Seat 1: Trond Erik Eidsvig, 23, Aalesund, Norway – 220,000 chips
Trond is truly a poker phenomenon. The young Norwegian is on his third final table in one season of the EPT – a record. He won €250,800 for 5th place in Barcelona at the start of EPT Season 4 and €127,630 for 4th place in Dublin. In November, he won the Master Classics in Amsterdam for a further $896,912. Trond hails from the tiny village of Ǻlesund on the west coast of Norway and only turned professional two years ago. He also cashed at EPT Copenhagen (37th place for €8,491) just a few days after winning the Rookie of the Year Award at the PokerStars Scandinavian Poker Awards.
Seat 2: Christian Öman, 27, Sweden- 110,000 chips
Christian lives in Stockholm where he is a well-known poker club regular. The 27-year-old has played poker full-time for a few years now after taking up the game five years ago. His biggest live win so far has been €6,000 in a local club’s monthly final. This is Christian’s third EPT and so far he has never survived Day 1. He said: “I’m really looking forward to winning today (!) as my shopping trip to Milan has taken a big part of my bankroll.” Before any tournament starts, Christian practices yoga. He considers himself a good “folder” – and we don’t disagree after seeing him survive as a short-stack for so many hours in Warsaw.
Seat 3: Mehdi Ouakhir, 22, Montpellier, France – PokerStars qualifier – 330,000 chips
Business school student Mehdi is having the best tournament of his career so far. He mainly plays tournaments and Sit and Goes online, but the most he’s won so far is $10k. Yesterday was sweet revenge for the former chess player – he busted Sebastian Ruthenberg , payback for when Sebastian busted him at EPT Dortmund in January. Although a French national, Medhi now lives and studies in Agadir, Morocco.
Seat 4: Niclas Svensson, 30, Gothenburg, Sweden – 174,000 chips
Niclas is a full-time poker player and has been for a few years now. He first took up poker five years ago and only plays Texas Hold’em, mainly cash games. This is his second EPT; the last time was London where he was actually bubble boy. He bought himself into both events. When not playing poker, he spends hour after hour watching The Sopranos. Niclas’s biggest win so far was online where he won a tournament for $30k. Niclas lives in Gotheburg with his six-year-old daughter.
Seat 5: Dan Woolson, 22, Worcester, Massachusetts, USA – PokerStars qualifier – 164,000 chips
Dan has had a roller-coaster tournament so far. On Day 1, he quickly amassed 30k, but then bluffed off nearly all his stack and ended the day on 18k. At that point, he was pretty dejected and expecting to bust. But Day 2 he doubled up early with Aces, and then later beat Kenneth Hicks Jr’s AA with 99. Soon after he busted Tyler Netter, again with 99 v AA and ended the Day in 6th place with 188k. In the quick-fire Day 3, he was doubled up Trond Eidsvig but then got some back from Trond with AQ 77. Dan turned pro after graduating from UMAS university a year ago. This is his biggest result so far but he won a PokerStars nightly $100k tourney for $30k last summer. This is his second EPT and he plans to play at the Monte Carlo Grand Final; he busted out of the PCA on Day 1.
Seat 6: Juan Maceiras, 23, La Coruna, Spain – PokerStars qualifier – 437,000 chips
Juan Maceiras narrowly missed the final table at EPT Barcelona (went out in 9th). He comes from La Coruna in Galicia but is currently studying international business in St Louis, Missouri after getting his law degree in Spain. He is now seriously considering turning pro much like his sister Maria – the Spanish poker champion – and his father Juan Antonio “Vietcong01” Barros who won the PokerStars Sunday Million last July, and a week later the PokerStars Warm-up. What is truly remarkable is that the whole family only took up poker two years ago.
At present, Juan mainly plays live games in casinos in St Charles. About his prospects today, he said: “I was really disappointed at EPT Barcelona. I made a big mistake there, but I’ve learned from that and aim to win today.” Juan is being supported in Warsaw by his girlfriend Beatriz.
Seat 7: Michael Schulze, 40, Schleswig , Germany – 1,162,000 chips
Chip leader Michael bought in direct to EPT Warsaw having already played in Copenhagen and Dortmund without much success. He only took up poker four years ago and is strictly a recreational player. He sid: “I only play for fun, the money doesn’t really matter to me. Even if I win first prize today, it won’t affect me too much on the financial side of things.” Asked about his play so far, Michael replied: “I got lucky and get good cards, and they help up.” Whatever happens today, Michael is already planning to play in San Remo as well.
Seat 8: Ricardo Sousa, 30, Oporto, Portugal –756,000 chips
Ricardo has attended almost all this season’s EPTs but this is his first cash and the best tournament result of his career so far. The former financial risk management consultant only turned pro in September 2007 and normally only plays high-stakes cash games. He said: “Because I usually play cash, wining just a few thousand isn’t what I came here for. All I’ve been thinking about is making the final table.” Ricardo’s wife Florbella and two-year-old son Gonçalo are supporting him from home in Oporto. He said: “I feel pretty confident about today, but these are really good players and anything could happen. The skill level is very high – I’ll need some luck as well.”
Seat 9: Mathias Viberg , 23, Sweden – PokerStars qualifier- 229,000 chips
Mathias is 23 years old and lives in Boden in the centre of Sweden. He has been playing poker for four years and qualified through PokerStars to EPT Warsaw – his first EPT. He has lived on his poker skills for the last two years and mostly plays cash games. His biggest win so far was $35,000 in an online tournament. When not playing poker, he spends a lot of time with his friends and his girlfriend.