There were 32 players coming back today, a great many of whom we knew from their previous exceptional exploits on this tour and further afield. It was ambitious to expect to provide pen-pics of all of them before the first tournament break, and I have failed. But here’s Part One of a look at this amazing EPT London field, with Part Two imminent.

Broadly speaking, the top half of the names listed below are so familiar that us seasoned tournament reporters could provide this information off the top of our heads. But Google was required for the next crop, and some still remain a mystery, as you can see below.

We have, at least, credited our sources:

Familiar faces:

Jason Mercier – United States
In a day packed with the cream of the poker crop, Mercier is arguably the best known. Has won an EPT title, two WSOP bracelets and back-to-back NAPT Bounty shootout titles. Mercier is a Team PokerStars Pro and is genuinely surprised to have had to wait for more than a year since his last major tournament victory. Ordinarily they come along much more frequently than that.


Jason Mercier: If you don’t know him already…

Theo Jorgensen – Denmark
A familiar face on the EPT from its earliest seasons, with huge cashes both live and online to his name. Plays the biggest mixed games online, but has also made live EPT final tables and has won a WPT tournament plus a World Series bracelet. We’ll hope to catch up with Jorgensen later today.


Theo Jorgensen: Back to the big game

Mike McDonald – Canada
All round tournament poker sensation, known as Timex online and for his deathly stare in the live environment. Won EPT Dortmund and made the final table the following year, as well as a final table in Deauville. Many commentators’ pick as the inevitable first double EPT champion. Could it be this week?


Mike McDonald: Timex is back

Nicolas Chouity – Lebanon
Arguably the best player from Lebanon, which is the deserved reigning Country of the Year on the EPT. Won the EPT Grand Final two years ago, and has subsequently won a WCOOP bracelet and a SCOOP watch among countless live and online results. Won a side event (after a heads up chop with Sergio Aido) earlier this week.

Annette Obrestad – Norway
A welcome return to the live tournament environment for one of the most irresistible talents in the game. Obrestad remains the youngest winner of the World Series bracelet and have previously missed out on an EPT title by only one place. Will reignite the “best female player in the world” debate with Vanessa Selbst – until we can all shut up and just admit that Selbst and Obrestad are just among the best players of either gender in the world.

Steve O’Dwyer – United States
One of the stand-out performers in poker across the globe over the past couple of years, including seven six-figure cashes in London, Denmark and his United States. Has made two EPT final tables and was runner-up to Benny Spindler at the last EPT London for his biggest career live cash.

Yuri Gulyy – Russia
Won a side event here, went deep in Deauville. Is clearly a player in form. Travels with his son, who looks a little like his father if put through the machine that Mike Teavee went through in Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. PokerStars Blog caught up with the Gulyys in France.

Ruben Visser – Netherlands
Plays online as rubenrtv, where he is a regular face on the final tables of the big Sundays, and also has a WCOOP bracelet to his name. Has also had five six-figure cashes on the EPT, including making a final table at the PCA Main Event in 2012.

Russell Carson – Canada
Known as rdcrsn online, where he has won four Pocket Fives triple crowns and has formerly been ranked No 2 in the world by the same site. But is also well known on the live circuit, having finished second to Allan Baekke at the inaugural EPT Snowfest for his biggest live score.

Raoul Refos – Netherlands
A regular player on the EPT without ever really making a major breakthrough. His best main event result is still a 45th place in Deauville in 2009, but has two side event final tables and has been on the final table of the Master Classics in his native Netherlands.

John O’Shea – Ireland
When John O’Shea had a deep run at the World Series last July, it seemed like this was the best result of his career. But by that point, he already had two six-figure cashes to his name – at a WPT and an EPT High Roller event. Is one of Ireland’s brightest young players, still looking for his first EPT final table.

Rumen Nanev – Cyprus
Not especially well known in the wider poker world, but has been making waves on the European tours of late. He won the Eureka PLO title in December (at EPT Prague) and also a side event at EPT Sanremo.

Google research required:

Fredrik Andersson – Sweden
Is either: Former Swedish ice hockey goaltender
Or: Swedish professional golfer
Or: Poker player known as Twizz76 online, enjoying his first cash on the EPT.

Daniel Erlandsson – Sweden
Is either: The drummer in the melodic death metal band Arch Enemy.
Or: The recent Poker-Sm champion, who won $105,587 for beating 295 others in Stockholm.

Hui-Chen Kuo – Taipei
A relatively unfamiliar face on the EPT, but regularly seen across the world – including the United States and her native Asia. Has a string of cashes in massive tournaments.

Giuseppe Sammartino – Italy
Is either: An Italian Rococo sculptur, born 1720.
Or: The player ranked 110,756th on the all time international poker money list, with one 207th place in a 2011 WSOP $1,000 buy in event.

Matthias Tikerpe – Estonia
Eyeing a breakthrough for Estonia, one of the emerging nations in world poker. We’d be lying if we’d noticed Tikerpe in previous tournaments, but he plays as mtk123 online, where he has already had more than a quarter of a million in tournament cashes. Ranked fourth in Estonia at the moment.

George Meitanis – Cyprus
Is either: The Head of Payments Department of the Laiki Bank.
Or: Isn’t.

Bassel Moussa – Lebanon
Has six recorded cashes, including five at WSOP events. Made a final table at a UKIPT side event last week.

Even Google can’t help:

Mantas Visockis – Lithuania


Follow live coverage of the EPT London main event on the EPT London page. Follow the final stages of the UKIPT main event on the UKIPT page. Follow the @PokerStarsBlog Twitter account to keep up-to-date with all the EPT action.


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