Seat 1: Niall “firaldo87” Farrell, 28, Glasgow, UK, 3,320,000
Affable Scotsman Niall Farrell already has more than $1.3m in live tournament winnings, with his biggest result being runner-up in the 2013 WSOP $3k NLH event for $366,815. He has twice fallen shy of EPT Main Event finals: he was tenth at EPT9 London and 15th at EPT Barcelona in Season 10.
He’s no slouch online either, with more than $2.4 million in cashes. Those results include becoming the FTOPS Main Event champion in 2014 for $266,232. He’s been an online pro since graduating in law from Dumfries University. You can follow Farrell on twitter – @Firaldo87poker
Seat 2: Rainer Kempe, 26, Berlin, Germany, now UK – PokerStars qualifier, 2,255,000
Rainer Kempe must be getting pretty used to the limelight at EPTs. He’s now made back-to-back Main Event finals, after finishing fifth in Barcelona for €320,400. Not only did he qualify online for Malta (again in a €320 Deep Hyper-Turbo), he has also had time to nip up to Nottingham where he recorded a small cash in a £300 NL Deepstack.
His most recent cash came only a few days ago when he finished 16th in the one-day EPT Malta €10k High Roller for €20.405. Kempe, from Berlin, and who studied at the University of Potsdam, is one of numerous German players who have moved to the UK to play online. He has live tournament winnings of $636,731, which include his seventh place finish in the $1,111 Little One for One Drop in Vegas for $90,189.
Seat 3: Sam “Str8$$$Homey” Greenwood, 27, Toronto, Canada, 2,095,000
Greenwood, who turned 27 three weeks ago, is one of Canada’s best-known live players and – along with brothers Max and Lucas – a regular competitor on the European Poker Tour.
Greenwood has more than $1.7m in live tournament winnings, $1.25m of that gained this year alone, with €110,590 earned this past week when he finished sixth in the €25k High Roller.
His year began in style with sixth place in the PCA $100k SHR for nearly $400,000. He then enjoyed a spectacular visit to Vegas for the World Series, gaining his first bracelet in the $1k NL event for $318,977, and finishing fifth in the $10k NL Six-Handed Championship for a further $126,745.
Greenwood also has stunning online credentials; with five €100k+ career cashes, all during 2015, meaning a profit of more than $1m on PokerStars. Other accolades include winning the SCOOP $2k NL-H for $377,280 two years ago, and finishing runner-up in the WCOOP Super Tuesday for $221,760 last year. He also took down the SCOOP $2k PLO 6-max Turbo Zoom for $141,960 this year.
He came in to Day 5 as one of the shorter stacks but has made the final eight, partly thanks to winning a 805,000 pot when he shoved on a four-betting Alexander Ivarsson, forcing him to fold. You can follow Greenwood via twitter – @samgreenwood14
Seat 4: Giulio Spampinato 34, Catania, Italy – live satellite winner, 860,000
Spampinato is originally from Italy but now lives with his wife Daniela in Malta. He works full-time as a sports trader and plays poker for fun, winning his seat for the Main Event in a €500 live satellite at Portomaso Casino.
Online, he plays MTTs and has had some good results, including winning the Big $55 two years ago for $17k. The payout he’s now guaranteed for making the final table is nearly ten times his total live tournament winnings to date. If he wins, he says he and Daniela will use the money to buy a home and start planning a family.
Seat 5: Alen Bilic, 26, Mostar, Bosnia & Herzegovina, 5,395,000
With $91,704 in total live tournament winnings, 26-year-old Bilic is already ranked #4 in the Bosnia & Herzegovina all-time money list. But his live achievements pale in comparison to his online results. PocketFives has Bilic ranked as his country’s #1 online tournament player with a string of amazing results on PokerStars and more than $2 million in lifetime cashes. His results include winning the Sunday 500 last year for nearly $80k, back-to-back wins in the Big $162, and winning the PokerStars Sunday 500 for $71,000 in March last year.
Now guaranteed at least €49,560 for making the final nine, Bilic has already exceeded his previous best live cash of €18,320 when he finished 69th at EPT Barcelona in August. Bilic’s other big live cashes have all come during WSOP events, including a deep run in the 2014 $3k NL event, finishing 15th for $19,547.
Bilic has been a poker pro since graduating in Business Management and Economics in 2010. He first start playing in online free-rolls but, after defeating a 7,000-strong field, started playing for real money (mainly heads-up Sit & Goes) while honing his knowledge via poker training sites and forums. He switched to MTTs in 2012.
Seat 6: Nabil Cardoso, 25, Spain (now living in UK), 315,000
Like many Spanish poker pros, Cardoso has relocated to the UK and is currently living in Manchester. He mainly plays online cash games, plus MTTs on Sundays. He’s been a poker pro since the beginning of 2013, and his biggest tournament win online to date is around €30k. He has only a handful of small live cashes.
Seat 7: Jaroslav Sikora, 27, Krakow, Poland, 3,285,000
It’s been another memorable trip to Malta for Jaroslaw Sikora. His first EPT Malta festival in March wasn’t planned at all, as he was supposed to be on holiday in Thailand. However, unable to get a visa in time he decided to check out the debut EPT Malta stop instead. It proved a good decision. He came second in the IPT Main Event for €97,975 – just a day after celebrating his 27th birthday.
Since his return here for the EPT12 festival Sikora has recorded some big online scores. Playing as “husajn54” on PokerStars, he notched up another second place finish, this time in the SCOOP €2k NLH event for $256k. His first EPT Main Event cash came in Barcelona and now he’s now reached the final nine with 2,500,000 in chips.
Seat 8: Daniel “Oxota” Dvoress, 27, Toronto, Canada, 1,980,000
Like fellow finalist Sam Greenwood, Dvoress hails from Toronto. He’s ranked slightly lower then his fellow Canadian in the country’s all-time money list: in 96th place to Greenwood’s 42nd.
Dvoress’s live tournament winnings total more than $650k, a sum largely acquired during the EPT’s debut stop in Malta in March where he cashed five times for a combined €330k, including a monster €263,000 for third place in the €25k High Roller.
His best Main Event result before now was 17th place at EPT11 Barcelona for €54,700. Dvoress is also a poker coach and has sizeable online results to his name, including winning the SCOOP $2k NLH event last year for $317,911.