PCA 2014: Final table player profiles
Seat 1: Pascal LeFrancois, 27, Montreal - PokerStars player - 5,595,000 chips
Pascal LeFrancois first shot to fame in 2010 when he won a $1,500 no limit hold'em event at the World Series of Poker, earning $568,974. It wasn't only the victory that made him famous, however. He also ripped off his shirt and posed bare-skinned in the traditional winner's photo shot, the first and only time a winner has appeared bare-chested as he collected his bracelet. Only a month after that victory, LeFrancois then went deep in the WSOP Main Event, finishing 11th for $635,011, which remains his biggest cash to date. His other major result was runner-up to his fellow Canadian Jonathan Roy in the 2012 WPT Montreal Main Event for $470,130. Although he is still a student, his lifetime tournament winnings already total nearly $1.8 million. LeFrancois is here at the PCA for the fourth time and has been an EPT regular for the past four years as well. He is one of a large group of French-Canadian players who have started playing on the EPT circuit.
Seat 2: Dominik Panka, 22, Poland - PokerStars qualifier - 3,695,000 chips
Dominik Panka comes from the tiny town of Brześć Kujawski in Poland and is enjoying the deepest run he has ever experienced in a live event. Before this year's PCA, Panka only had $8,092 in live tournament cashes to his name, the majority of that from a 42nd place finish in the EPT 10 Barcelona Estrellas €2,000 High Roller. He is guaranteed at least $173,220 in the PCA final and is therefore set to earn at least 21 times his lifetime tournament cashes. Panka can also become the first Polish player ever to win an EPT main event. Despite nine countrymen making final tables, none has yet to convert. Panka is on a tremendous spin up, having won his seat to the 2014 PCA in a $700 Mega Qualifier on PokerStars.
Seat 3: Seat: Shyam Srinivasan, 32, Toronto, Canada - PokerStars qualifier, 1,505,000 chips
Although Shyam Srinivasan isn't a well-recognised face on the live circuit, his online handles "g's zee" (PokerStars) and "s_dot111" (Full Tilt Poker) certainly are. Srinivasan has clocked up more than $7m in online tournament winnings and is looking to convert that success into a PCA title tomorrow. "I think I'm gonna win," Srinivasan told the PokerStars Blog. "That's it. I'm not here to do anything else. I know I'm gonna win. I told myself I'm gonna win... and anything else would be a disappointment to me because you don't know when this opportunity will come up again." Srinivasan won his seat to the PCA via a $700 satellite qualifie on PokerStars.
Seat 4: Isaac Baron, 26, Chicago, USA - 2,995,000 chips
Originally from Menlo Park, Calfornia, Baron now calls Chicago, Illinois home. It's not the only major change for the 26-year-old online poker legend. Baron has lost a lot of weight in recent months and is hardly recognizable from the figure who made a splash on the live poker scene several years ago. "It's been a while since I made a big final table," Baron said (two years, in fact). "I've kind of been flying under the radar. I haven't been playing too many tournaments." In the meantime, the man with millions in online wins and $2.6 million in live cashes has been playing live cash games and taking some college classes. He's looking forward to getting back to the big time. "I had decided to give tournaments a break for a little while, but I decided in the New Year I was going to give them another go. It's going good so far."
Seat 5: Fabian Ortiz, 44, Chaco, Argentina - 3,040,000 chips
Fabian Ortiz, a 44-year-old businessman from Argentina, has owned several discos during his career, but recently he's been doing most of his dancing on the poker circuit. Ortiz was the first Latin American player to win a LAPT title when he made a sensational comeback from only one small blind to take down LAPT2 Viña del Mar in Chile in January 2009. But his biggest live result was last summer when he finished 17th in the WSOP Main Event for a cash of $357,655. His lifetime tournament winnings of $565,570 put him third on the Argentina all time money list, behind Team PokerStars Pros Nacho Barbero and Leo Fernandez.
Seat 6: Mike McDonald, 24, Waterloo, Canada - PokerStars qualifier - 5,605,000 chips
The youngest ever champion on the European Poker Tour, Mike McDonald heads to the PCA final table second in chips and is looking a very strong contender in the bid to become the first two-time EPT winner. The 24-year-old from Ontario, whose lifetime tournament winnings already total nearly $6 million, was only 18 when he won the EPT Dortmund Main Event in 2008, worth €933,600. McDonald came close to retaining his title the following year, with a fifth place finish. As well as making the final of this PCA's $100,000 Super High Roller, his phenomenal results also include third at EPT Deauville, bubbling the EPT Madrid final and making the final in both the EPT Barcelona Super High Rollers - in 2012 and last August. Like 426 other players, McDonald won his PCA 2014 seat on PokerStars, but he isn't just any old qualifier. He was actually the very first player win a package, securing his trip in a $700 qualifier in August last year.
Seat 7: Madis Muur, 27, Tallinn, Estonia - PokerStars qualifier - 6,205,000 chips
Madis Muur is the first Estonian player to reach the final table of the PCA and enters the fray as the chip leader. Muur is mainly an online player, focusing his attention on mid-stakes tournaments on PokerStars during the week and the majors on Sunday. This is the Estonian's first year on the European Poker Tour, as he only plays live if he is fortunate enough to qualify. Muur has already won seats to three of the four EPT Main Events this season, playing in London and Barcelona along with PCA. Muur finished 12th in the EPT Barcelona Main Event, earning $78,892, and has slightly more than $100,000 in career tournament earnings. He has already doubled that number by reaching this final table, and will be looking for his first seven-figure score on Monday.
Seat 8: Daniel Gamez, 29, Guatemala City, Guatemala - PokerStars player - 1,885,000 chips
Daniel Gamez is a recreational poker player who invested some $4,000 in online satellite tournaments and finally won his trip to the PCA in a $33 re-buy event. A keen golfer, Gamez works as an event coordinator for his family's radio company in Guatemala. The former communications student mainly plays mid stakes multi-table tournaments online. He has been to the PCA three times but this is his first ever live cash. His biggest online cash was $17,500. He said: "My dad is my mentor and if I win the tournament I plan to help him out with the company." Gamez, whose Panamanian wife is expecting the couple's first child in February, came to the Bahamas with his friend Juan Carlos.