EPT8 Deauville: Pagano looks for first title but Guichard on top going into final


The final table of the PokerStars European Poker Tour Deauville leg plays down to a winner today, the culmination of six days of poker on the Normandy coast. Watch all the action from Deauville on EPT Live Lite by going to PokerStars.tv.

Typically the Deauville leg conjures up a final table to remember, with victories for Lucien Cohen, Jake Cody and Moritz Kranich still fresh in the memory. Today's final should have the makings of another good one, with Team PokerStars Pro Luca Pagano reaching his seventh EPT final table and looking for that first elusive title.

Casino Deauville in the snow

Here's how the final table lines up...

Seat 1: Bruno "bebesse1" Jais, 49, Paris - PokerStars qualifier.fr - 3,450,000
Jais has been playing poker for nearly 20 years including annual trips - since 2002 - to compete in the World Series in Las Vegas. He plays both cash games and live tournaments and occasionally online. His favourite game is PLO8.

Bruno Jais

Jais, who manages a Paris PR agency, qualified thanks to a miss-click. He was planning to compete in a €10 tournament on PokerStars.fr but accidentally registered for a €500 satellite to Deauville instead - and he only had a €501 bankroll.

Besides poker, Bruno devotes much time to golf and his family.

Seat 2: Mick Graydon, 26, Dublin, Ireland - 960,000
Graydon's live poker earnings of $210,107 are dwarfed by the $1,126,450 he's won in online tournaments on PokerStars under the name 'BIGMICKG'. Graydon was the first player from Ireland to achieve Supernova Elite status.

Mick Graydon

"I used to play sit-and-gos but I made the transition to tournaments two years ago," said Graydon, who would have had the chip lead in Tallinn had Ronny Kaiser not beaten his pocket kings with his own ace-king. "I've played every EPT this season. It's brilliant to make the final table. It's why we play poker,"

The online qualifier is guaranteed at least €67,200 today, his third cash of the season, although he returns as the short stack.

"Playing a lot online you learn how to play short stacked," said Graydon. "I think I'm very strong at that so I won't be making too many mistakes."

Seat 3: Olivier Rogez, 34, Paris, France - 4,415,000
Rogez has never cashed in a poker tournament, and won his seat in a €770 live satellite in Deauville a month ago. Rogez, 34, who runs an office cleaning business in Banlieu, Paris, is amazed that he's gone this deep - but is determined not to get flustered.

Olivier Rogez

"I'm very very happy," said Rogez yesterday. "I didn't think I would get this far. Today was a lot of stress but now I'm going to rest and come back tomorrow calm and focused."

Seat 4: Vuong Than Trong, 21, Paris, France - 2,570,000
Computer science student Than Trong discovered poker two years ago at a party with friends. He plays mainly mid-stakes online cash games using the screen-name "Canard_laque" but decided to take part in EPT Deauville on the eve of the tournament after being persuaded by his friend Basil Yaïche that he could do well.

Vuong Than Trong

Throughout the event, Trong has been supported by members of the Club Poker French poker forum as has received advice on tournament play from experts such as Flavian Guenan and Clement Thumy. If he does well at the EPT Deauville final, he plans to take part in a lot more live events, as well as continue with his university studies.

Seat 5: Vadzim "VadziMoney" Kursevich, 24, Minsk, Belarus - 5,670,000
Vadzim Kursevich turns 25 years of age on Wednesday but already has a lot to celebrate having reached the EPT Deauville final table second in chips.

Kursevich has been playing poker for five years, plays live pot-limit Omaha ring games and MMTs. He also competes in the big online tournament series, being involved in a five-way chop in last year's WCOOP Main Event for a $750,000 payday. He has been proudly wearing his WCOOP final table jacket throughout this event.

Vadzim Kursevich

Kursevich's biggest live result came at EPT Berlin last season where he finished third, earning €300,000. He also came 28th in this season's EPT Barcelona event.

Away from poker, Kursevich likes to unwind by watching ice hockey and singing karaoke. Regarding today's final, he said: "I feel pretty comfortable - and ready to compete against my opponents. I've got some chips so we will see."

Seat 6: Paul "OMGpoloker06" Guichard, 19, Nice, France -PokerStars qualifier - 5,955,000
Guichard, who won his seat to EPT Deauville, is an up-and-coming player with good results on PokerStars.fr. He started playing poker with friends when he was 13. Once he could go online, he only made two deposits before building a healthy bankroll. Guichard also started playing live and once he graduated from high school decided to dedicate himself to poker and tennis. He says if he had to stop playing poker, then he'd resume his career as a tennis player.

Paul Guichard

His online winnings already total $140,000 including €13,000 for fourth place in the €500 PokerStars.fr "All Star Game".

His best live result came in Cannes last September where he won a side event worth €15,000. Guichard says he owes much to Clement Thumy, his coach for the last two years.

This was Guichard's first EPT but he says if he finishes in top four today, he'll plans to join the live poker tournament circuit.

Seat 7: Luca Pagano, 33, Milan, Italy - Team PokerStars Pro - 2,010,000
Pagano was one of the very first members of Team PokerStars Pro, joining shortly after the very first Deauville leg in season 1 of the PokerStars.com European Poker Tour.

Before taking up poker, Pagano studied computer programming and also dabbled in the stock market. After discovering PokerStars, Luca began playing at the free money tables, progressing swiftly to real money games.

Luca Pagano

But it's live tournaments where Pagano has really made his name. Deauville marks a record-extending 20th EPT cash for Pagano and his seventh EPT final table. His first was also here - at the very first EPT Deauville in Season 1.

Pagano and fellow Team PokerStars Pro Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier have been juggling first and second place in the EPT All-Time Tournament Leader Board for years but this result puts Pagano back on top.

Pagano's best live result was sixth place at the EPT4 Grand Final worth €337,000; he also came sixth at EPT Dortmund (€153,000) and sixth again at EPT Prague (€100,000) as well as numerous other deep runs. But it was on home soil that the popular Italian finally snagged a major tournament title, winning the PokerStars Italian Poker Tour event in San Remo last July, earning €210,000.

Pagano has nearly $2 million in live tournament earnings and currently lies sixth on Italy's all-time money list. He is being supported in Deauville by his fiancée Elena.

Seat 8: Yorane "viirusss" Kerignard, 26, Aix-en-Provence, France - 1,680,000
Yorane started playing poker after watching a television documentary featuring French singer and film star Patrick Bruel playing against online qualifiers. Now the 26-year-old industrial design graduate plays on PokerStars under the username "viirusss".

Yorane Kerignard

Favouring MTT events, Kerignard's first live cash came in 2009 when he finished fifth in a small buy-in event in Cyprus. But just five months later, he hit the big time, finishing fourth in the Season 6 EPT Copenhagen Main Event for DKr 1,050,000 (around €120,000).

The biggest cash of his career however came last October when he finished fourth at EPT San Remo to earn €130,000. He's also had a number of good EPT side event results including third in the Season 6 EPT Grand Final €1k no-limit hold'em event and fourth in the €2k event the following season.

Kerignard spends most of the year in Marrakech, Morocco, which allows him to play on PokerStars.com. Online, his best result was runner-up in the PokerStars Sunday 500 for $78,500; he also won the PokerStars Super Tuesday for $70,000 in 2009.