EPT Loutraki: Final table player profiles

ept-thumb-promo.jpgHere are the runners and riders for the final table of EPT Loutraki.

A starting field of 336 generated a prize pool of €1,344,000, of which the winner will take €347,000.

Details of prizewinners to date, as well as the breakdown of payments for the final table, can be found on the prizewinners page.

Track the action through the day through our live reporting, and also the chip fluctuations on the chip-count page. Play begins at noon.

Seat 1: John Taramas, 50, Loutraki, Greece - 1,755,000


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Like many players, Taramas kicked off his career in mind sports as a blackjack player. He has already written two books about blackjack theory and strategy, and is also highly rated as a teacher. He made the transition to poker in 2006-07 after hearing from other blackjack pros that poker is a game of skill. He now claims to have read about a hundred books about poker and turned professional a year ago, basing himself in Loutraki. It's said that he has a prodigious ability to memorize cards. The 50-year-old father-of-four prefers playing live to online and only plays deep-stack events. His biggest live cash was at a 2008 Greek Poker Tour event in Austria for €28,000.

Seat 2: Charalampos Kapernopoulos, 33, Athens, Greece - 749,000


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Kapernopoulos is a full-time doctor working in a hospital in Athens, Greece. He got into the game about ten years ago and hasn't stopped playing since - although he says his first priority in life is "my family, my beautiful wife and our two kids." In poker, he considers himself a part-timer who plays both live and online. His biggest cash in poker came a year ago on PokerStars when he finished fifth in the Sunday Warm Up, winning more than $38,000.

Seat 3: Pierre Mothes, 27, Solingen, Germany - PokerStars qualifier - 1,073,000


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Mothes won his seat to EPT Loutraki via PokerStars Steps satellites. He is a manager for a wholesale company but has been playing poker for seven years. He first started by playing home games with friends but then opened an online account on PokerStars. He only plays tournament poker and this is his second EPT main event - he also qualified for Vilamoura last season but busted close to the money. In 2008, he had a nice run during a live tournament week in Dortmund and won three tournaments in four days, including the €750 main event for €9,410. Online, his best result was winning The Bigger $33 on PokerStars for $8,000 in October.

Seat 4: Hauke Heseding, 24, Berlin, Germany - PokerStars qualifier - 1,660,000


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Heseding is a part-time poker player who is currently on a year's national service in the army. Heseding mainly plays multi-table tournaments in his spare time and only last month chopped the Sunday Million on PokerStars. He won his seat to Loutraki in unusual circumstances. He had already won a €27 rebuy to the €500 super satellite for Loutraki but had been planning to use the ticket for other tournaments. However as the EPT satellite had already started, he was forced to play it - and duly won his seat to this, his first ever EPT. Heseding has been playing poker for around five years but only seriously in the past 18 months. He doesn't see himself playing poker professionally in the future; instead he intends to go to university, keeping poker as a recreational hobby.

Seat 5: Florian Schleps, 30, Vienna, Austria - PokerStars qualifier - 850,000


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Schelps has been playing poker for around six years and first got into it when he visited a casino with friends. At the beginning, he played just for fun and his first online endeavors didn't go so well. That was the time he started studying the game and now plays both live and online. Schleps originally planned to work in banking but is now playing poker full-time. Even though he has decent results at Omaha tournaments, Schelps says he usually prefers to play pot limit Omaha for cash and no limit hold 'em for tournaments. He is good friends with a number of well-known Austrian players including the Jedlicka brothers, Nikolaus and Stefan. He enjoys both live and online poker equally and his biggest live score to date was taking down the 2008 Austrian Classics event in Vienna for €38,360.

Seat 6: Mario Puccini, 22, Hamburg, Germany - PokerStars qualifier - 1,077,000


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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 past four years, including the Super Tuesday in 2009 for more than $60,000. His last major triumph was in the PokerStars $55 rebuy, which he won for $12,500 a few weeks ago. This is his third EPT main event cash; his best result so far was 32nd place in San Remo on season six for €26,000. He's also had three final tables in EPT side events - his best being third place in a side event in a Dortmund €2k event for €42,000.

Seat 7: Andras Kovacs, 27, Budapest, Hungary - 210,000


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Kovacs has been playing EPT events since season four but his best live result to date came on the Italian Poker Tour in Venice in January last year. Team PokerStars Pro Salvatore Bonavena won the event but Kovacs took €60,000 for third place. Six months later, he made another IPT Venice final, this time finishing sixth for €35,000. In September this year he had another big hit, finishing 12th at WPT Paris for €44,445. He only has one EPT main event cash to his name - a deep run at EPT Barcelona in August where he finished 19th for €20,000 - but he has made the final of numerous side events and was runner-up in a heads up tournament in Barcelona. His live tournament winnings already total $431,188.

Andras started playing poker when he was 20 years old in 2005. He is also a successful online player and has earned close to $700,000. On PokerStars, he finished 3rd in a $215 Sunday Warm-Up for $80,256. Kovacs is being supported in Greece by his girlfriend Krisztina as well as Team PokerStars Pro Richard Toth.

Seat 8: Zimnan Ziyard, 25, Eastbourne, UK - PokerStars qualifier - 2,771,000


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When Ziyard claimed the chip lead by knocking out EPT San Remo champion Rupert Elder in 13th, you would have expected the Sri Lankan-born pro player to have been ecstatic, but he wasn't. Ziyard called a large four-bet shove with his pocket queens and managed to hold up against the king-jack suited of Elder, the last remaining former winner in the field. "I definitely had mixed feelings about the hand as I would have preferred to knock him out heads up," said Ziyard who has been on friendly terms with Elder since they studied together at Imperial College, London.

Elder has had his moment in the spotlight already and Ziyard, who has had a number of deep runs including a 20th place finish at EPT Deauville and a third place finish in $3,000 pot-limit Omaha WSOP event, would be excused for claiming it was his turn instead. "I've been so long in the game that I feel it's about time that I have a six-figure score. It would be amazing to win."

Howard Swains
@howardswains in Day 5