LAPT9 Bahamas: Meet the final ten
From a huge field of 851 entries in the Latin American Poker Tour Bahamas Main Event, just 10 players will be returning for today's final day of action, each with hopes of becoming the first LAPT Main Event champion of Season 9.
As was the case at last year's inaugural LAPT Bahamas Main Event here at the PCA, the final eight-handed table of this year's installment is guaranteed to be packed with top talent. There are four Americans among the final 10, with two Canadians as well as players from Greece, Austria, Germany, and Brazil.
Before the action begins, let's get to know a little more about each of the final 10 players. We'll go from the chip leader to the shortest stack.
1. Georgios Sotiropoulos (Greece) -- 3,975,000
Chip leader Georgios Sotiropoulos is just one of many players bringing an impressive list of prior tournament triumphs to today's final day of play with more than $1.6 million in career tournament winnings, all collected in the last five years.
The 25-year-old owns a WSOP Europe bracelet (won last fall in a €1,100 NLHE Turbo event), a couple of silver spades won in EPT side events (at the EPT10 Grand Final in Monte Carlo and at EPT11 Deauville), and came second in the EPT10 Prague Main Event for a career-high €700,000 score. He also owns a Sunday Million title, won earlier this year on PokerStars where he plays as "GeoManousos."
2. Joe Kuether (USA) -- 2,530,000
Joe Kuether of Wisconsin was the first player to a million chips in this event and enjoyed the chip lead during the early evening yesterday before Sotiropoulos took over the top spot. Like Sotiropoulos, the 27-year-old has a long list of deep runs and wins in tournaments, having amassed over $4.9 million in earnings over the course of his career.
Among Kuether's career highlights was one that kicked off his 2015 in grand fashion right here at the Atlantis when he finished runner-up in the $25,000 High Roller for a career-best $1,050,000 prize. Kuether has numerous six-figure scores and a couple of EPT side event trophies to his credit. Most recently he took third in the WPT Borgata Main Event in September (for $262,994) and second in the WSOP Circuit Hammond Main Event (for $220,848).
3. Darren Elias (USA) -- 2,040,000
Darren Elias of Cherry Hill, New Jersey continues the theme, coming in with more than $3.3 million in career tournament winnings highlighted by his winning two World Poker Tour Main Event titles in the space of two months in 2014 when he won the WPT Borgata Open (in mid-September) and the WPT St. Maarten here in the Caribbean (in November).
The 29-year-old Elias has also enjoyed success here on Paradise Island in the past, finishing 13th in the 2013 PCA Main Event, third in the $10,200 High Roller at the 2011 PCA, and numerous other cashes at the Atlantis.
4. Chad Eveslage (USA) -- 1,685,000
Chad Eveslage of Indiana will begin the day fourth in chips, having previously collected $600,000-plus in tournament earnings including several WSOP cashes and a handful of previous PCA scores.
Eveslage's biggest score to date was the $103,025 he earned for finishing 66th in the 2014 WSOP Main Event, which means if the 24-year-old can make the top three today he'll exceed that as a new career-high.
5. Will Molson (Canada) -- 1,350,000
The Canadian Will Molson is another of our final 10 who has done well at the Atlantis before, having won the $25,500 High Roller Event at the 2011 PCA for a career-best $1,072,850 cash -- a score is roughly half of the almost $2.1 million Molson has earned in tournaments throughout his career.
Those who remember that finish probably remember Molson had taken runner-up in the same $25,500 High Roller the year before at the 2010 PCA (for $322,075). The 28-year-old from Montreal also has made numerous deep runs in EPT events, including winning a silver spade in a side event at EPT8 Campione.
6. Knut Karnapp (Germany) -- 1,345,000
The German Knut Karnapp comes to today's final table in the middle of the pack, chip-wise. Hailing not far from the hometown Martin Finger (who took runner-up in this event last year), the 31-year-old Karnapp used to play more frequently -- mostly online -- but now only does so recreationally, taking just two or three poker trips a year.
He's the exception to the rule at this final table, not bringing a long list of live tournament successes like the others. But with more than $300K up top for the winner, a win today could lead off such a poker résumé in grand fashion.
7. Andre Akkari (Brazil)-- 1,275,000
The lone Team PokerStars Pro remaining is also the lone representative of Latin America among the final 10. Andre Akkari is of course a very familiar face for those of us who follow the LAPT. He's also a big part of the Brazilian "boom" in poker that has been occurring over the last decade, a topic he discussed at a "Breakfast with the Pros" session prior to the start of Day 1 of this event.
Akkari has over $1.4 million in live tournament earnings, including winning a WSOP bracelet in a $1,500 NLHE event in 2011. His best previous finish in a LAPT Main Event was in 2013 at LAPT6 Brazil in São Paulo where he finished fifth.
8. Luc Greenwood (Canada) -- 1,175,000
Canadian Luc Greenwood of Toronto has more than $320,000 in live tournament winnings, with his best live cash being for $75,000 right here in the Bahamas when he took 21st in the 2010 PCA Main Event.
One of three poker-playing brothers along with Max and Sam, Luc has collected several cashes in the WSOP, on the EPT, and on other tours as well.
9. Taylor Von Kriegenbergh (USA) -- 1,020,000
With more than $1.8 million in tournament earnings, 27-year-old Taylor Von Kriegenbergh of Massachussets may be returning to one of the short stacks today, but he's got one of the longer lists of previous successes including many deep runs and a couple of wins.
His career highlight prior to this week was winning the $10,000 WPT Seminole Hard Rock Showdown in 2011 where he topped a 433-entry field to earn a handsome $1,122,340 payday.
10. Ismael Bojang (Austria) -- 710,000
Ismael Bojang -- of Germany, though listed with Austria -- is another familiar face from the various international tours, having earned more than $1.8 million in tournaments over the years while showing a proficiency in many different games besides no-limit hold'em.
Bojang has a couple of EPT side event titles to his credit, including one in a €10,300 PLO event at EPT9 Deauville. The 27-year-old's largest career cashes came at final tables during last summer's WSOP where he finished third in the $10,000 2-7 Triple Draw event (for $130,851) and sixth in the $25,000 PLO High Roller (for $187,571).
Here is how the final 10 players will be seated when the first hands of Day 3 are dealt:
Seat 2: Taylor Von Kriegenbergh (USA) -- 1,020,000
Seat 3: Andre Akkari (Brazil)-- 1,275,000
Seat 4: Darren Elias (USA) -- 2,040,000
Seat 5: Joe Kuether (USA) -- 2,530,000
Seat 7: Georgios Sotiropoulos (Greece) -- 3,975,000
Seat 1: Luc Greenwood (Canada) -- 1,175,000
Seat 3: Chad Eveslage (USA) -- 1,685,000
Seat 4: Knut Karnapp (Germany) -- 1,345,000
Seat 6: Will Molson (Canada) -- 1,350,000
Seat 7: Ismael Bojang (Austria) -- 710,000
And here is how the payouts are scheduled for the final 10 finishers -- note the big difference between finishing 10th and taking the top prize:
After the first bustout today, the two short-handed tables will combine into one nine-handed table, then after the next knockout they'll reach the official eight-handed LAPT final table.
Play begins at 12 noon ET with the start of Level 27 (blinds 25,000/50,000, ante 5,000), with levels for this final day lasting one hour each.
Join us then to see who from this formidable group emerges to take the first LAPT trophy of the season as well as one of the bigger PCA side event titles from this year's festival.
Addendum: Here's a shot of the final eight players -- i.e., the official final table -- taken after the eliminations of Andre Akkari (10th) and Luc Greenwood (9th):
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Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.