EPT10 Grand Final: Super High Roller final table player profiles
Seat 1: Dan Cates, 24, Maryland, USA - 2,341,000
Dan Cates's live tournament winnings currently total more than $1.2 million but he is by far better known for his online play, where, as "jungleman12", he is one of the biggest winners in the biggest games in the world. Cates began playing poker when he was 17 and has previously said that he was such a big loser at first that he even took a job at McDonald's to bolster his bankroll. He studied economics at the University of Maryland before dropping out of college to make poker a full-time career, and eventually began to show dramatic profit. According to an article on Pocket Fives, Cates was up by $200,000 in the first week of 2014 and by March was up about $1.75 million. "I don't keep track but I'm up a six-figure sum for the year," Cates said. "Maybe a seven-figure sum."
Seat 2: Richard Yong, 56, Hong Kong - 1,301,000
Richard Yong is best known as a successful businessman, but has already accrued live tournament poker winnings of more than $3.6 million after taking up the game in middle age. He was born and raised in Malaysia, then moved to Hong Kong 25 years ago and discovered poker in Macau with his longtime friend Paul Phua, who has also made the final table here. Yong has numerous businesses worldwide, including mining and IT-related companies. His best live cash to date was eighth in last summer's $1m One for One Drop tournament at the World Series of Poker, where he won $1,237,333. "I've always loved poker, playing with different players from all parts of the world," Yong said. He has competed at several EPT events and is one of the better-known members of the high stakes Macau poker contingent who came en masse to this year's PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final.
Seat 3: Olivier Busquet, 32, Westchester County, USA - 1,038,000
Olivier Busquet first started playing poker in home games while working as a Wall Street trader, then migrated to online poker where he steadily moved up the limits to the $25-$50 games. Busquet became the first ever player to win seven figures playing heads-up SNGs on Full Tilt and in 2009 he started playing live. He hit the headlines that September when he won WPT Borgata for $925,514. A few months later, Busquet was runner-up in the EPT6 Grand Final High Roller for €597,000 and has since has cashed at the PCA, EPT Deauville and NAPT Mohegan Sun as well as finishing fourth in the EPT London High Roller event in 2011, runner-up at the EPT Prague High Roller this season for €257,850 and runner-up at EPT8 Campione for €430,000. He has already earned more than $4.2 million from live play.
Seat 4: Rono Lo (Lo Shing Fung), 51, Macau - 4,558,000
Little is known of Rono Lo, one of several players who have flown in to Monaco specifically to play the €100,000 Super High Roller. Lo is 51, and has been playing poker for roughly four years. In that time he has become perhaps the biggest cash game player in Macau, if not the world. Born in Hong Kong, he now lives in Macau and describes himself as a business tycoon. "Rono" as he is known, plays mainly live poker. His best tournament cash to date came at the WSOP in Australia a year ago, where he finished fourth in the A$50,000 High Roller event, collecting A$225,000.
Seat 5: Daniel Colman, 23, USA - 1,398,000
Making the final table here in Monaco has already secured Daniel "mrgr33n13" Colman his best live cash to date -- but he is far from a rookie and has enormous profit online. mrgr33n13, as he is known on PokerStars, is considered one of the world's best online players, particularly heads up sit and go tournaments, and in 2013 he became the first hyper turbo player in online poker history to win more than $1m in a calendar year. (It took him nine months.) Last September he also won the WCOOP heads up high roller for $172,500. Like many American online pros, Colman has had to relocated to continue playing and now lives in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil. He has played around 25 tournaments on the European Poker Tour, but has never managed to get before past Day 2 before now. This is his second huge buy-in event - he also played the WSOP One Drop last summer. His total live winnings to date total $563,999.
Seat 6: Igor Kurganov, 25, Russia - 261,000
Since 2009, Igor Kurganov has competed at nearly every EPT event and is a well-known face on the tour - not only in the Main Events but also in all of the higher buy-in tournaments like the High Roller and the Super High Roller. Kurganov has more thn $6m in live tournament winnings and he won the €25k High Roller here in Monaco two years ago. At EPT8 London, Kurganov was beaten heads-up in the £20,000 High Roller by Philipp Gruissem, one of his best friends. Like Gruissem, Kurganov has pledged to give 10 per cent of all his tournament winnings to charity. Right now they are working with a organisation called Effective Altruism which focuses on making the most out of every dollar donated - the passion with which Kurganov describes the initiative reveals how important project has become to his life.
Seat 7: Ole Schemion, 21, Germany - 2,818,000
When Ole Schemion won the EPT Sanremo €10,000 High Roller last week for €265,000, it was his tenth live event win, and 28th final table. It also gave the 21-year-old a virtually unassailable lead in the EPT Player of the Year race, now cemented by making the final table. Schemion, already #7 on the Germany all time money list with $4.7m in live tournament winnings, first hit the spotlight at last season's Grand Final when he won three major side events. His first live cash took place only three years ago when he took down a €1,000 EPT Berlin side event for €54,200 in Season 7, six months after his 18th birthday. The 1,086 POY points he has accrued in Season 10 come from ten major cashes including 7th in both the PCA High Roller and Super High Roller (and a cash in the Main), fifth at EPT Prague, and sixth in both the Barcelona High Roller and Super High Rollers (plus, of course, a cash in the Main). Schemion is no slouch online either, where he is known as "wizowizo", and started his career on PokerStars by winning the MTT leaderboard in 2011. He's made final tables in the Sunday Million, WCOOP, SCOOP and Sunday 500, and took down the Super Tuesday in 2012 for $73,027.
Seat 8: Paul (Wei Seng) Phua, 49, Malaysia - 1,785,000
Paul Phua is a 49-year-old businessman from Asia who currently resides in Malaysia. Phua travels around the world competing in some of the highest buy-in tournaments and cash games and was part of the Million Dollar Cash game in Melbourne. His live tournament winnings total $2.3 million but derive from only three events: winning the Aspers £100,000 High Roller in London, third in the WSOP APAC in Melbourne last year and fourth in the APT Manila event. He regularly plays the biggest poker games in Macau.
Here's the video introduction to today's play:
As ever, all the hand-by-hand action from the tournament floor is available in the panel at the top of the main EPT Grand Final page. Details of the Super High Roller final table is on the Super High Roller page, and it's also being streamed on EPTLive.