EPT London: Meet our main event final table players

October 06, 2011


Here are the full profiles for each of our EPT London Main Event final tables players. One of these eight players will be leaving London with £750,000 and a highly coveted EPT title, but that’s not say that the other seven will leave empty handed.

Check out the payouts by clicking here.

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Seat 1: Miroslav Benes, 32, Czech Republic – PokerStars qualifier – 370,000
There’s one at most EPT final tables, an online qualifier that had dreamt of making it to the final table but hadn’t actually thought it would happen; Miroslav Benes assumes that mantle at EPT London. Benes, who owns a company that produces tools for fixing machines, is a keen recreational player who focuses on online tournaments. Given the field he’s had to navigate to make it this far, it seems that his leisure time has been well spent.
He’s only had one significant live cash – sixth in the PokerStars Prague Open in 2010, so what does it feel like to have made the final table of an EPT? “It feels like a big success already because I qualified online. I just came here with my girlfriend for the trip, I didn’t think I’d make it this far.”

Benes may be starting the final as a short stack, just seven-and-a-half big blinds, but the online qualifier literally has nothing to lose. He’s already guaranteed himself £64,000 and an early double up or two will put him back in with a chance for a six-figure score.

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Seat 2: Andre Klebanov, 21, Chemnitz, Germany / Belarus – 2,730,000
Klebanov started playing poker online when he was 18 first blooding himself on the sit-and-gos, as many players do, but later started playing multi-table tournaments – and it seems that move is working out for him here in London. This main event is the second that he’s entered and the German-Belarusian thought that it might be another early bust out, he was down to 4,000 chips in the second level of the tournament.

But, much to his relief, he rallied away from an early departure and now guaranteed himself a minimum £64,000 payday. Klebanov holds dual nationality – he was born in Belarus but he now lives in East Germany. He said he’d buy a kangeroo if he wins. Okay, perhaps we made that up.

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Seat 3: Steve O’Dwyer, 29, Pennsylvania, USA – 1,250,000
Steve O’Dwyer hails from the United States originally, but recently relocated to Malta in order to be able to play online poker again. As well as thriving online, O’Dwyer – who studied communications and broadcasting at East Carolina University – also does pretty well for himself in the live poker realm. His first cash was in 2007 when he made the money at the PCA. In December 2009, O’Dwyer earned his largest live score to date after placing sixth in the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic for over $200,000. Earlier this year, O’Dwyer tasted victory after winning a $5,000 No-Limit Hold’em event at the Bellagio Cup VII in Las Vegas for $259,452. A month later in August, he won the Epic Poker League’s $1,500 Pro-Am event for $43,810. At the last EPT stop, O’Dwyer finished fifth in the €10,000 High Roller for €46,900. His total lifetime tournament earnings amount to over $1.1 million.

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Seat 4: Juan Manuel Pastor, 44, Madrid, Spain – Team PokerStars Pro – 1,915,000
Pastor started out in media marketing before focusing on playing poker. He learnt the basics of the game from his grandfather, but what started out as a fun pastime soon turned into a serious money-making opportunity and he is now one of the most successful Spanish players on the circuit as well as an acclaimed poker commentator and broadcaster.

Pastor’s first real break was two top eight finishes in Barcelona at the 2006 World Heads-Up Poker Championships. He also thrived in regional poker events in the Campeonato Espana de Poker including taking down a $600 NL tournament in 2008 for €22,200. He has also had several deep runs at EPTs, including 54th place at the Season 6 Grand Final for €30,000. Overall, Pastor has earned nearly $220,000 in live tournament winnings. His most recent cash was ten days ago when he bubbled the final table of the PokerStars Estrellas Ibiza event for €7,450. Pastor is married with two sons and a daughter.


Seat 5: Benny Spindler, 26, Darmstadt, Germany – PokerStars player – 3,435,000
This is Spindler’s second deep run in the EPT London Main Event – he finished 12th here two years ago for £28,000. That result followed his biggest ever cash – and his first brush with fame – when he came third at the 2009 PCA for $1.1 million. Spindler’s other huge result was second place in last season’s EPT Grand Final High Roller for €316,000 (the event won by Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier). Despite all these great results however, Spindler is planning to ease up on live events for a while and concentrate on playing online Pot Limit Omaha. He took up poker in 2006, starting in the micro limits before grinding his way right up to the high stakes cash games. Originally from Darmstadt in Germany, Spindler has been living in London for the last year. He said: “I like London and a lot of my friends live here … like Sebastian Ruthenberg, Philip Gruissem, Tobias Reinkemeier and Fabian Quoss”.

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Seat 6: Kevin Iacofano, 26, Cleveland, Ohio, USA – 2,685,000
Originally from Cleveland, Iacofano moved to Las Vegas in 2007 in order to pursue a career as a poker professional. He is considered one of the best online poker players in the world but is here in London making his second EPT final table. Back in February, Iacofano final tabled Season 7’s Copenhagen stop, eventually finishing in fourth place for $183,580. That was also his last EPT so he is effectively on back-to-back final tables. His other notably big cash was making the final of a 2009 WSOP $1,500 PLO event. He finished third for $96,128. Heading into this final table, Iacofano has $439,766 in live tournament winnings. Online, Iacofano holds over $875,000 in winnings on PokerStars and one WCOOP bracelet coming in 2009 when he won Event No. 8 for $64,000. Iacofano is an avid sports fan, following the Cleveland Browns, Cavaliers and Indians. He’s also a fan of the Ohio State Buckeyes.

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Seat 7: Martins Adeniya, 26, London, UK – 4,736,000
Londoner Martins Adeniya turned pro three years ago after leaving a high-paying job at Lloyd’s insurance. He had tried working during the day and grinding online at night but soon found he was earning far more as a player. A deep run in a 2009 online tourney cemented his decision to turn pro and gave him enough of a bankroll to start playing live events and cash games. The switch has turned out to be a good one: to date, Adeniya, who graduated in business administration, has earned more than $250k live and even more online.

He first came to media attention when he was the overnight Day 1a chip leader at last season’s EPT Snowfest in Austria. He ended up finishing 15th in that event for €11,495. His biggest result to date was 13th place in the 2010 WSOP $25k NL Six Max event for $58,699 and two weeks later bubbling the final of the $2,500 NL Six Max for $40,547. He was also runner-up in the $500 Venetian Deep Stack event in May 2010 and min-cashed the 2009 WSOP Main Event. Adeniya loves the travel element of playing live tourneys, seeing new sights and experiencing new cultures.

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Seat 8: Mattias Bergström, 24, Stockholm, Sweden – 3,620,000
High Stakes cash game player Mattias Bergström, also called Bettan by his friends, is 24 years old and comes from Stockholm. He started playing poker back in high school after watching the EPT on TV. He’s been around on the EPT tour for years now and has played about ten events before this one. This is his first cash in a big international tournament. His biggest tournament winning prior to this was the Swedish Championship in 2009 where he finished fifth for around $40 000. Here in London he’s being supported by his friends Joel Nordkvist, Gustav Sundell and Ramzi Jelassi among others.


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