Final table set at WSOPE Main Event

1 October 2009

SEAT 1: BARRY SHULMAN
HOMETOWN: LAS VEGAS, NV
CHIP COUNT: 1,090,000

Barry Shulman is a former WSOP gold bracelet winner. He won the Seven-Card Stud Eight-or-Better championship in 2001. Shulman is CEO of Card Player magazine and has been one of the poker industry's most-respected voices for more than a decade. Shulman's appearance at this final table means the Shulman family has hit the daily double in WSOP events, this year. His son Jeff Shulman is one of the famed "November Nine" in the 2009 WSOP Main Event, which concludes next month. Shulman's wife Allyn is a respected player as well, who competed in the championship and is sitting in the crowd today to cheer for Barry. Yes indeed, the entire Shulman Family can sure play poker!

SEAT 2: JASON MERCIER
HOMETOWN: FORT LAUDERDALE, FL
CHIP COUNT: 3,198,000

Jason Mercier is a former WSOP gold bracelet winner. He won the $1,500 buy-in Pot-Limit Omaha championship earlier this year in Las Vegas. Mercier has performed very well in Europe, winning the 2008 European Poker Tour's championship in San Remo, Italy. He also won the ONE MILLION POUND showdown here in London, last year. Despite all his winnings, it's reported that Mercier would not shell out the money for a hotel room while staying in London, preferring instead to crash on the sofa at a friend's house. Mercier has dominated play in this tournament so far, and arrives at the final table as the player to beat, as the current chip leader.

SEAT 3: PRAZ BANSI
HOMETOWN: LONDON, ENGLAND
CHIP COUNT: 1,160,000

Praz Bansi is one of six former WSOP gold bracelet winners at today's final table. He won the $1,000 buy-in Limit Hold'em championship in 2006. To say Bansi is "hot" would be an understatement. He's final-tabled six major poker tournaments this year alone, with his best showing being a win at the Five-Star World Poker Classic, held last Spring. Bansi starts the day with an average-sized stack and a great deal of experience and confidence. He'll be a tough player, for sure.

SEAT 4: MARKUS RISTOLA
HOMETOWN: HELSINKI, FINLAND
CHIP COUNT: 784,000

Ristola hopes to become only the third Finnish poker player in history to win a WSOP gold bracelet. His fellow countryman Jani Vilmunus won the PLO championship here last week. Ristola is a 22-year-old student and part-time poker pro. He started playing poker only a few years ago, and has already cashed in several major events, winning the most recent Helsinki Poker Freezeout. Ristola is already guaranteed the biggest tournament payout of his young career, to date. Regardless of what happens today, the future looks very bright indeed, for Markus Ristola.

SEAT 5: CHRIS BJORIN
HOMETOWN: LONDON, ENGLAND
CHIP COUNT: 518,000

Chris Bjorin is a two-time former WSOP gold bracelet winner. He won WSOP events in 2000 and 2001. Bjorin was actually born in Sweden. He immigrated to London where he now lives in order to concentrate full-time on poker and sports betting. He also loves drinking fine wines and dining at expensive restaurants. Bjorin has more than $4 million (USD) in career tournament winnings, to date. This marks his 51st time to cash in WSOP events, which puts him in eighth-place on the all-time list. In addition to becoming a poker legend for his accomplishments, Chris is also one of the game's true gentlemen.

SEAT 6: JAMES AKENHEAD
HOMETOWN: LONDON, ENGLAND
CHIP COUNT: 1,398,000

This has already been an incredible year for 26-year-old poker pro James Akenhead. He's one of the "November Nine," which will compete for the 2009 world poker championship next month. And now, here he is currently ranked second in chips coming into today's final table. Not to tell a bad beat story, but Akenhead probably should have at least one WSOP gold bracelet to his name already. He was on the verge of winning an event in 2008, when his opponent was all in and drawing slim with 10-4 against Akenhead's A-K. The opponent spiked quad tens, and Akenhead had to settle for second place. Now, it's redemption time/ Akenhead gets his shot today in London, and again in Las Vegas, next month.

SEAT 7: DANIEL NEGREANU
HOMETOWN:LAS VEGAS, NV
CHIP COUNT:438,000

Daniel Negreanu is a four-time WSOP gold bracelet winner. He won his first WSOP title in 1998, then the youngest player in WSOP history ever to win a gold bracelet. He won subsequent titles in 2002, 2003, and 2008. Negreanu is unquestionably one of poker's biggest superstars and most popular players, appearing regularly on high-stakes poker shows and television commercials. He is about to star in a new TV series in the US, which begins filming when he returns after this event. Negreanu was WSOP "Player of the Year" in 2004. He is also third on the career all-time money list for overall worldwide tournaments, with over $11 million in wins, to date. He hopes to make that $12 million plus, today – but has a big challenge ahead as the shortest stack.

SEAT 8: ANTOINE SAOUT
HOMETOWN: SAINT MARTIN DES CHAMPS, FRANCE
CHIP COUNT: 701,000

Antoine Saout is one of two players at this final table who is a member of this year's "November Nine." He is a 25-year-old aspiring poker pro, who won his way into the WSOP Main Event by playing in an online satellite, which cost him just $50. Saout's specialty is playing in multiple poker games online. In some ways, Saout is the most secretive player in today's finale, and he seems to like it that way. He has relatively few tournament cashes or recorded results, yet he has certainly shown he can play poker with the world's best players. It's an amazing accomplishment to make it to final tables here at WSOP Europe, and the WSOP Main Event.

SEAT 9: MATT HAWRILENKO
HOMETOWN: BOSTON, MA
CHIP COUNT: 674,000

Matt is a former WSOP gold bracelet winner. He won more than $1 million in Event #56 at this year's WSOP, taking the top prize in the $5,000 buy-in Six-Handed No-Limit Hold'em championship. Hawrilenko is a graduate of Princeton University. Now 27, he worked for a top investment firm before concentrating on poker full-time. If Hawrilenko gets heads-up, look out. He is widely acknowledged as one of the game's top heads-up specialists. Hawrilenko mostly concentrates on high-stakes cash games, yet has now made four final tables at this year's WSOP.

Final table play starts at noon on Thursday. Play resumes with 10,000-20,000 blinds and a 3,000 ante. 55:06 remains in Level 22.


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