EPT11 Deauville: Battle of the ages in the High Roller

If you discount the PCA you have to go all the way back to EPT10 London to find the last time there wasn't a Russian or a German in the final five of an EPT High Roller. Here in Deauville the final five are comprised of one player each from: Sweden, France, Argentina, Austria and Lebanon.

What's more the five players can be neatly shoehorned into two distinct groups, the youngsters and the oldies. Whilst in poker terms Josip Simunic, at 31, is hardly a spring chicken he's significantly younger than Fady Kamar (46) and Jean-Noel Thorel (67). Whilst the former professional handball player has a few years of Robin Ylitalo (28) and a handful more on Ivan Luca (23), we're calling the later three the youngsters for the purpose of this piece.


Ivan Luca

Rather surprisingly it's the baby of the bunch who's dressed the smartest. Ivan Luca is on a bit of a European poker adventure and he's decked himself out in some smart-casual clobber for this final table. He's sporting blue jeans and brown chukkas and has paired them with a purple and white candy-striped shirt, of which you can only see the collar as it's hidden under a woollen orange v-neck sweater. He's ensured he gets to keep his under 25s passport though as he's the only player at the table wearing headphones, black over head ones as it goes.

It's another deep run in Deauville for the Argentinian who's followed up a fourth place finish in the FPS Main Event and 49th in the EPT Main Event with another fine performance.


Robin Ylitalo

At age 28, Robin Ylitalo is the only other player left in their twenties. The Swede, who's wearing black jeans, white converse and a purple hoodie, is the most animated of the quintet. When he folds his cards he's getting up from the table to chat to a group of four friends who are railing him. They include another EPT champion as Michael Tureniec is one of the foursome. If Ylitalo were to win the High Roller it'd be the second year in a row that an EPT champion has won the High Roller here as Dominik Panka took the title in Season 10.


Josip Simunic

You can take the sportsman out of the sport but you can't take the sport out of the sportsman it seems as Josip Simunic looks like he's just come from the gym. He's wearing black track pants, a black Nike sports top and white trainers. He's the cousin of a former Croatian international footballer also called Josip Simunic, so it seems sporting talent runs in the family.

The Austrian is not short on poker talent either it seems, he won the Sunday 500 on PokerStars two weeks ago for $62,600 and is already guaranteed his biggest ever live cash wherever he finishes in the top five.


Fadi Kamar

Fadi Kamar is something of a High Roller specialist as his four biggest results have come in High Roller events. He's going to be looking for the complete set of medals as he already has a second and a third in EPT High Rollers. In October of last year Kamar finished runner-up to Andrew Chen in the EPT11 London £10,000 High Roller. Second place there was good for $425,119 which is mere pocket changed compared to the $996,551 he collected for finishing third in the €25,000 EPT10 Grand Final High Roller.

He's keeping it casual today, blue stone wash jeans, white t-shirt and a sleeveless woollen/padded gilet. With his grey hair he's got the air of a man who's been here before and he has.


Jean-Noel Thorel

Last but not least we have Jean-Noel Thorel. He's the only one of the five wearing a baseball cap and the only player with spectacles. He's got comfy trainers on along with some blue slacks and an orange t-shirt. He's also got a rail, with one hardy soul/friend, in his corner.

Edit: Since this piece was written Ivan Luca has busted in fifth place.

Coverage from the Main Event of EPT Deauville is on the Main Event page. The High Roller coverage is on the High Roller page. Check out all the action from around the festival on the main festival page. Also follow the action on EPT Live and stay up to date with the sensational EPT app for iPhone, iPad or Android.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in High Roller