EPT9 Barcelona: Final table player profiles

ept-thumb-promo.jpgThe final table of the EPT Barcelona main event takes place at Casino Barcelona in Spain on Saturday 25 August, 2012.

The final table players, with their biographies and starting chip counts are below.

Full coverage of the PokerStars.com Barcelona Poker Festival can be found at the PokerStars Blog.

The prize pool was €5,247,700, with the winner taking €1,007,550.

Seat 1: Anaras Alekberovas , 21, Vilnius, Lithuania - PokerStars qualifier


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The 21-year-old Anaras Alekberovas is a full-time online poker player from Vilnius. He picked up the game in 2008, when he turned 18, and scored his biggest win when he collected around $47,000 for finishing second in a major tournament. These days he usually plays no limit heads up tournaments. The EPT9 Barcelona main event, which marks his first long run in a live event, is already now the biggest cash of his career - 4,430,000 chips

Seat 2: Ilari Sahamies, 29, Helsinki, Finland


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Ilari Sahamies is a high-stakes Finnish professional poker player known for frequenting the highest games in the world, especially online, where he is most commonly known as "Ziigmund". (He plays as Ilari_FIN on PokerStars.) Sahamies' specialty is pot limit Omaha, where his antics in the chat box have also made him one of the most compelling players to watch. Sahamies first got into poker at 15 when he reportedly joined the home game of another famous Finnish player, Patrik Antonius. From there, Sahamies began playing more and more live poker before transitioning into becoming an online phenom. - 7,885,000 chips

Seat 3: Antonin Duda, 25, Jablonec, Czech Republic - PokerStars qualifier


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Describing himself as a "mid-stakes" chess player, who only began playing poker regularly one year ago, Antonin Duda was the chip leader at the end of Day 3 in Barcelona and has navigated all the way to the final. He is an economics student, who supplements his income by playing chess and online poker, specialising in multi-table tournaments of buy-ins from $200-$2,000. This is by far his biggest live score - his previous best result before now was a $723 min-cash in a tournament in Prague last year. He won his seat to EPT Barcelona in a €22 re-buy event on PokerStars in early June. 3,445,000 chips

Seat 4: Samuel Rodriguez, 25, Barcelona, Spain - PokerStars qualifier


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Samuel Rodriguez is a student in Barcelona and won his seat to the EPT stop in his home town on PokerStars for €100. He is now the only Spanish player remaining and could become the first ever Spanish EPT champion if he wins the €1,007,550 first prize. Rodriguez plays in local poker games but nothing as large as the EPT. He has chosen the largest tournament ever held in Spain (with 1,082 players) to make his live major tournament debut. Rodriguez, who also works in a hotel, was chip leader at the start of Day 5. - 6,450,000 chips

Seat 5: John Juanda, 41, California, USA


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John Juanda is by far the most decorated player at the EPT9 Barcelona Main Event final table, at least in terms of live tournament success. Juanda has been playing poker professionally since 1996, giving up a career as a bible salesman, and has amassed career earnings of more than $12.4 million, including five World Series bracelets. That puts him eighth on the all-time money list. Juanda will be looking to top his best finish on the EPT to date - a second place showing at the 2010 EPT London Main Event (£545,000). John Juanda moved from Indonesia to the USA 20 years ago to study, and now lives in Tokyo, Japan. - 1,890,000 chips

Seat 6: Joni Jouhkimainen, 20, Helsinki, Finland


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Joni Jouhkimainen turned pro at 18, playing events across Europe. Already he is turning heads in the Finnish poker community, impressing with a string of live results that many think will elevate him to the ranks of countrymen Patrik Antonius, Juha Helppi, Sami Kelopuro, Ville Wahlbeck and Sahamies. He won the European Masters of Poker in March, before returning to his home town of Helsinki in June, going deep in two events at the Midnight Sun 2012. A month later he came second in the iGame Open in Prague, heading to Barcelona last week where he finished third in the Estrellas High Roller final for €35,690. - 1,510,000 chips

Seat 7: Mikalai Pobal, 28, Minsk, Belarus


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Relatively new to the live poker scene, Mikalai Pobal has only one live cash on record to date - a 104th place finish at the EPT Berlin main event in April (€7,500). Pobal plays on PokerStars under the name "leanod" and says his best result online is a third place finish in the Sunday Million, though he has won a handful of smaller re-buy events. He studied International Economic Relations at Belarus State Economic University - a decision that seems to be paying early dividends. Already guaranteed to win at least €76,100, Pobal's performance here will the largest cash of his career so far. - 4,410,000 chips

Seat 8: Sinel Anton, 43, Bucharest, Romania


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If Sinel Anton wins the EPT Barcelona main event, he will jump from 113th to third on the Romania all-time money list - two places behind his brother Ionel, who leads the table. Anton, who co-runs an estate agency with Ionel, has been playing poker for around two years. He mainly plays live, and always tournaments and his best result before now was 85th at EPT Prague last season for €9,000. - 2,355,000 chips

Howard Swains
@howardswains in European Poker Tour