EPT8 Berlin: Final eight competing for first prize of 825,000 Euros
Eight players remain in the EPT Berlin main event with the title and a first prize of €825,000 at stake when the final table gets under way today a 12 noon local time.
But while the action begins in the Hyatt Hotel in central Berlin at that time, the live broadcast, which you can watch on EPT Live, starts at 1pm, the full works, complete with hole cards and the expert commentary you have come to expect from EPT events such as this.
Chip leader coming into the day is Davidi Kitai, from Belgium, whose profile, along with those of the other finalists, are below:
Seat 1: César "CesarSPA" García, 22, Las Palmas, Canary Islands - PokerStars player - 1,485,000
Law student García is currently ranked the number one online tournament player in Spain. He was runner-up in the Sunday Million in August 2009 for €208,845 (his biggest score) and has also finished fourth in a $1k SCOOP re-buy event, fourth in the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up and won a $200 re-buy.
García first took up poker after watching the EPT on TV. He and fellow students started playing home games in their university dormitory and he played his first live tournament at university in 2008, coming second. The following year, he played the same tournament again and won it for €6,000. This is his sixth EPT but his best live result to date.
Seat 2: Pratyush Buddiga, 22, Colorado Springs, USA - 1,280,000 chips
Buddiga is fast making a name for himself in poker after already becoming a star in the Spelling Bee world. He won the prestigious Scripps National Spelling Bee contest in 2002, two years before his younger brother took down the same title.
This is his first EPT final, less than two years after taking up the game. He turned pro a year after graduating from Duke University where he studied Economics. He plays MTTs online and he's benefited from the coaching he receives from EPT winner Mike McDonald, who's also been railing him here this week. This is his biggest live result to date although he racked up four WSOP cashes in 2011 in his first visit to the Series.
Seat 3: Mario Puccini, 23, Hamburg, Germany - PokerStars qualifier - 2,065,000
Economics student Puccini has been playing poker since 2007. He's well known in the German poker community for winning nearly a hundred tournaments on PokerStars in the last four years, including the Super Tuesday in 2009 for over $60,000.
This is his fourth EPT main event cash; his best result so far was eighth place at EPT Loutraki in November for €27,000. He also finished 32nd at EPT6 San Remo for €26,000. He's also had three final tables in EPT side events - his best being third place in the EPT5 Dortmund €2k event for €42,000.
Seat 4: André Morath, 40, Cologne, Germany - PokerStars qualifier - 1,940,000
Morath has been playing poker since 2007 and initially started playing MTTs until he decided he was too old for multi-tabling and started focusing instead on playing online satellites to qualify for live events like the EPT. His best live results to date are seventh place in the €4,000 European Championship in Baden in 2009, for €25,000, and 84th at EPT Berlin last season for €10,000.
Morath thinks of himself as a recreational player; his main job is as a field sales manager. He qualified in his third satellite for EPT Berlin, has already won his trip to Monte Carlo and also booked his flight to Las Vegas.
Seat 5: Andrew Chen, 24, Ontario, Canada- 3,600,000
PokerStars player Chen is a well-known Canadian online pro and an EPT regular since Season 5. He has made numerous live final tables including the LAPT San Jose in 2008, third at EPT Prague in Season 6 and runner-up in a $1,500 WSOP side event in 2009. Chen came fifth in the Season 6 EPT Grand Final and the following January snagged his first major title, winning the $5k Bounty Shoot-out at the PCA for $263,100. At this year's PCA, he was runner-up in the PCA 6-Max High Roller for $191,984. His live tournament winnings now total more than $2 million.
Seat 6: Davidi Kitai, Brussels, Belgium - 5,695,000
Davidi Kitai is already top of the Belgium All-Time Money list, having accrued nearly $1.8 million in live tournament winnings, nearly half of that on the EPT. Davidi Kitai is known as a fearsome player and is the only Belgian who has won both a WSOP bracelet ($2,000 PLO) and WPT title.
This is Kitai's second EPT final - he came third at EPT Barcelona in Season 5 for €455,000 - his best live result to date. According to his professional profile, Kitai has all the qualities of a good tournament player: "cool, confidence and a touch of madness". As well as tournaments, Kitai is also an online cash game specialist, mainly PLO.
Kitai perfected his poker skills during a trip to Los Angeles in 2003. He had gone to the States to learn English, but it was Texas Hold'em that he mastered. Kitai goes into tomorrow's final as chip leader giving a good chance of joining poker's elusive elite "Triple Crown" club.
Seat 7: Bahadir Kilickeser, 33, Bremen, Germany - 4,640,000
Kilickeser, who works in wholesale and export trades, won his seat to Berlin in a €550 live satellite at the Spielbank casino on Monday. He took up poker five years ago in the Weser Poker Lounge in his home city of Bremen. The Lounge now plans a big EPT final table party tomorrow in his honour - with a giant screen showing the EPTLive webcast.
This is his Kilickeser's first ever EPT and by far his biggest result. Kilickeser, who is married, is also a successful amateur football player and now plays now for FC Union 60 Bremen in the sixth highest league in Germany.
Seat 8: Marc Wright, 25, Liskeard, Cornwall, UK - 1,540,000
Wright, 25, has been a professional player for more than four years after quitting his job as a Retail Manager for the Co-op supermarket after nine months to concentrate on the game. Formerly from London, he now lives in Liskeard, Cornwall, with his girlfriend and step-daughter. Earlier this month, he went deep in the Irish Poker Open, being chip leader with 15 players remaining but ultimately cashing out in 12th place.
On the urging of his girlfriend, he travelled to Berlin this week to play his first EPT event, deciding even before he took his seat that he would begin to play more live events from now on. His result tomorrow will be the biggest live cash of his career.