UKIPT5 Edinburgh: Final table player profiles
Seat 1: Ben Burnhill, United Kingdom (PokerStars Qualifier)
Ben Burnhill, 29, is a local player who fits poker around his job as a business analyst for an investment bank here in Edinburgh. He's played since university (12 years ago), starting off in the Edinburgh Poker Society, then graduating to APAT and then larger events. This is his second UKIPT Main Event, although his memory of the first one is hazy as there was probably some "horrible bad beat story" to tell, even though he remembered the tour for its fantastic structure. Burnhill's final table appearance represents his biggest live result to date, and he says he'll be running on adrenaline as he's, "More mentally knackered than I've ever been."
Seat 2: David Gomez, Spain (PokerStars Qualifier)
David 'huelesabusto' Gomez is one of a number of Spanish professionals to call England home. The 25-year-old lives in Manchester and says he plays a "bit of everything," focusing mostly on cash games but also Spin and Gos and tournaments especially on Sundays. In October he finished runner-up in the Sunday Million winning $131,422. All told, that was a great month poker-wise for the Spaniard, who's originally from Leon in the north of Spain, as he also finished fourth in the IPT Main Event at EPT12 Malta, which earned him a further €54,570. Before poker he studied telecommunications but needs to do a final project to end his degree; outside of poker he enjoys athletics and running, and when he was younger he competed in the discus at the Spanish championships.
Seat 3: Dode Elliott, United Kingdom
Poker runs in Dode Elliott's family. His brother Willie made the final table at UKIPT Nottingham this year, finishing fourth for £67,000. Now it's Willie's turn on the rail, watching his brother, who qualified for this event in a live satellite, take his shot at a UKIPT title after having come back from one big blind in his qualifier. Elliot, 44, from Galashiels, Scotland, has fond memories of the UKIPT Edinburgh, as he picked up his biggest cash here (£13,000 for winning the £330 Edinburgh Cup in Season 3). Elliott caught the poker bug from Channel 4's Late Night Poker, and is now a professional player.
Seat 4: Gary Laing, United Kingdom
Gary Laing, 46, is a site shift manager from Fife, currently enjoying a rich vein of poker form. At the end of October he won a £200 tournament in Dundee for £7,100 and is completely freerolling this event after winning not one, but two seats in satellites. The first was won in his regular pub poker league and the second on Tuesday night when he came to the casino to buy into this event. He hopped into a £55 satellite and won another seat! Laing's been playing poker for around seven years and became interested after he saw it on TV. He says he plays more live poker than online and wherever he finishes today he'll be back playing his pub poker game as usual. However, should he win today then he says he, the wife and their extended family, who number seven children, will spend some of the money on a holiday.
Seat 5: Alex Lynskey, Australia (PokerStars Qualifier)
Alex Lynskey, 25, hails from Australia where he's racked up numerous live tournament cashes, including a 10th place finish in the $10,000 Aussie Millions Main Event back in January. His biggest result prior to that came in July when he finished sixth in a WPT Main Event for $135,504. He's since spent the last two years travelling the world playing poker. Lynskey started off playing online, moving into live tournaments and has been a professional for three years. A fan of the 60-minute Day 2 clock on the UKIPT, Lynskey said of being seated next to his partner Angelina Rich, "It's absolutely ridiculous!" In a good way, surely - they're both guaranteed at least £6,038 for this stop on their ongoing world tour having qualified online on PokerStars.
Seat 6: Angelina Rich, USA, PokerStars Qualifier
Angelina Rich, 25, is a professional poker player originally from Seattle, but currently on perma-tour of the world's live poker events with her partner Alex Lynskey. Rich began playing poker while travelling in Australia, meeting some players who taught her the game - so well she soon went pro. Rich's live results span seven countries over the past two years, from Macau to Berlin, with her most recent cash recorded at EPT Malta in October. Her biggest live result to date came after a Venetian Deepstack Extravaganza win this June for $215,000. She has position on Lynskey and a stack which could be problematic for him, although both of them qualified online on PokerStars and are looking at a healthy return on investment.
Seat 7: Michael McGee, United Kingdom
Professional online poker player Michael McGee hails from Edinburgh where he specialises in 6-max cash games. He began playing poker with friends in high school before taking the play-money introduction to online poker and discovering the power of the learning buddy - in his case fellow Scotsman and UKIPT4 London champion Robbie Bull, with whom he flat-shared until quite recently. He also busted Bull in this very event earlier on. McGee found the game fascinating from the start and has turned an initial learning experience into a job which is mainly screen-based but has prepared him well for a shot at his first live title.
Seat 8: Dean Hutchison, United Kingdom (PokerStars Player)
Professional poker player Dean Hutchison, 28, is attempting a feat never before seen on the UKIPT - a title defence. Last year he picked up £93,900 for the win here in Edinburgh, and hopes for a repeat victory today. Residing in Glasgow, he makes local casino cash games his bread and butter, although is only recently back from Atlantic City. Rarely leaving the cash tables, Hutchison's live tournament record is enviable; besides his win here last season he cashed in three other UKIPTs since and is playing this event as part of a prize package picked up when he won last season's Champion of Champions event in London.