EPT9 Prague: Final table player profiles

December 14, 2012

The final table of EPT9 Prague begins at noon in the Hilton Hotel, Prague, on Saturday 15 December, 2012. The following players are all seeking the €8.3m first prize.

You can follow the action via the panel at the top of the main EPT9 Prague or read our feature coverage below the line.

The final table players:

Seat 1: David Boyaciyan, 33, Amsterdam, Netherlands


David Boyaciyan is at his second consecutive EPT Prague final table after finishing runner up to Martin Finger here last year. Boyaciyan is a banker by trade, but first took the poker world by storm when he won the Amsterdam Master Classics in November 2011 for €382,200, then another €535,000 for the EPT success. That prize is still Boyaciyan’s biggest cash to date but he has also made two WPT Bellagio finals, the Partouche final and finished 11th in the PCA $2,000 NL Turbo in January. Boyaciyan, who took a 12-month sabbatical from work this year to focus on poker, won his seat in a €550 live satellite in Prague. He has played all three EPT main events this season as well as the WSOP in the summer. He is married with two children – Joel, 5, and Elina, 2. – 4,635,000 chips

Seat 2: Sergey Kuzminskiy, 22, Kemerovo, Russia – PokerStars qualifier


Sergey Kuzminskiy is a 22-year-old linguistics student from Kemerovo. He first started playing five-card draw at the age of 12 with his younger brother. Then in 2008 he saw Poker After Dark on TV and start playing no limit hold’em – freerolls, microlimit MTTs and 6-max turbo SNGs. In October, he won his seat to Prague in a special EPT Prague Social Networks freeroll for players from the CIS. This is his first live tournament. – 1,850,000 chips

Seat 3: Ramzi Jelassi, 26, Stockholm, Sweden


Even though Ramzi Jelassi is only 26, he is one of the old hands on the European Poker Tour, having first played in Barcelona on season two after qualifying online. He went deep in two side events at that festival and then cashed twice the following season – in Baden and Warsaw. Since then he has cashed a further nine times in EPT main events, including 19th at the EPT6 Grand Final in Monaco for €50,000, and 20th at EPT Barcelona in season five for €24,700. His biggest victories to date though were winning IPT San Remo in 2009 for €170,000 and winning a €2k side event at EPT Prague in season five. His live tournament winnings now exceed $1.2 million. Before taking up poker in 2004, Jelassi was a successful soccer player, participating in the Boy’s Allsvenskan (the highest boy’s league in Sweden) as a 16-year old. – 5,675,000 chips

Seat 4: Ben Warrington, 25, London, UK


Ben Warrington is a 25-year-old professional poker player, originally from Epsom in Surrey and now living primarily in London – when he’s not travelling the international poker circuit. After making his mark online, where he won more than $2 million in tournaments alone, he is now focused on establishing himself as a live player. He considers his stellar performance here as evidence that he is getting close to achieving that goal. Warrington was tournament chip leader after day four and took a steady approach to day five, allowing players to bust around him. “I played very patiently,” he said. “And I’m still only one double up from pretty much the chip lead.” After a placement in Valencia, while studying Spanish at university, he lived in Spain for a few years before returning to his native UK in June. He is being supported in Prague by his girlfriend Yuresky, who played the ladies event here after qualifying on PokerStars. – 2,200,000 chips

Seat 5: Sotirios Koutoupas, 29, Thessaloniki, Greece – PokerStars qualifier

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Sotirios Koutoupas qualified for the EPT9 Prague main event on PokerStars via a €82 satellite. Koutoupas made his presence known in the Main Event on Day 3 when he was one of only three players to bag up more than a million in chips. Koutoupas plays primarily big buy-in tournaments on PokerStars under the screen name “SKWINNER” and has more than $190,000 in earnings. Prior to making the EPT9 Prague final table, Koutoupas’ only live cash was a runner-up finish to Kenny Hallaert in the EPT8 Loutraki €300 No-Limit Hold’em Turbo in November 2011. He won €5,200. Despite his online success, Koutoupas still works in the family business. Koutoupas is in Prague with his best friend, who was also with him when he made the final table of the event in Loutraki. “I can’t even imagine,” Koutoupas said when asked what it’d mean to win an EPT title. – 3,775,000 chips

Seat 6: Mark Herm, 27, Philadelphia, USA


The lone American remaining in Prague, Mark Herm has had seven World Series cashes and one at the PCA but none on this side of the Atlantic. The 27-year-old from Philadelphia turned pro after leaving college seven years ago. He began with a $50 deposit online, grinding limit hold’em games and running it up to more than $1,000. After leaving college he took up poker professionally and has never looked back. Herm says he is primarily an online tournament player and this is his first EPT in mainland Europe, which he claimed was a good way to avoid being bored. It’s made for a profitable week. “There’s no online poker back home,” said Herm. “Prague is a cool city and we wanted to check it out, more for travelling rather than poker.” – 1,700,000 chips

Seat 7: Aleh Plauski, 28, Minsk, Belarus – PokerStars qualifier


Aleh ‘cooltwister’ Plauski has scored more than a million dollars online at PokerStars and $449,386 in live tournaments, most of which came from a sixth place finish at the EPT Grand Final for €300,000. Not only is Plauski obviously a tournament talent but he’s also keeps good company. “I think it’s important for me [to win],” said Plauski. “A friend of mine has this result, he’s my classmate.” That classmate, with whom he shared a maths class, is Mikalai Pobal, winner of EPT Barcelona earlier this season. “There are two trophies that Belarus took, but only one for Russia. It would be nice to have a third result for Belarus. Let’s go!” – 4,705,000 chips

Seat 8: Diego Gomez, 33, Oviedo, Spain


If you were superstitious, you would say the bowtie-wearing insurance broker Diego Gomez was destined to make the EPT Prague final table. In August, he was in Barcelona for work and dropped in to watch JC Alvarado on the Super High Roller final table. He decided it was his dream to make an EPT final table and set about winning a seat on PokerStars. After bubbling three EPT Prague satellites, he decided he should come here anyway and buy in direct. Within days, he had managed to win the first Eureka side event (for €5,550) and then win a seat to the EPT main event in a live satellite, even though he was down to one big blind at one point. Gomez has been playing poker for around four years, mainly casino tournaments, although he finished 12th at Estrellas San Sebastian. He is being supported in the final by a large group of Spanish mates, including his girlfriend Marina. – 1,380,000 chips


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