Seat 1: Gregory Genovese, 37, Rome, Italy – 694,000 chips
Investment broker Gregory, 37, has only been playing Hold’em for a year but has played Italian poker – a form of five-card draw – for a long time. This is his firsta major live tournament – he qualified via a live satellite back in his home city of Rome. Aside from his passion for poker, Gregory is a massive soccer fan and every Sunday goes to watch AS Roma – the same team that Dario supports. Gregory is being cheered on in San Remo by girlfriend Diana – the couple have a 17-month-old baby Gianmarco.
Seat 2: William Thorson, 25, Varberg, Sweden – former EPT finalist – 418,000 chips
William, who turned 25 last Saturday, is one of the most popular players on the EPT tour – everyone’s “favorite fisken”. With his fearless attitude and sharp tongue, he can terrify everyone at the table while still wearing a huge grin on his face. Willie Tann once said, as a joke, that when he got old he wanted to be just like William.
Final table bubble at this year’s PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and two more major final tables without a win including 3rd place in last season’s EPT Dublin. He also came 13th in the 2006 WSOP for $907,000. With all this in mind, William is determined to win San Remo. Online, William focuses on Omaha cash games but prefers tournaments when he plays live. Outside of poker, William is keen on horse-trotting and he and his father own several trotting horses back in Sweden.
Seat 3: Eric Koskas, 35, Marseilles, France – PokerStars qualifier – 449,000 chips
Eric – “moumouth” on PokerStars – is one of France’s best-known and most colourful poker characters. This is his first EPT final table although he won the €1,000 side event at last year’s Grand Final two years ago. He has played strongly here in San Remo – lying 2nd each day but says he played horribly in the last few minutes of Day 3 and lost 65% of his chips including a $1m million pot against Jason Mercier.
Eric, who married his wife Julie during the 2006 World Series and has a 17-month-old daughter Lea-Marie, is looking forward to the final table and desperately hoping for a heads-up against his great friend Dario. For the last year, he and Dario have been playing $5k heads-up against each other on PokerStars but have had to postpone their nightly game while they play EPT San Remo. He also came 118th at this year’s PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January for $16k.
The video blog team talked to the players before today’s final…
Seat 4: Jason Mercier, 21, Fort Lauderdale, Florida, PokerStars qualifier – 1,591,000 chips
The PokerStars.com EPT San Remo has been a baptism of fire for 21-year-old Jason, playing in only his second live event. He mainly plays cash online. The American spent three years studying to become a maths teacher before discovering online poker which he has now turned into a lucrative career. Although he busted out on Day 1 of the PCA, he captured the chip lead on Day 2 in San Remo and hasn’t looked back since.
Jason qualified via the Steps system on PokerStars but almost pulled out when his travel buddies opted for a trip to Amsterdam instead. Outside of poker, Jason is a huge basketball fan and coaches the team from his former high school. He rates William Thorson as the biggest challenge at the table today “I’m glad I’ve got position on him”, he said. He also says hi to his best friend Darko back home.
Seat 5: Antony Lellouche, 28, Paris, France – former EPT finalist – 1,192,000 chips
Parisian Antony Lellouche mainly plays live poker in high stakes cash games around the world. He is both respected and well-liked by his peers and mentors, including the “godfathers” of French poker Claude Cohen and Jan Boubli. Antony turned pro nine years ago, honing his skills at the smallest limit games at the Aviation Club. Fearless and intuitive, Antony has already made two WSOP final tables and come close in two EPT Grand Finals – 12th in 2005 and 21st in 2007. In October, he came 6th at EPT4 London for €140,081 – making this his second final table in one season.
Seat 6: Dario Minieri, 23, Team PokerStars Pro, Italy – former EPT finalist – 1,832,000 chips
Dario Minieri is among Italy’s best known poker players following a lightning-quick rise to the top. Aged 16, he started playing the card game Magic: The Gathering and soon discovered he was well-suited to become a champion. It was during a Magic tournament that a friend introduced Dario to PokerStars and online poker.
Aged 18, he kicked off playing low-stakes heads-up games but before long had become an online legend – the first player to earn a Porsche with his PokerStars Frequent Player Points. His online success has also translated to live tournaments. In 2006, Minieri came 3rd at EPT Baden and made the top 100 at the 2007 World Series. Still only 23, he has earned $300,000 in live tournament winnings. Now a member of Team PokerStars Pro, Minieri is playing in more and more live tournaments and working toward buying an Aston Martin with the Frequent Player Points he is now accumulating.
Seat 7: Dag Palovic, 33, Bratislava, Slovakia – former EPT finalist – 585,000 chips
Dag is used to the limelight after a career as child actor on Slovakia TV and later presented his own TV music chart show. He studied law in Vienna, French in Belgium and also an MBA in Prague. His first game of poker was when he was 22 – an evening of five-card draw which he won. He waited another nine years to play his next game and hasn’t looked back since then. In December Dag came 7th at the PokerStars.com EPT Prague for €93,600. Dag is engaged to fiancée Zuzana, a model – currently shooting the cover for Marie Claire in Miami, she is hoping to make it to San Remo in time for today’s final table.
Seat 8: Marcus Bower, 24, Pennsylvania, USA – PokerStars qualifier – 278,000 chips
Marcus “ALLin2k5” Bower is on his first EPT final table and clearly has his sights on the top prize. His success so far is extra special for him as he is also half Italian. Although today’s short stack, he is confident he can come back. Marcus plans to give a large portion of his tournament winnings to his brother’s charity “Physicians for Humanity” which helps underprivileged children who can’t afford private health care.
Marcus has being playing poker for 4 years – mainly plays razz and NLHE – both online and in casinos. He rarely plays tournaments and this is by far his biggest win. He turned pro as soon as he left school but is still considering returning to college to study media and communications. He qualified via the PokerStars Steps satellites for San Remo – starting one morning and qualifying by the afternoon.