague in a $22 rebuy satellite on PokerStars and is the last remaining PokerStars qualifier in the tournament. The 46-year-old grandfather, who runs his own employment agency in Tipperary, only came to Prague so that he could gain some experience before the PCA, for which he has also qualified. This is the first tournament he has ever played outside Ireland but he’s a familiar figure on the Irish Poker Tour. Ryan started playing draw poker as a teenager and took up no limit hold ’em six years ago. This is his best live result to date although he came ninth at the Irish Poker Championships in Galway last year for €10,000. He has also won a seat to this year’s Irish Poker Championships which takes place next weekend and is now the launch event for the new PokerStars.com UK and Ireland Poker Tour.
4 – Gustav Ekerot, 22, Stockholm, Sweden – 502,000
Gustav Ekerot started playing poker with friends at school when he was 17. After watching the WPT on television, he started playing some free-rolls online and his success in these gave him the start of an online bankroll. He lives with his parents in Stockholm but is now a full time poker professional and makes his living by competing in online multi-table tournaments. He has also been successful in live events and came second in Master Classics of Poker in Amsterdam last year for €430,000. When not playing poker, Ekerot likes playing indoor hockey.
5 – Sven Eichelbaum, 32, Dresden, Germany – 658,000
Sven Eichelbaum is a painter and decorator who runs his own company in Dresden. He has played poker for three years, both online and live, but the EPT final table in Prague is by far his biggest success so far. Two years ago he finished third at the Baltic Poker Championship for €7,500. “It’s just amazing to make the final table here in Prague,” Eichelbaum said. “I had so many ups and downs.” His girlfriend Stefani has travelled to Prague to cheer him on at the final, and Eichelbaum said: “We’ll be celebrating tomorrow whatever happens in the tournament as it’s also Stefani’s birthday.”
6 – Jan Skampa, 23, Prague, Czech Republic – 3,985,000
Local hero Jan Skampa has made back-to-back final tables – a feat that has not been achieved since season one when Ram Vaswani and Julian Thew both made the finals in Dublin and Copenhagen. Skampa, an economics student in Prague, came fourth two weeks ago in Vilamoura and now has a good chance of bettering that result in Prague. He is already by far the most successful Czech player on the EPT circuit and is third in the Czech all-time money list. Skampa is currently studying at Charles’s University in Prague, his home city, but spends most of his time playing poker. He learned the game from friends and has been playing seriously for three years, scoring his first big result last August at WPT Slovakia, $24,508 for eighth place. He followed that with a win a month later, $24,881 at a WPT Cyprus side event, before eclipsing all previous results with a fourth place finish in Vilamoura worth €117,128.
7 – Eyal Avitan, 34, Ashkelon, Israel – 2,627,000
After finishing day 1b in Prague with only 34,000 chips, Eyal Avitan slipped across the room to enter a $300 turbo side event – and finished second for $13,500. Avitan took up poker six years ago on a Caribbean cruise and although he has only played three live tournaments so far, he has already had reasonable results. In June, he finished seventh in a WPT Barcelona side event and he also came sixth in a $500 WPT Cyprus side event in September. The Israeli estate agent came to Prague with his friend Ran Azor who was runner-up at the WPT Championship in April, winning nearly $1.5 million. Azor has now gone home and Avitan’s wife Karen is back in Israel caring for the couple’s 11-month-old twins Noam and Shani.
8 – Luca Pagano, 31, Treviso, Italy – Team PokerStars Pro – 2,119,000
Luca Pagano has extended his own EPT records in Prague this week by making his sixth final table and his 13th cash. The 31-year-old former computer programming student from Treviso, Italy, kicked off his poker career using play money on PokerStars but soon progressed to real money and turned a modest deposit into a monster online bankroll. He is also hugely successful in live events putting together a small fortune in winnings. He has played dozens of EPT events since the tour started in 2004 and currently leads the EPT Tournament Leader Board. Pagano was nominated EPT Player of the Year in September 2007.