LAPT Florianopolis: Now to find a champion


Welcome back to the LAPT Florianopolis. Just eight players remain, each in pursuit of a first prize of R$435,000. There are locals and a couple of foreign raiders intent on stealing glory away from home, but there'll be obstacles in the way in the form of some hefty local talent.

Matthias Habernig returns as chip leader and the man to beat. We start at noon, although there's likely to be a delay as the TV people prepare, the players finish last minute preparations and the crowd files in to watch what is set to be a great final table.

Here's how they'll line up.

Seat 1 - Alexandre Richard, 435,000 chips

Alexandre Richard

Alexandre Richard is 35 and from São Caetano do Sul near São Paolo. He's been playing poker for six years now and turned pro about three months ago, quitting his job in commerce. Having had success online on PokerStars and a few regional wins this will be his biggest career result to date.

Seat 2 - Dayan Vardanega, 761,000 chips

Dayan Vardenega

Dayan Vardenega is 31 and from Ponta Grossa in Paraná, Brazil. Having played poker for about a year Vardnega won his seat here in a raffle in a poker club back home and took time off from his job in sales to play here. In his spare time he plays in the biggest tournament he can in Brazil, with numerous final tables to his credit.

Seat 3 - Rudy Blondeau, 597,000 chips

Rudy Blondeau

Rudy Blondeau is 20 and is an Internet poker professional from Quebec, Canada, something he's done since leaving high school. Blondeau has a couple of internet wins to his name in minor tournaments but nothing on this scale. This will be a break from his usual routine. On Sunday's Blondeau can usually be found online in the Sunday majors while during the week he plays heads-up cash.

Seat 4 - Rodrigo Scartezini, 204,000 chips

Rodrigo Scartezini

Rodrigo Scartezini is 27 and is from São Paulo where he works in a bank. Scartezini's story is a tough one and he's in Florianopolis on vacation as a PokerStars qualifier, having won his seat online. There's more to his poker playing however. Three months ago Scartezini was diagnosed with cancer and began playing poker as a form of therapy. This is his first live tournament and he will now return to work on Monday with quite a story.

Seat 5 - Robson Kozan, 598,000 chips

Robson Kozan

Robson Kozan is 28 and comes from Ponta Grossa, like fellow finalist Dayan Vardenega. A business man by day Kozan plays poker most nights and has more than $50,000 in wins on MTTs on PokerStars.

Seat 6 - Andre Scaff, 814,000 chips

Andre Scaff

Andre Scaff is 41 and has become known this week for his loud and lively catchphrase "filho do rei." (Son of the king), a reference to life away from poker as a preacher. As a hobby though poker has proven to be lucrative. This may only be his second live tournament but in the first he came second, cashing for $41,140. He remains in position to top that today.

Seat 7 - Matthias Habernig, Austria, 3,205,000 chips

Matthias Habernig

Matthias Habernig is 19and from Klagenfurt in Austria. Having played online since he was 18 his career highlights include winning an $11 re-buy tournament on PokerStars and cashing in a $1,000 side event at LAPT Lima. Habernig loves to travel and while in Peru met friends who suggested exploring Brazil. That trip brought him to Florianopolis and a second LAPT event that will now be the biggest cash of his career.

Seat 8 - Miguel Velasco, 511,000 chips

Miguel Velasco

Miguel Velasco is 33 and from Cali, Colombia. Velasco works on his cattle farms in Colombia, playing poker in his spare time. He has a few minor successes on his poker rusume but this will be the biggest result of his career. It's only the second LAPT event he has played following Lima a few weeks ago.