PokerStars Championship Prague: Final table player profiles
A little more information about the final six players at the €5,000 PokerStars Championship Prague Main Event (compiled by Jan Kores, Media Co-ordinator, and team):
Seat 1: Harry Lodge (United Kingdom) -- 1.23 million (15 BBs)
Harry Lodge is a 23-year-old professional poker player from Haywards Heath, in the UK. Lodge made his mark on the PokerStars Festival London earlier this year, finishing second in the £2,000 High Roller for £36,150. But his top performance came a few months later at the summer World Series of Poker where Lodge earned a $344,888 third-place prize in the $888 Crazy Eights event.
Lodge has earned a number of big scores online as well, including on PokerStars where he plays as "Iamapoopie." His best online cash was $88,545 for a runner-up finish in the 2016 TCOOP-27 $215 NL Hold'em Event.
Lodge was on the verge of elimination several times during Day 4. He was short-stacking for the most of the day but all the key clashes went his way, and he survived to be the short stack to start play today.
Seat 2: Kalidou Sow (France) -- 8.135 million (102 BBs)
Frenchman Kalidou Sow was 13th of 15 entering yesterday's penultimate day, but a rush of big hands and knockouts helped catapult him to the top of the counts heading into today's finale.
The 37-year-old has already has a number of decent live results, including a career-best score of €72,000 for third place in the France Poker Series (FPS) Season 5 Main Event in Enghien-les-Bains. Sow has three career wins as well, including taking down the 2016 Belgian Poker Challenge Namur High Roller for €41,460 as well as the 2016 Barrière Poker Tour Toulouse Main Event for €32,100.
Seat 3: Michal Mrakes (Czech Republic) -- 5.01 million (63 BBs)
The 31-year-old Czech player Michael Mrakes has already earned headlines in this PSC Prague Main Event. Mrakes has been near or at the top of leader board all week, including ending Days 1 and 4 with the chip lead, and he enters today's finale with the third-largest stack among the final six.
It was while living in Sydney, Australia that Mrakes was introduced to poker, and five years ago he returned home to Prague to pursue a career as a pro. This year has been the best yet for Mrakes, highlighted by a win in the €1,100 partypoker MILLION event in Rozvadov for a €200,000 payday.
Wherever he finishes today he'll top the $1 million mark in lifetime earnings with more than half of that picked up in 2017 alone.
Seat 4: Gabriele Lepore (Italy) -- 1.815 million (23 BBs)
Gabriele Lepore enters today fourth in chips and below the average after managing to nurse a short stack successfully throughout Day 5 to join the final six. It was about a decade ago that Lepore turned a hobby into a profession, becoming a full-time player specializing in online multi-table tournaments and sit & gos.
He's no stranger to the live circuit, either, currently ranking 43rd on the Italian all-time money list with more than $710,000 in live cashes. Among the 34-year-old's live scores are three EPT Main Event cashes, a victory in the La Notte Del Poker €2,000 Main Event in late 2012 worth €104,000, another win in the WPT National €1,650 Event, banking €92,000, and a runner-up finish in the EPT6 Snowfest €1,000 Event for a €40,000 payday.
Seat 5: Colin Robinson (United States) -- 1.425 million (18 BBs)
Colin Robinson is a 22-year-old business marketing student from Phoenix, Arizona, currently studying at Arizona State University in Tempe. He's only been playing poker for two-and-a-half years, having graduated quickly from home games with friends and other video and strategy games.
This is Robinson's second poker trip to Prague after cashing in last year's Eureka High Roller here in the Czech capital. He's guaranteed today to more than double his live tournament earnings of just over $70,000. So far, he's racked up just over $70,000 in cashes. His previous best result was $34,800 for a first place in a 2016 Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open side event.
Seat 6: Jason "jdtjpoker" Wheeler (United States) -- 8.1 million (101 BBs)
Jason Wheeler is a poker veteran who has been around for a decade. The 40-year-old American pro has racked up nearly $8 million in online tournament winnings and has over $3 million in live cashes.
From Chicago, Illinois, Wheeler's been a familiar face on the European live poker circuit for almost a decade, having relocated to Amsterdam years ago. Wheeler's career-best result dates back to 2009 when he fell just shy of winning a WSOP bracelet, finishing second in the $1,500 NL Hold'em event for $418,122. Today marks his debut at a PokerStars main tour Main Event final table, with the previous deepest run coming at the EPT8 Grand Final (18th for €40,000).
Wheeler envisioned his success here in the Main Event as he described at the end of Day 4: "I feel amazing. Last week, I had a dream. I was at the final table of this tournament. This is unusual, I've never dreamt about poker before. I told my dream to my friend Ludovic Geilich and he reached two final tables this week. Now I start thinking that the dream could become true for me."
Prolific on both live and online felt, Wheeler's main forte has been the PokerStars $1,050 Super Tuesday. Playing as "jdtjpoker," he's conquered the prestigious weekly event four times in his career. His other accolades from the virtual realm include a WCOOP bracelet as well as SCOOP $25k High Roller final table.