Very few people had a better 2013 in poker than Adrian Mateos Diaz. The 19 year-old from Spain, who now lives in London, beat a field of 632 this time last year to win the Estrellas Poker Tour Madrid event for over €100,000. A few months late he followed it up by winning the WSOPE Main Event for €1,000,000 which sent straight up to 3rd in the all-time rankings for Spain.
At the GPI Awards last week, Diaz came away with the GPI Spanish Player of the Year as well as Rookie of the Year for his outstanding performances. He'll have a lot of work to do tomorrow though as Diaz will be the short stack at the final table.
Belgian pro Davidi Kitai hails from Brussels and was on his second EPT final table when he beat Andrew Chen heads-up to take down EPT Berlin in Season 8 for €712,000. His other EPT final was third at EPT Barcelona in Season 5 for €455,000 – the event won by Sebastian Ruthenberg. Kitai is the only Belgian who has won both a WSOP bracelet and a WPT title, and his EPT victory in Berlin gained him poker’s elusive “Triple Crown”.
His lifetime tournament winnings already total more than $3.4 million including his victory in the 2013 WSOP $5k PLO event for $224,560 and three other WSOP cashes last summer. His first WSOP bracelet came in 2008 when he won a €2k Pot Limit Hold’em tourney and he also has a WSOP-E bracelet from his victory in the $5k NL event in Cannes in 2012. Despite always appearing as if he’s just got out of bed, Kitai is no slouch at the table and is widely respected in the poker community. Kitai perfected his poker skills during a trip to Los Angeles in 2003. He had gone to the States to learn English, but it was Texas Hold’em that he mastered. He is #1 (and streets ahead) in the Belgium all-time money list.
Nikolay Losev is a poker player from Moscow in Russia with over $750,000 in live tournament winnings. Surprisingly, wherever Losev finishes tomorrow on the final table, this will be his first major cash in over two and a half years.
Losev is no stranger to winning in Deauville though. He won the €1,500 event here back in Season 6. Losev also finished tenth in the Main Event at EPT Prague in Season 7. Losev's biggest cash is currently a 28th place finish in the WSOP main event back in 2008 for $193,000 – he'll need to finish in the top two here to beat that result.
When German player Martin Schleich won EPT Barcelona in Season 8, he was something of a mystery. At the time he was working part-time in customer service and not a regular on the circuit. Howover even after his massive €850,000 victory, he remained a mystery. Thanks to his reticence in interviews, it was pretty hard to gauge how much impact the win – which was only the fourth in his live tournament career – had had on him.
Since then, Schleich has attended quite a few EPTs but his best result since has been was 22nd in a PCA $2k side event for $6,410. Schleich started playing poker online with No Limit cash games in 2006 and later decided to play more tournament poker, both live and online. His poker expertise is demonstrated by the fact that, in cash games, he reached the highest ranking achievable in a big German online poker school. Other cashes, all on the EPT, include 81st EPT5 San Remo for €9,200 and two PCA side events.
The main event might be on the live stream but the EPT Deauville High Roller Final Table is perhaps an even more star-studded event, featuring no less than four former EPT winners, EPT Season 8's Player of the Year and the WSOPE Main Event Champion who also picked up two trophies at the GPI European Poker Awards a few nights ago.
Yes, it doesn't look easy.
With all players guaranteed €37,000 and €272,000 for the winner, this event has seen an increase in numbers from 85 to 115 making it the biggest ever EPT High Roller event to be played in Deauville. Below is the seat draw and chips counts and there is around 12 minutes left of level 19 (6,000/12,000/2,000).