PokerStars Championship Barcelona: Final table player profiles
As we wait to start the final day -- or as you follow along once it has begun -- learn more about the final six players in the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event. (Research by Jan Kores, Media Coordinator.)
Seat 1: Usman Siddique, 25, Walsall, UK, PokerStars qualifier
Chips: 3.775 million
British poker player Usman Siddique first came to attention in April 2016 when he won the UKIPT6 London Main Event for £84,100 at the age of 23. Back then, Siddique considered his mixed games abilities as his biggest advantage: "In mixed games, you have to adjust to each individual game. This helps in MTTs where the dynamics are constantly changing," he said.
Siddique, who was born in Walsall but lives in London, is now a familiar face on the European poker circuit. He set his new personal best result this April, finishing third in the partypoker Millions Nottingham Main Event for £105,000. Siddique has already beaten that prize by making the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event final table.
Siddique has been in a fine form here. He made it to the last three tables in the PokerStars National Championship, finishing 24th in a record-breaking field of 4,557 entries. Then he entered the Main Event, kicking off strong on Day 1b. He doubled with aces against kings and then bagged the fifth biggest stack before the start of Day 2.
Accomplished live, Siddique is prolific online as well. His accolades include a PokerStars Sunday Million final table and a Spring Championship of Online Poker title.
Seat 2: Sebastian Sorensson, 27, Lund, Sweden, PokerStars qualifier
Chips: 6.175 million
Sweden has been a consistent breeding ground for poker superstars who thrive in both the live and online scenes. But only a little was known about Sebastian Sorensson before he arrived for the PokerStars Championship Barcelona Main Event. The 27-year-old from Lund, a town near Malmö, became the latest Swedish export to the PokerStars TV final table broadcast. After his last week's debut on the live felt at a tournament back home, Sorensson is now playing his second-ever live tournament.
"This is a completely different experience," Sorensson said. "You have to be focused for many days and a lot of hours. It costs a lot of energy."
Sorensson calls himself a semi-professional player for the past year. His other source of income comes from his a job in a warehouse. Sorensson likes producing music but there's not much time left for his passion these days with his poker. Sorensson is a huge Mixed Martial Arts and Conor McGregor fan.
Seat 3: Brian Kaufman, 27, Montevideo, Uruguay, PokerStars qualifier
Chips: 6.475 million
Uruguay's Brian Kaufman gave up his economics studies a year and a half ago to pursue his professional poker career. While he revealed the decision didn't come easily, Kaufman's drive towards poker is paying off. The 27-year-old from Montevideo is exclusively a tournament player. He hadn't been seen much on the live felt but qualified for PokerStars Championship Main Event online at PokerStars.
Kaufman made sure his name would be remembered after his first trip to Catalonia. He made it to the final table in the largest live tournament in PokerStars history, finishing eighth in a 4,557-entry field in the PokerStars National Championship. Kaufman is now at the Main Event final table too but needs a top five finish to score his overall personal best result. He's notched two six-figure prizes including one exceeding $300,000.
Outside of poker, Kaufman's main hobby is music. He plays guitar at home. Kaufman is also a football fan, a proud supporter of his hometown team National Montevideo.
Seat 4: Raffaele Sorrentino, 37, Catanzaro, Italy, PokerStars player
Chips: 15.475 million
Raffaele Sorrentino has become the first two-time PokerStars Championship Main Event finalist. More importantly, the 37-year-old from Italy might as well become the first two-time champion. After conquering the Main Event in Monte Carlo for €466,714, Sorrentino is now desperate to claim another title. He called for it at the end of Day 3: "How will I finish this tournament? I will win again!" he said.
Sorrentino is from Calabria but resides in Malta so that he could continue crushing the international online tournament fields as "1mDonuts" at PokerStars. The nickname is familiar to many MTT grinders in the virtual realm. Sorrentino has both second and third from a Sunday 500 to his name as well as a final table appearance in a Sunday Million. During his trip to EPT13 Prague, Sorrentino pocketed the biggest cash in his online career. He was knocked out of an EPT side event and decided to play an online session in his room. He ended up winning the Thursday Thrill for $106,166.
Sorrentino's victory in Monte Carlo doubled his lifetime live tournament earnings but the Italian wasn't quiet during summer either. Last month, he won the $1,600 No Limit Hold'em - Bounty at Deepstack Extravaganza III in Las Vegas, taking $84,588. So far, Sorrentino has amassed more than $1 million in live cashes and he's now guaranteed to pick up his third six-figure reward and has a decent shot at scooping his first seven-figure cash. He will move to the Italian top 20 on the all-time money list after adding his Main Event prize.
Seat 5: Lachezar Petkov, 26, Varna, Bulgaria
Chips: 10.325 million
Lachezar Petkov soared into the chip lead during Day 5 after scoring a huge double through Tsugunari Toma. Petkov's queens held against Toma's tens and pushed him over 8 million in chips. Although he was overhauled by Sorrentino, he is still second as the final day begins with more than 10 million in chips.
Petkov had won just over $220,000 in live tournaments before he arrived at PokerStars Championship Barcelona. His biggest payday came in the $10k High Roller at Merit Poker Gangsters & Chicago Poker Cup in Cyprus. Petkov qualified to the tournament for just $630 and won it, for $168,755.
That large bankroll booster convinced Petkov to turn pro. He plays mainly heads-up sit-n-gos and $100 Spin & Gos online. Petkov, however, still enjoys travelling around the world and playing in live tournaments. This will be his second cash in a PokerStars Championship Main Event. He picked up HK$79,300 for a 62nd place finish in Macau. His résumé also features several small cashes from Las Vegas.
Seat 6: Andre Akkari, 42, Sao Paulo, Brazil, Team PokerStars Pro
Chips: 8.125 million
Team PokerStars Pro Andre Akkari has secured his fourth cash in Barcelona's EPT/PokerStars Championship Main Event. Following his 32nd place in 2015, 61st in 2011 and 134th in 2014, Akkari's fourth score from Barcelona will be the most precious.
Akkari pulled to the chip lead early on Day 4 when he knocked out Patrick Leonard with ace-king against queens, spiking a king on the river. He eventually finished the day with the biggest stack to continue his amazing rally. "It was an amazing day, incredible!" Akkari said, adding: "Everything started going my way. I think I played good, I was getting a lot of value from my good hands."
The 42-year-old from Sao Paulo has been around for more than a decade. Akkari is accomplished player both live and online. Known as "aakkari" in the virtual realm, Akkari has amassed over $3.4 million in tournament winnings at PokerStars. His online CV includes Sunday 500 and Sunday Warm-Up wins.
Akkari ranks fourth in the Brazilian all-time money list with over $1.6 million in live tournament cashes. He's certain to move ahead of fellow Team PokerStars Pro Felipe Ramos after picking up his Main Event cash.
"You have to be completely focused, with a full attention to everything that is happening around and try not to give up a chip away be making mistakes," Akkari said.
So far, Akkari's greatest moment at a poker table came at the 2011 World Series of Poker. He captured a bracelet in a $1,500 NL Hold'em Event, taking $675,117 along with the gold. Akkari's previous closest shot at a PokerStars Main Event final table was 23rd place at the star-studded EPT11 Grand Final.