EPT11 Malta: You don't know who I am?
It's a bit crass but we're going to broadly categorise the 13 players who've made the money in the €25,000 High Roller into two distinct groups. It's not as extreme as household names and unknowns but broadly speaking there's one group of players who most poker fans will know and another group who most poker fans probably don't.
Some of those who fall into the 'unknown' category have proven pedigree in poker, it's just they don't/haven't played a lot of live poker, but it's that criteria, as well as lifetime earnings, that we're mostly using to split the players into the two groups.
Those you probably know: (lifetime tournament earnings in brackets)
Philipp Gruissem ($9,461,394)
Jeff Rossiter ($5,581,966)
Martin Finger ($4,690,830)
Connor Drinan ($2,424,477)
Dani Stern ($2,414,302)
Sam Greenwood ($936,615)
As those you might not:
Nick Petrangelo ($931,560)
Ramin Hajiyev ($696,532)
Andreas Eiler ($671,780)
Dzmitry Urbanovich ($261,674)
Daniel Dvoress ($227,333)
Piotr Franczak ($217,042)
Agshin Rasulov ($69,905)
Some who fall into the latter category are perhaps unfortunate to do so. Take Petrangelo for instance, he's just $5,000 shy of Sam Greenwood's earnings yet falls under our arbitrary cut off point. The main reason Petrangelo finds himself in the latter group is that all his major results have occurred recently, meaning he hasn't had time to become well known yet.
In the live arena at least, Dan Colman was a relative unknown 12 months ago and had just over $500,000 in lifetime earnings but is now fourth on the all-time money list.
This year looks set to be a breakout one for Petrangelo. He cashed three times at the PCA for a combined $419,053. The Sunday Million winner is now starting to translate his undoubted tournament talent into big results in the live arena.
Ramin Hajiyev is another who might be a little 'miffed' to find himself in the 'unknown' category. The Azerbaijani is ranked 137th in the GPI rankings - higher than Phil Hellmuth, Benny Spindler, Calvin Anderson and Jake Cody to name just four. He's in the top 20 in the 2015 Player of the Year race and has been putting up results on the EPT for more than four years now. The trouble is that unlike the quartet above he's yet to have that big breakthrough result. Indeed he doesn't have a career victory to his name, he'll be hoping to put that right here in Malta.
Andreas Eiler strikes you as one of the ultimate 'get in quietly' merchants. For instance he's won an event of this buy-in size before but it's unlikely many outside of the 17 players who entered the €25,000 High Roller at the Kings Casino in Rozadov in May 2012 know that. Additionally it appears Eiler has an interesting life outside of poker as the 42-year-old used to play football for various regional teams in Germany (fourth tier) and also coached at a club called SV Schalding-Heining. No doubt he'll be chanting the German equivalent of 'back of the net' if he takes this one down.
Not a lot is known about Dzmitry Urbanovich outside of the fact that he's had a fair amount of success in smaller buy-in events on the EPT and PokerStars' regional tours and is also a man in form. In January at the PCA he took down a $2,000 Turbo Bounty event for $37,640 and at the back end of February he took down the €2,000 High Roller event at Eureka5 Rozadov earning €25,725. He bought directly into this event and has now parleyed those winning into something more substantial and earned a career high cash.
Daniel Dvoress is possibly a familiar name to anyone connected to online poker and anyone watching the coverage of EPT100 Barcelona that's airing at the moment. He's an elite pro on Phil Galfond's training site, producing both high stakes cash game and tournment videos. He's stepped into the live arena in the last couple of years, finishing 17th in the EPT100 Main Event and third spot in a €1k re-entry in Prague.
Is this the year of Polska? The second pole in the final 13 is another player looking to follow in the footsteps of Dominik Panka and bag themselves a major EPT title. He had a good go at doing just that at the PCA in January before busting 12th in the $25,000 High Roller, that was good for just shy of $100,000 and was a career best score. A seventh place finish here will knock that result down to second place. He's another player in form, as he triumphed in a €5,000 High Roller event in Vienna just four days ago.
Agshin Rasulov doesn't cash very often but when he does it's a decent score. He's got precisely one result to his name thus far but it's worth $ 69,905 and arrived when he finished 13th in the €10,000 High Roller at EPT100. The Azerbaijani bubbled the EPT10 Grand Final when his A♠T♣ failed to outdraw Kenny Hicks's pocket queens. He's in the money here and looking to go even deeper.
Follow all the action from the EPT Malta festival at PokerStars Blog. We have hand-by-hand action from the €25,000 High Roller in the panel at the top of the €25,000 High Roller page. Feature pieces are below. We also have a man on the IPT Malta stop. You can also download the EPT App, available on both Android or IOS.