UKIPT5 London: Final table player profiles

Seat 1: Paul Simmons, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, 1,840,000

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Paul Simmons has been playing poker for over 10 years after discovering the live game as a student. The 30-year-old taxi driver still enjoys the game and plays "quite a lot," including a turn online as proven by his qualification into this Main Event on PokerStars.
This final table represents his first in a major live event, although he does have a UKIPT cash under his belt (in Nottingham in 2011) among others.

Seat 2: Christopher Yong, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, 3,510,000

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Christopher Yong doesn't get too much time off work to play poker these days (his game of choice being hold'em cash), being a trainee solicitor. After winning an online satellite into this, his first UKIPT, he's finalled what is only his fifth ever live tournament. "I've taken Monday off," admitted Yong, as he headed to the table as one of the three big stacks.

Seat 3: Lawrence Bayley, United Kingdom, 1,930,000

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Lawrence Bayley, 26, plays live rarely, considering the UKIPT Main Event as "more of a holiday or break" from his day job playing turbo and hyper-turbo online sit and gos on PokerStars, where he's better known as SuperNova Elite 'bigstealer.' He's enjoyed the Main Event, saying there was "less autopilot" involved and is comfortable going into the final as "the stack size stuff isn't unfamiliar."

Seat 4: Martin Hanham, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, 1,805,000

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Martin Hanham's only live poker experience has been in UKIPT events, for which he is adept at qualifying online, turning a £5 satellite on PokerStars into his entry into this one. The 39-year-old tube driver is more usually found on the virtual felt but has a decade of poker experience behind his run at this final. Like Yong, his "long weekend" from his job has come in handy as Monday doesn't loom over his final table.

Seat 5: Brett Angell, United Kingdom, 910,000

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Brett Angell, a fixture on the UKIPT for many years, went one better than his runner-up finish at UKIPT2 Nottingham when he won UKIPT4 London in October 2014. Should he win today, Angell will join Nick Abou Risk, Joeri Zandvliet and Wojtek Barzantny as a two-time UKIPT winner. Finish second or third and he'll have put up the best ever defence of a UKIPT title (Max Silver's first and fourth at consecutive UKIPT Dublin's is the current record) and if he finishes third he'll have the full set of UKIPT medals with a first, second and third to his name.

"It would mean a lot to me to win a second UKIPT title and to be the first to do it in the same venue would be great and going back to back is something no one's ever done live on the UKIPT."

Despite all his success on the felt Angell's not a full-time player but an IT professional and the 31-year-old has no plans to give up the day job anytime soon; win or lose he'll be back at work in Middlesbrough tomorrow.

Seat 6: Rapinder Cheema, United Kingdom, 3,590,000

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Amazingly, this is 34-year-old Rapinder Cheema's first live tournament. He tried to qualify online but when he didn't he thought he'd just "give it a go." He hails from Dartford and is using a bracelet that says "number one dad" on it as a card protector, which was given to him by his five-year-old son Chandan. Initially it didn't look promising (he entered as an alternate and lost two-thirds of his chips within the first three hands), but comes to the final table second in chips, already guaranteed his biggest cash.

Seat 7: Fernando Marin, United Kingdom, PokerStars Qualifier, 4,055,000

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Fernando Marin is one of many Spaniards who play poker for a living and call London home. His chosen game is multi-table tournaments but he also dabbles in sit and gos. Marin's played poker for 10 years but this is his biggest live cash to date. It's only his second UKIPT tournament (his first being Edinburgh in Season 1). Marin's a big Real Betis fan, is wearing a tracksuit top with the club crest on today and says his favourite Betis player of all time is Denilson.

Seat 8: Joakim Sorensen, Sweden, 715,000

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The only player not from the UK to reach the UKIPT5 London final table, 26 year old Joakim Sorensen is a professional poker player who last played a tournament like this a couple of years ago. Now he plays mostly heads up online but admits that this event, with its 742 entrants, has "nice money" especially at the top which is where he's aiming despite coming to the final as the short stack.

Nick Wright
@PokerStars in UKIPT