LAPT8 Bahamas: Meet the final eight
The first final table of Season 8 of the Latin American Poker Tour is here. From 736 entries just eight players remain, bringing to the table a variety of backgrounds and poker experience, including a lot of considerable results.
It's an eclectic group, but they all have one item in common -- it's the first LAPT event for each.
Here's a little more about each of the final eight:
Seat 1: Taylor Paur (United States) -- 1,732,000
Paur is a 26-year-old professional poker player from San Diego who has earned nearly $1.4 million in live tournaments over the past five years. He won a WSOP bracelet in 2013 in a $1,000 no-limit hold'em event, beating out a field of 2,071 to earn a first-prize of $340,260. Known as "tRaMp$d0PrAy" on PokerStars, Paur has collected numerous online accomplishments including a victory in the Super Tuesday just two months ago. Paur lists golf and basketball among his hobbies.
Seat 2: Stefan Jedlicka (Austria) -- 1,521,000
Jedlicka is a well-known pro from Vienna with more than $560,000 in lifetime tournament winnings. Known as "mindgamer" online, the 29-year-old's biggest live result to date was winning a €2,000 event in Vienna five years ago for €131,720. His brother Nikolaus is also a top player who came to fame when he made the final of EPT Barcelona in Season 4, and it was through his brother and "Magic, the Gathering" that Stefan came to poker. When away from the tables, Jedlicka enjoys sports and watching TV. He won his seat online on PokerStars in a $22 rebuy event and also qualified for the PCA Main Event.
Seat 3: Jonathan Borenstein (United States) -- 928,000
Borenstein is a 25-year-old player from New Jersey who has collected just over $115,000 in career tourney earnings, mostly in Atlantic City and on the east coast of the U.S. He cites his home game as his biggest poker influence, and with a seventh-place finish or higher will register his largest live tourney cash to date.
Seat 4: Jose Carlos Garcia (Poland) -- 2,359,000
Garcia is an EPT regular and well-known Polish player (despite the very Spanish name!). The 21-year-old enjoys sports and has been playing poker for five years, now considering himself both a live and online player. He is currently ranked #8 on Poland's all-time money list. His biggest result to date was winning an EPT9 Sanremo €2k side event for €58,900 and runner-up in a €2k side event at EPT8 Madrid for €43,850. He also made the final of the €2k Estrellas High Roller at EPT11 Barcelona in August, finishing seventh for €40,000. His live tournament winnings to date are nearly $450,000.
Seat 5: Mustapha Kanit (Italy) -- 1,257,000
Kanit is a 23-year-old live and online poker pro who has been playing the game for five years, picking up more than $2.5 million in live tourney winnings during that period. He won Italian Player of the Year at EPT Sanremo back in 2011 when he was only 19. Now residing in London, Kanit's biggest live triumphs include victories on the Italian Poker Tour and at the Aussie Millions, WSOP final tables, and several EPT scores, with his biggest career cash coming here at the PCA one year ago when he finished fourth in the $25,000 High Roller for a $492,600 cash. He also has numerous online triumphs, including a SCOOP win last spring worth more than $350,000. As his PokerStars nickname "lasagnaaammm" perhaps suggests, he enjoys good food while traveling.
Seat 6: Josh Kay (United States) -- 2,760,000
Kay is a Michigan native who currently lives in Boca Raton, Florida. He turned 28 just a few days ago (December 30th) and has lifetime live tournament winnings of around $110,000. His biggest result so far was runner-up in a tourney in Philadelphia for $50,000. If he finishes seventh or better in this, it will give him a lifetime best cash. Known as "Mapquest23" online, Kay cites Chris Moneymaker as his biggest poker influence. When not playing he enjoys sports and spending time with family.
Seat 7: Martin Finger (Germany) -- 1,992,000
Known online as "Opiggybank," Finger is a 24-year-old German now residing in Vienna, Austria whose biggest accomplishment in poker came in October 2013 when he won the EPT10 London Super High Roller for £ 821,000. That victory made him the only player who has won two Shamballa bracelets at EPT events. He picked up his first for taking down EPT Prague in 2011, topping a field of 722 to earn a €720,000 payday. He also earned a WSOP bracelet in 2013 in a $3,000 no-limit hold'em six-handed event, picking up just over $500,000 for besting an 807-player field. Finger has more than $4.4 million in live tournament earnings, all within the last five years. Until yesterday, he was the only player to have won an EPT Super High Roller and a Main Event; Steve O'Dwyer now joins that roster after taking down the PCA Super High Roller.
Seat 8: Dimitar Danchev (Bulgaria) -- 1,894,000
Danchev is yet another decorated pro coming to this final table, his live tournament career highlighted by a win in the PCA Main Event here at the Atlantis two years ago when he bested a field of 987 to earn a huge $1.59 million first prize. The 29-year-old Bulgarian prefers cash games to tourneys, although has other big live tourney results to boast of as well including a second-place finish in the EPT Sanremo Main Event in Season 8 and a couple of near-miss final table finishes at the WSOP. His almost $3.5 million in career tourney earnings easily make him Bulgaria's highest-earning tourney player (by more than $2 million).
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.