Welcome to the final day of the European Poker Tour main event in Campione, Italy, where the last eight players, from a field of 570, will face off for one last time to win the title, the trophy, the Shamballa bracelet and €640,000.
Play starts at 2pm, with every hand broadcast on EPT Live Lite, accompanied as ever by the percussion of our live coverage and features throughout the day.
As we wait for the players to arrive, take a look through the following background information about each of the finalists.
Seat 1: Olivier Busquet, 30, Westchester County, USA – 3,011,000
Widely regarded as one of the best heads-up sit-n-go players in the world, Olivier Busquet has made a highly successful move to live poker and has already earned over $2.5 million. He first started playing poker in home games while working for a Wall Street trading firm. “When I first took up poker, it was with the idea that there was essentially a lot of skill set overlap between what a Wall Street trader and a poker professional were doing. Eventually, I had built up to a few thousand dollars and jumped into $5-$10. In the span of a month, I had earned about $100,000 and moved into the $25-$50 games,” said Busquet.
Seat 2: Koen De Visscher, 26, Wilsele, Belgium – 1,856,000
De Visscher is fast becoming a face on the EPT having bubbled his first EPT ever played, EPT Barcelona in Season 7, before cashing in 3rd place at EPT Snowfest just a few months later for €147,000. Three further cashes have followed. The online pro has taken down a PokerStars SCOOP $1,000 NL event last year for $92,417. He lives with his girlfriend in Wilsele near Leuven.
Seat 3: Mario Nagel, 29, Gelsenkirchen, Germany, PokerStars player – 1,210,000
Campione must bring back pretty good memories for German PokerStars player Mario Nagel because it’s here that he made his first live cash with a 27th finish at the Italian Poker Tour last June for $5,126. Online he’s done better having won a $265 SCOOP event for $81,536. Economic student Nagelis being supported in Campione by his good friends Ole Schemoin, Tobias Hagedorn and EPT Prague champion Martin Finger.
Seat 4: Stefano “stefax27” Puccili, 40, Rome, Italy – 1,450,000
Puccilli has been playing poker for eight years with excellent results; he won IPT San Remo in June 2009 for €120,000. Puccilli was voted both IPT Player of the Year in 2010 as well as claiming the PokerStars Qualifier of the Year title. Puccilli is the only remaining Italian player left in the tournament and hopes for a second EPT title for Itlaian poker rests squarely on his shoulders.
Seat 5: Jannick Wrang, 31, Copenhagen, Denmark – PokerStars qualifier 2,882,000
Danish grinder Jannick Wrang recently finished ninth on the PokerStars MicroMillions leader board so you might be forgiven that he’s a low stakes player come good. That could not be further from the truth. Wrang, a regular $25-$50 Pot-Limit Omaha player, had lost $150,000 in a brutal two days of cash games and challenged himself to focus on the micro-stakes series. That ninth place gifted him a $1,050 SCOOP ticket, which he’ll no doubt use to good effect as he pushes through the $1,000,000 mark in online tournament winnings at PokerStars. The Dane has been playing the EPT since Season 3 and this will be his fourth main event cash. A 16th place finish at EPT London (£25,000) was his deepest result before Campione.
Seat 6: Fabrice “FabSoul” Soulier, 42, Avignon, France – 3,480,000
Soulier is ranked fourth in France’s all time money list with more than $3,600,000 in live winnings, the high point of his career winning the 2011 WSOP $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. Championship. Soulier, who was originally a film and TV director, has appeared on numerous TV poker shows and was the main character featured in the 2006 PokerStars-sponsored documentary “That’s Poker.” Soulier is co-founder of the “Madeinpoker” online poker community.
Seat 7: Balazs “birs320” Botond, 27, from Budapest, Hungary – PokerStars player 2,080,000
Technology graduate Balazs “birs320” Botond has been playing EPTs since Season 6 and finished 13th at EPT Vienna last season for €26,000. He has made more than $200,000 in live tournament winnings and more than $1,300,000 online. He took up poker three years ago and turned pro just six months later, eventually ditching his job in a Budapest department store. He is being supported here in Campione by his girlfriend Zsofi.
Seat 8: Robin Ylitalo, 25, Gothenberg, Sweden – 1,153,000
Ylitalo has been playing poker professionally for four years with his main grind being high-stakes online MTTs. It’s been a successful endeavour: his biggest cash being close to $100,000 in a $600 buy-in event at the beginning of the year. He’s been playing EPTs for a couple of seasons with his best result being 13th at Berlin last season for €28,000. Should Ylitalo win he’ll be the eighth Swede to claim an EPT title.