EPT Copenhagen: Introducing the finalists

Waiting for the winner

by Simon Young

After three and a bit days, we are down to the last table of eight from the 400 starters. Top of the pile is our own ElkY but, as we have seen countless times before, anything can happen - and it probably will. Here are the finalists:

ElkY, 26, France (Team PokerStars): 1,086,000

ElkY was a highly successful professional gamer until a friend suggested he test his skills by taking up poker. He quickly proved just how skilful he was by qualifying for the WSOP two years running. He joined Team PokerStars last summer. Never without his trademark sunglasses, ElkY has an impressive gaming background (2nd in the first World Cyber Games) but poker has proved a lot more profitable. He cashed at EPT3 Baden in October, coming 16th for €12,578 and is a prolific online player. He said: "With gaming, I could practice 12 hours a day, but if I lost the game, the value would be zero. However, in poker every hour has some benefit."

Richard Toth, 24, Hungary: 814,000

Richard burst onto the scene in the last year, including a superb second in the World Series of Poker $1,500 No Limit event in the summer. That result got him $330,000, but he made another big cash by winning the Austrian Classics €3,000 European Masters Event in October, pocketing another €100,000. This is his third EPT - but the first time he has made it through the first day.

Magnus Petersson, 29, Stockholm, Sweden, (PokerStars cash qualifier): 622,000

Financial advisor Magnus has been playing poker for three years, mainly online, although he is planning to play in more live tournaments from now on. His biggest win to date was $35,000 online but he also cashed at last year's WSOP, coming 438th for $30,000. This is his first EPT - he qualified online with PokerStars in a $530 cash satellite.

Thomas Holm, 30, Copenhagen Denmark: 409,000

Thomas has been playing poker for three years but his final table appearance here in his home city is his biggest poker success to date. This is his first EPT - although he did qualify for last summer's WSOP. Since becoming a dad four months ago, Thomas has been based at home - but used to work as an IT salesman.

Samir Shakhtoor, 30, Malmo, Sweden: 367,000

Samir has only been playing poker two years but has already had some impressive wins including $209,000 in a Foxwoods WPT event in November 2005. He also cashed at EPT3 London, coming 29th for £5,940. His day job is running an online dating site he founded two months ago. He said: "It's actually in Denmark and I commute here from Malmo. No, I do not have a girlfriend but actually I do not date online - I'm still more of the bar type!"

Theo Jorgensen, 34, Copenhagen, Denmark: 305,000

Theo first came to the poker world's attention at EPT2 Deauville where he came fourth for a win of €118,300, showing not just his poker skills but proving he is one of the best chip rifflers on the circuit. He has been playing poker for ten years and turned professional six years ago. He is also distinguished by his famous mushroom-shaped beanie hat. He bought it in Switzerland and started wearing it in Deauville so it has become something of a mascot. He said: "I only wear it when I really need it, so I didn't wear it here for the first two days - but when skill goes out, and luck comes in, then I need my hat. So I'll be wearing it today."

Anders Wijk, 24, Stockholm, Sweden: 255,000

Pro for three years, mainly playing cash games online. Only recently started tournament play. One significant cash coming 7th at the Nordic master of Poker in Sweden last April for €24,000. This is his third EPT this season - he fell just short of the money at EPT3 Dublin, and went out in the first two hours in Baden. "I don't think I have the skills for tournament play. I've been very lucky here." A good player, but modest with it.

Alexandre Poulain, 31, Paris, France (PokerStars cash qualifier): 128,000

Alexandre rode the poker rollercoaster on Day 2 of EPT3 Copenhagen - turning a sickly pile of chips into a final table stack. When Alexandre is not running his discount electronics store in Paris, he - like everyone in his family - is a keen online player with PokerStars. He is also a regular at the Aviation Club which is where he won his first major tournament, picking up the Pot Limit Omaha title - and €25,000 - at the European Finals of Poker Masters last month. A huge football fan, he is wearing the French shirt for his final table appearance.

Ready for the players
Brad Willis
@BradWillis in