Seat 1: Peter Jetten, 23, Toronto, Canada – 347,000 chips
Only minutes before the bubble, a stunning hand against John Juanda turned Peter’s fortunes around in the EPT London £1 Million Showdown. He got dealt aces in the small blind, was raised by Scotty Nguyen, re-raised by Juanda and moved all-in. Nguyen folded but Juanda had Q-Q and called the bet to double up the young Canadian pro.
Known as “Apathy” online, Jetten – a former camp counsellor and bartender – has been playing full time for around three years and is a coach at the leggopoker.com training site. $10/$20 NL and $25/$50 NL cash games are Jetten’s bread and butter, but also frequents higher stakes in both NLHE and PLO.
Seat 2: Michael Watson, 24, Canada – 104,000 chips
Known around the vibrant online poker community as “SirWatts”, Michael Watson has had a formidable rise to the top of the game. He cashed five times at the World Series of 2007, and was then the captain of the Canada team in the PokerStars World Cup of Poker in Barcelona (where one of his charges was the Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu). Then he translated excellent online form to a huge scoop at the Bellagio Cup around about World Series 2008 time. He was among the chip leaders in the Main Event at the Rio but busted before the money, freeing SirWatts to joust to the $15,000 WPT event down the road and win the first prize of $ 1,673,770.
Seat 3: Isaac Haxton, 23, New York, USA – 293,000 chips
A graduate of Brown University, Haxton is a Boston native who now lives in Syracuse, New York. He began playing poker at home games during high school and then played full time online during his college vacations, earning $40,000 the first summer and $100,000 the next. His first live cash was also his biggest to date – runner-up at the 2007 PCA for $861,789. He has had eight WSOP cashes in the last two years and a total of $1,203,980 live tournament earnings.
Seat 4: Isabelle ‘No Mercy’ Mercier, Quebec, Canada – Team PokerStars Pro – 86,000 chips
Canadian player Isabelle Mercier graduated from the University of Montreal and began practising law soon after. Keen on travel however, she moved to France and into a job at the famous Aviation Club De France in Paris, ending up as poker room manager. Isabelle’s first major success was in a WPT invitational tournament in 2004, where she took first place in the Ladies Night Out event. In 2005, she narrowly missed making the final table at the EPT1 Grand Final in Monte Carlo, taking away $31,811 for 10th place. A month later, Isabelle earned another $56,616 for a 28th place finish at the $25,000 WPT Championship event. She’s also made several cashes at the WSOP including a fifth place finish for $175,404 at the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em event in 2006.
Seat 5: David Benyamine, 36, Nevada, USA – 175,000 chips
Originally from France, father-of-one Benyamine now lives in Henderson, Nevada and is engaged to fellow pro, Erica Shoenberg. Benyamine’s first career was as a professional tennis player but he had to give up the sport because of a back injury. He was also one of France’s top ten billiards players. Benyamine is now known as one of the best high-stakes cash game players in the world and a regular in the “Big Game”, which is legendary for having some of the highest stakes in the world. Only two days ago Benyamine came 12th in the EPT London main event for £35,981. He has two WPT titles and won his first WSOP Bracelet in the $10,000 World Championship Omaha Hi/Low Split this summer, as well as two other final tables at the series.
Seat 6: Scotty Nguyen, 45, Las Vegas, USA – 68,000 chips
Scotty Nguyen is arguably the biggest tournament player in the field having earned a total of $9.7 million in live tournaments. He has five WSOP Bracelets including those won in the 1998 main event and the $50,000 H.O.R.S.E this year. In 2006 he won a WPT title in Tunica for $969,000 becoming one of only five people to win both the main event of the World Series of Poker and a WPT title. Originally from Vietnam, Nguyen moved to the States with his family aged just 13.
Seat 7: Jason Mercier, 21, Florida, USA – 204,000 chips
Mercier first came to people’s attention at the PokerStars.com EPT Season 4 event in San Remo last April. It was only his second live event (he’d qualified online with PokerStars) but, despite facing one of the toughest final tables in EPT history, secured a stunning victory worth €869,000. His opposition included Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri, William Thorson and Eric Koskas. He followed this up with three WSOP cashes in the summer, then three weeks ago he came sixth at EPT Barcelona for €227,800 . Last week he took eight place at the WSOP Europe Pot Limit Omaha event for another £26,800. Outside of poker, Mercier – who had studied to be a maths teacher before discovering online poker – is a huge basketball fan.
Seat 8: Masaaki Kagawa, 45, Japan – 142,000
Masaaki Kagawa is a high-stakes poker player from Japan who has played at several EPTs to date. As poker is still in its early days in Japan, Kagawa plays mainly in South Korea where there is a bigger market. He is a member of the Japanese Players Union which hosts lots of freeroll poker tournaments, He cashed at EPT3 Dortmund – 32nd place for €6,950; his live earnings to date amount to $267,031.
Seat 9: John Juanda, 37, Las Vegas – 302,000 chips
Juanda is another phenomenal tournament player at today’s final table with four WSOP Bracelets to his name including the 2008 WSOP Europe main event title which he won last week for $1.5 million. His victory came at the end of a record-breaking final table which lasted more than 19 hours. Juanda has won three “Best All Around Player” awards and, so far, his total tournament winnings amount to over $8 million.