From a starting field of 1,098 entries, the European Poker Tour (EPT) Main Event is down to its final six. Learn some more about them in our EPT Monte Carlo final table player profiles.
Seat 1: Samy Boujmala, 29, Marseille, France
CHIPS: 3.675 million
Samy Boujmala is a real grinder. He has been playing in French-facing online cardrooms for almost 10 years, using the screen-name “chlagito”.
Boujmala qualified for this EPT Monte Carlo Main Event in a live satellite the day before Day 1B, and the 29-year-old from South of France has had a dream tournament since then. He was overall chip leader after Day 1 and always close to the top of the ranking ever since.
“I’m putting all my focus on playing well and ignoring everything else,” Boujmala says. “I’m almost surprised at myself for that.”
Boujmala says he owes his trip to Monaco to another Frenchman, Virgile Turchi, who qualified online for the event. “He’s been coaching me for three months and he brought me on board for this EPT,” Boujmala says. “I also owe a lot to another Frenchman, Hedi Boussetta, who has helped me progress enormously.”
He’s also delighted to be alongside Arnaud Enselme at the final. “It’s a great pleasure to run deep with Arnaud, I could never have imagined that. We were playing €3 tournaments 10 years ago online together and now we’re in the final of an EPT, it’s wonderful.”
With $330,000 in live winnings, Boujmala has already smashed his best score from the 2018 WSOP Main Event. Guaranteed of a five-figure payout, he will be aiming for his first major tour victory.
Seat 2: Mike Watson, 39, Toronto, Canada
CHIPS: 8.135 million
It would take a real veteran to remember Mike Watson’s first appearance in a PokerStars-sponsored event. He was one of four members of the Canada team that played the inaugural World Cup of Poker, hosted alongside EPT Barcelona, in 2007. The team, which also included Daniel Negreanu, finished fourth and the players picked up €4,000 apiece.
Even back then, however, “SirWatts” was making a name for himself at the online tables, and Watson’s career has flourished in all environments in the subsequent 15 years.
Watson is now established as a regular in the very biggest games in the world and has $19 million in live tournament earnings to his name. That includes victory in the 2016 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA) Main Event — remarkably, only the fifth biggest score of his career.
He has also won a €50K event at the WSOP Europe and a he has a WPT crown from the 2008 Bellagio Cup. He has tournament results from across the globe.
His online game is exceptional too. SirWatts has won seven SCOOP titles in six different poker variants: badugi, 2-7 single draw, 6+ hold’em, PLO and PLO Hi/Lo, as well as no limit hold’em. He has three WCOOP titles as well.
Watson is by far the most experienced player at this EPT final table, and brings the most exemplary reputation. He has the chance to join only two other players as a two-time EPT champion.
Seat 3: Leo Worthington-Leese, 31, Brighton, UK
CHIPS: 8.270 million
We’ve put Brighton down as Leo Worthington-Leese’s hometown, but aside from occasional visits to family, the 31-year-old poker pro is never there. He’s on the road traveling for poker, and he wouldn’t have it any other way.
Since turning pro in 2017, Worthington-Leese has accumulated $541,784 in live tournament cashes from various stops around the world, many of which your average poker fan won’t know exist. His largest score came at the Battle of Malta in 2019 where he finished fifth for €56,470.
“I like to go places I’ve never been before,” he says. “I mix it up between mainstream stops like the EPT and smaller, value-heavy stops. Just make it up as I go really.”
Worthington-Leese discovered poker when some college friends invited him for a £5 rebuy. He enjoyed it so much that he sought out other nearby games and began doing the rounds from his local pub to the cricket club. The natural progression was to casinos and Worthington-Leese hasn’t stopped since.
He’s had a lot of close calls in big tournaments recently and feels like momentum is on his side.
“I feel really good,” he says. “Everything has been preparing me to be comfortable here.”
Seat 4: Leonard Maue, 28, Braunschweig, Germany, (lives in Vienna) – PokerStars qualifier
CHIPS: 4.305 million
Leonard Maue started playing poker about 10 years ago. For the last five years or so, he’s been a full-time professional. So he followed the same path as many other German pros and relocated to Vienna. Maue plays tournaments, exclusively, and prefers online over live games.
But traveling around the circuit provides a good balance for the 28-year-old, who has been attending most of the EPTs lately. “I’ve always liked the EPT streams. I used to watch them all the time,” he said.
Now one of the main characters on PokerStars TV himself, Maue will pick up his first EPT Main Event cash. But he already boasts an impressive live tournament resume, headlined by a €25,000 tournament victory at EPT Barcelona 2022.
He would need an outright win here – or a favorable deal – to top the €653,160 payday from last August. Should he really take it down, he would become the first German EPT champ since Manig Loeser, who prevailed on the same stage in May 2019.
Maue is on a second bullet. He qualified online at PokerStars, but the first attempt didn’t go his way. So he decided to re-enter at the buzzer, come back for Day 2 with a fresh 30,000 in chips, and spin the 20 big blinds into a real shot at the title. He claimed he knows all of his opponents on the final table. “I came prepared,” he said.
Seat 5: Arnaud Enselme, 29, Bordeaux, France, (lives in Tas-Sliema, Malta)
CHIPS: 3.415 million
In only a few years, Arnaud Enselme’s poker career has taken on a new dimension. Beginning at the smallest limits in the .fr cardrooms, he is now comfortable at the biggest buy-ins of .com. The 29-year-old Frenchman has gone through all the stages in online and live MTT and is now one of the best French regulars, recognised by his peers.
Formerly a high-level sport sailor, Enselme has successfully made the transition to professional poker. He has already recorded more than $1.2 million in career live earnings and despite a few wins including a WSOPC ring, a spadie in Prague in a hyper turbo and a WSOP Online bracelet, Enselme has still not gone the distance in a truly prestigious live tournament.
“Being deep in an EPT has been a dream of mine since I started playing poker,” he says. “The EPT circuit is the most prestigious for me. I realize how lucky I am to still be in this tournament and close to realizing my dream.”
Enselme has been playing poker for almost 10 years and knows Samy Boujmala, the other Frenchman in this final, well. They started out playing together on .fr sites.
“It’s amazing to share this with Samy, we’ve known each other for a long time, we’re going to be linked for life!” Enselme says.
For the final, Enselme will be able to count on the support of his father and his girlfriend on the rail as well as from the whole French community, both on site and from afar.
Seat 6: Joachim Haraldstad, 34, Kristiansand, Norway
CHIPS: 5.130 million
Around six years ago, Joachim Haraldstad realised that the game he played only for fun was “going pretty well” and decided to become a poker pro. “I got my wife on board,” Haraldstad says, adding that she is now fully supportive of his new career. “She trusted me.”
Back then, Haraldstad was a security guard in his native Kristiansand, a seaside city in southern Norway, doing punishing 12-hour shifts patrolling buildings and the streets. He worked for half of the week and played poker for the other half, and dipped his toes into the water of the EPT, and other live events, whenever he could.
That included a trip to Monaco in 2013, where he won a €1K side event and made two other final tables, but he was unable to return for the subsequent decade. He changed that this year — and is very happy that he did. Haraldstad is now placed third heading into the EPT Monte Carlo Main Event final day, with his eyes fixed on the near €900K first prize.
“It’s been going great,” Haraldstad says, admitting that he has been catching good cards, winning flips, and even coming from behind to win when necessary. “I feel like I’m playing good and running good,” he adds, fully appreciating just how perfect a combination that can be in an event of this size. “I’m running really hot.”
Haraldstad is now the father of two boys — Evan, who is three-and-a-half, and Silas, who is six months old. They are at home with their mother, Kristiane, but the whole extended family is watching on the stream. That includes parents, grandparents and parents-in-law. Haraldstad says he is getting plenty of messages from his mother-in-law. “They’re all very supportive,” he says. “It’s very nice.”
Haraldstad says that PLO is his preferred game, and he plays mostly online. But this live hold’em event seems to be going pretty well as well, and Haraldstad is well placed to become the first Norwegian champion on the EPT since Kevin Stani triumphed in Tallinn in 2010.
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