UKIPT4 London: Final table player profiles
Seat 1: Lasse Frost, Denmark - 1,700,000
Arhus-based Lasse Frost has been playing poker for around eight years - mainly just for fun. However, in August 2012, he decided to take a year off from his job in economics to play poker full time. The decision paid off as in March this year he finished third at EPT Berlin for a gigantic €325,000 payday - by far his biggest live cash. At the time he said that even if he won EPT Berlin, he would still go back to work after the summer - and indeed he did, although it was in business for himself. Frost, who celebrates his 29th birthday next Saturday, considers himself both a cash game and tournament player and appears to have kept the knack - this is his first event on the UKIPT and he's made the final with average chips.
Seat 2: Jack Salter, United Kingdom (PokerStars Qualifier) - 3,645,000
Jack Salter won his seat to UKIPT London in a £11 rebuy satellite on PokerStars and now lies in near-tied first place with Ian Simpson going into the final day. Originally from London, the 26 year old studied in Manchester and now lives in Malta. In August this year, he enjoyed a deep run at UKIPT Galway, finishing 24th for €5,580. Jack's brother Louis also plays - although Jack has the edge when it comes to live events, with lifetime tournament winnings totaling more than $184,000. As well as UKIPTs, Salter has played events all over Europe including a few EPTs. Salter celebrated his 26th birthday on Thursday. He goes by the handle @jackziyang on twitter.
Seat 3: Dario Sammartino, Italy - 1,475,000
Italian player Dario Sammartino, 26, is no stranger to PokerStars live events and has cashed in numerous tournaments including the Italian Poker Tour and the European Poker Tour. Hailing from Naples, Italy, he won the IPT San Remo €5,000 High Roller in April for €35,000 and also made the penultimate day of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final in May, finishing 19th for €30,000. In 2011, he had a deep run in the WSOP Main Event, finishing 17th for € 37,000. His lifetime tournament winnings already total more than $500,000. Here in London, he was the Day 1b chip leader and has been consistently among the leaders throughout the event.
Seat 4: Robert Bull, Scotland (PokerStars qualifier) - 1,335,000
Robbie Bull is a UKIPT regular who won his trip to UKIPT London in a £100 2x Chance qualifier on PokerStars. In 2012, while a student in Edinburgh, he finished third in UKIPT Bristol for £33,000 - his biggest live cash to date. His live tournament winnings already total more than $63,000 and he's now guaranteed at least £13,115 more for making the final. His twitter handle is @Robbie_Bull; he describes himself as a "semi-professional poker player" but is racking up experience and cashes throughout the season.
Seat 5: Karl Mahrenholz, United Kingdom (PokerStars Qualifier) - 850,000
Karl Mahrenholz graduated in 2003 and started a career in the city, later finding the Gutshot Card Club where he came into contact with the young players who would become the Hitsquad. Fellow member Sunny Chattha narrowly missed the final himself (finishing 10th). Despite the fact that he has played poker since the age of 18, he only became a professional player in 2005 - a good move considering he has since taken nearly $1m in tournament winnings, including finishing in 1st place in the 2009 GUKPT Cardiff (£38,700). He describes the Connaught Rooms as the "best venue ever".
Seat 6: Ian Simpson, United Kingdom - 3,525,000
Despite dropping to a stack of just 5,000 on Day 1, Ian Simpson has proven his move from Biology teacher to professional poker player was a wise one. The 27 year old
from Newcastle is best known for his exceptional performance in the Irish Open, first winning the 'Sole Survivor' promotion in 2012 and then the whole shebang in 2013. Seconds after the final hand that saw him win €265,000, he was down on one knee proposing to his girlfriend, something even hardened poker journalists had never seen before. Hoping to make this year even more profitable, Simpson enters the final table in London almost tied for the chip lead.
Seat 7: Paul Zimbler - United Kingdom - 505,000
Paul Zimbler has live tournament cashes that stretch back over a decade. Having taken down events from Dublin to Tangier (his biggest cash being €36,400 for winning a Pot Limit Omaha event at the Irish Open in 2010) Zimbler has set his sights on the UKIPT for the simple reason that, "the structure is perfect." The slow blind levels suit the Marbella Kid especially as he feels that many entrants are more used to online or turbo tournaments and emphasises the power of patience as an underused skill. He enters the final as the definitive short stack with ten big blinds, but by the time they return to the UKIPT feature table he will have put his earlier misgivings over certain late-stage large pots to one side and focus on building a stack to win.
Seat 8: Patryk Slusarek - United Kingdom - 1,710,000
Patryk Slusarek has been playing poker for six years, mixing both live and online versions of the game, now professionally. Based in London, he's no stranger to the international tournament scene, cashing previously in several WSOP events plus EPTs in Berlin, the PCA and Monte Carlo. His biggest live win to date came in the latter, when he cashed for €25,000 at the EPT Grand Final in 2009. When asked what the six-figure first prize would mean to him, he replied, "breaking even for the last six months!" Although insisting that he wouldn't spend any of the big prize money should he win it, it would be surprising if Slusarek did not stick around for some of the upcoming action around the EPT.
All photos are copyright of Rene Velli