EPT Grand Final: Final table set
Gavin Griffin isn't the type of guy who walks in a room and starts begging for attention. He's polite at the table and doesn't play to the cameras. So, one might think his pink-hued hair is a bit out of character. Not so. In fact, it's an indication of a bit of altruism on his part.
If you look down at his wrist, you'll see a yellow Livestrong bracelet and a pink bracelet to go with his hair. Today, Andy Black was poking a bit of fun at Gavin's pink 'do. He suggested several possible meanings for the pink. Gavin let Andy go on for a bit before explaining he's planning to walk 39 miles in the Avon Walk for Life breast cancer charity and dyed his hair to go with the pink theme.
Pink is serving Gavin well. The biggest chips in play right now (10,000) are pink and Gavin has collected more of them than anybody at the final table. As we go to the final eight, Gavin, a PokerStars online qualifier, sits on nearly 2.6 million chips.
Here's how the final eight stack up going to the final table (bold type indicates PokerStars qualifier):
Seat 1: Ram Vaswani (UK) 432,000
Seat 2: Steve Jelinek (UK) 758,000
Seat 3: Marc Karam (Canada) 1,742,000
Seat 4: Andy Black (Ireland) 683,000
Seat 5: Soren Kongsgaard (Denmark) 1,612,000
Seat 5: Josh Prager (USA) 1,593,000
Seat 7: Gavin Griffin (USA) 2,597,000
Seat 8: Kristian Kjondal (Norway) 1,203,000
They'll be playing for some of the biggest money you'll see in poker tournaments. Here's what they stand to win.
Ram will be sitting in in Seat #1. He's a man who needs no introduction to serious poker players. A former snooker player turned poker pro, he's the youngest member of the UK's Hendon Mob. He's well-known for playing in some of the biggest cash games around. He's here this week with his family.
Steve Jelinek may not be world famous, but he gets around the UK poker circuit well enough to have won thousands upon thousands of dollars in winnings. Hailing from Manchester, the IT specialist took second place in the 2006 Scottish Poker Championships for £24,000.
Marc Karam is on a quite a run. Not only did he make the EPT Grand Final final table last year, he's also, more recently, made the final tables of a WPT event in Canada and the 2007 Aussie Millions. Known in the online word as Myst, Karam is developing quite a reputation for himself as a final table player.
He was well-known before his 2005 WSOP final table, but Andy Black has become a celebrity since then. The poker player turned Buddhist poker player is as unpredictable at the poker table as he is off it. He should know Marc Karam well. He shared a final table with him at the 2007 Aussie Millions.
Denmark's Soren Kongsgaard is on his way to his second final table this year. He's fresh off a sixth place finish at the Asian Poker Classic in Goa, India.
Josh Prager hails from Yuba City, California. After cashing for $77,000 in the 2005 WSOP, Prager took a year off to be with his new baby. Now, he's back on track. The PokerStars qualifier just cashed in the Aussie Millions (41st place) and is now on his way to posting his biggest ever tournament cash.
Gavin Griffin came to fame in 2005 when he won a World Series of Poker bracelet. Since then, he's become a well-known member of the PokerStars tournament schedule and the brick-and-mortar circuit, as well. He recently took third place in a WSOP Circuit Event. He seems determined to take his chip lead to a first place finish.
Norway's Kristian Kjondal is a high-stakes online player who is working his way into the brick-and-mortar poker world. Still he has yet to make a major final table. He most recently posted a 19th place finish at a WPT event in Canada. Now he sits in fifth place at one of the biggest poker tournaments ever. I'd say he has arrived.
The final table begins at 4pm local time (10am ET) on Monday. You'll be able to watch the whole thing play out on the live streaming coverage at EPT Live. We'll also keep you updated here on the PokerStars Poker Blog.