Seat 1: Andreas “daskalos20” Christoforou, 32, Nicosia, Cyprus – 2,560,000
Andreas Christoforou has been a professional multi-table tournament player for the last four years. The Cypriot plays all the Sunday majors and made a Super Tuesday final table on PokerStars as recently as July playing under the name “daskalos20”. Christoforou also plays as “o daskalos” on Full Tilt and has cashed for more than $1.25m across the two sites. This is already his largest live cash but he had a couple of deep runs at the WSOP where small cashes could have been bigger.
“I will do my best but I know it’s tough … I’m an experienced player, I know what to do, but I have to be lucky as well,” said Christoforou.
Seat 2: Kimmo Kurko, 30, Tampere, Finland – 2,265,000
Kurko is a full-time poker player who turned pro in 2008 after a win in Helsinki. He followed this up a year later by winning an EPT5 Sanremo €2,000 event for €220,000. It was enough to make him a regular on the European circuit, with earnings to date of more than $1,100,000. Pokeritieto.com reporter Juhani Tyriseva said: “He’s a lot like Juha Helppi. He doesn’t make many mistakes.”
Seat 3: Pasi Sormunen, 41, Riihimaki, Finland – 3,070,000
Sormunen, 41, is a businessman who considers himself a recreational player after taking up the game three years ago. Like his fellow Finn Kimmo Kurko, Sormunen’s first major successes came at home where he finished third in a tournament for €54,669 in 2010 and then won the 2012 Helsinki Freezeout for €69,112.
Pokeritieto.com reporter Juhani Tyriseva said: “He’s not afraid to put his chips in. And that’s his strength. No fear, it’s just for fun.” Proof of this swashbuckling approach was all too clear at EPT London in March, when he tried to bluff Ruben Visser with ace-high. Visser showed a full house and went to win the title, Sormunen finished 15th for £20,000.
Seat 4: Tom “hitthehole” Middleton, 26, Leeds, UK – PokerStars qualifier – 9,850,000
Middleton has put in a strong performance at EPT Barcelona and it is not really surprising that he has made the final – having been the overnight chip leader for the last two nights. Middleton – known as Middy to his friends (who include Team PokerStars Pro Jake Cody et al) – is a high stakes online player with numerous big online scores to his name including second place in a multi-entry $1k event on Full Tilt Poker for $160,000, winning a Full Tilt Poker $1k for $97,000 and taking third in a WCOOP $500 rebuy for $84,000. He also has a string of live tournament results with winnings totalling nearly $1 million. He won his seat to EPT Barcelona on PokerStars in June.
Seat 5: Eduard Bhaggoe, 37, Rotterdam, Netherlands – 1,615,000
Bhaggoe is a recreational player who doesn’t play online but enjoys the live poker scene enormously. He has been playing poker for around seven years, mainly in Holland. This is his third EPT – he also competed at EPT Berlin and Dortmund. At last season’s EPT Barcelona, Bhaggoe’s wife Siema played the Main Event but was eliminated just short of the money on Day 3 by Team PokerStars SportStar Fatima Moreira de Melo. This time around, Siema is railing him, alongside his brother who also plays poker from time to time.
Seat 6: Luca Fiorini, 43, Rome, Italy – PokerStars qualifier – 4,610,000
Fiorini used to run a franchise chain of estate agents in Rome but gave it up to focus on poker. He has been playing poker seriously for around four years now. He only ever plays tournaments, travelling once a month to destinations around his native Italy including Sanremo. He also plays online where his best result was finishing second in a PokerStars.it Sunday Special for €20,000. He came to Barcelona without his girlfriend Romana because he says he needs to concentrate but joked: “If I win, we’ll get married, buy a house and have children. Not if I come second though!” Fiorini won his seat to Barcelona on PokerStars.it.
Seat 7: Kresten Nielsen, 25, Haslev, Denmark – PokerStars qualifier – 7,300,000
Kresten Nielsen is known as ‘The Killer’ in his native Denmark. This is his first big live cash but he has scored a couple of chunky cashes playing at PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker. He’s played some EPTs before though. His first was particularly memorable:it was in 2008 in Copenhagen and he knocked out so many players on the first day that the local Ace magazine put him on the cover of their daily news letter, naming him “The Killer”. The name has stuck. Nielsen won his seat to EPT Barcelona in a €320 Deep Hyper-Turbo qualifier in June.
Seat 8: Benoît “beubeu08bg” Gury, 35, Ardennes, France -PokerStars.fr sponsored player – 5,610,000
Gury discovered poker in 2008 during an evening with friends. He started playing live cash games and, motivated by his success, then started playing on PokerStars. He also started watching a lot of videos, including EPT finals.
He started playing live tournaments at the end of 2009 but the turning point in his poker career was when he qualified for the 2012 French TV show “Direct Poker” and won it. Gury’s prize was a sponsorship contract with PokerStars.fr worth $100,000 in tickets for EPTs, France Poker Series tourneys and the French Championship of Online Poker. His biggest cash before now was making the final of a PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final €1k side event for €4,700.