The final table is set for EPT San Remo and play will get underway at 2pm CET. The following eight players will be eyeing the first prize of €1,508,000, with the full payout schedule, and winners to date, available on the prizewinner’s page.

As ever, there will be a full blow-by-blow account of the final table here, and a webcast of the action on EPT Live.

Introducing the finalists:

Seat 1: Kalle Niemi, 22, Turku, Finland – PokerStars qualifier – 641,000

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Kalle Niemi is a first year law student at the University of Turku who began playing poker three years ago. This tournament in San Remo ishis first ever live event and the guaranteed €114,000 he will earn beats anything he has ever won online. Normally an online tournament player, Niemi qualified on PokerStars for $27 and says that he has found live poker to be “not so hard”. He also admitted, however, that that his short stack made things simpler, allowing him very little post-flop play.

Seat 2: William Reynolds, 20, Sioux City, Iowa – PokerStars player – 2,531,000

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William Reynolds has been playing poker since he was 16 and, by the time he was 18, thought he might well be able to make a living at it. He deferred college for four months, then a year, then another year. “I’m still hoping I don’t have to go to college”, he said. He plays mainly online and admits he hasn’t had much success so far in live events – although he played at the WPT tournament in Niagara, as well as LAPT Mexico, the PCA, EPT Copenhagen and EPT Dortmund. Reynolds has thrived in the Sunday majors, winning a major event in October 2007 for $205,000, second in a $1,000 event on PokerStars in November for $60,000 and fourth in the $5,000 SCOOP PLO event last week for $87,000. Regarding San Remo, he’s been happy with his performance so far: “It’s been good. I don’t think I’ve made any mistakes.”

Seat 3: Alex Fitzgerald, 21, Seattle, USA – PokerStars player – 721,000

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Alex Fitzgerald started playing poker when he was 15 – in 10c games at school. When he made $20 in a week, he said he felt like “a big baller” and then would spend it all on comic books. After working as a commercial salmon fisherman in Alaska, Fitzgerald then found work as a security guard in Seattle. He soon discovered he could snooze through his day job leaving him free to play poker eight hours a day. In his first month, he made $1,200 as a security guard and $7,000 online. But his online successes soon weren’t enough and, after winning a seat to an APPT event in Manila, he decided to travel the world and has since played in numerous APPT, LAPT and EPT events as well as the Irish Open. He is
now based in Malta. Making the San Remo final table is his biggest live win to date.

Seat 4: Danilo D’Ettoris, Rome, Italy – 686,000

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Danilo D’Ettoris is the only remaining Italian in a tournament that started with more than 400 local players. He was born in Crotone but now lives in Rome, where he works as a business consultant, and started playing poker in April 2008. He plays online on PokerStars but says he really enjoys the atmosphere of playing live. D’Ettoris is a regular at the Cotton Club poker club in Rome and is enjoying their support here in San Remo.

Seat 5: Gustav Sundell, 23, from Pålänge, Kalix, Sweden – 2,615,000

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Gustav Sundell started playing poker in high school home games and after one of his friends won an online tournament, Sundell moved to the internet too. For the past five years, he’s been playing poker full time mainly in online cash games. He has two major live tournament cashes: fourth in the Malmo Open for €25,000 and seventh in the Swedish Open Poker Championships in 2007. He also played the WSOP Main Event last year and has played on the EPT in Dublin and Prague. He busted on day one of all of them – “That’s my speciality,” he said. Normally he plays Omaha and prefers heads-up.

Seat 6: Constant Rijkenberg, 20, Amsterdam, Holland – 932,000

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Constant Rijkenberg is an economics and business student, who has been playing poker for around two years. He rarely plays online, preferring live events at casinos all over Europe. Rijkenberg was enjoying such good results that he decided to turn pro 10 months ago. However his fortunes immediately plummeted and by September last year, he had lost his entire bankroll and would have given up playing altogether if he hadn’t found himself in a high-stakes home game where he reversed his fortunes. He said: “I was totally broke but then I won back €30,000 in this home game. I’ve had an up and down career. I sold half my action to play in this tournament but my investors love me now.”

Seat 7: Dragan Galic, 36, from near Hamburg, Germany – 3,098,000

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Dragan Galic, a Croatian born in Germany, has been playing poker for three years and turned professional two years ago after giving up his job as a mechanical engineer for BMW. These days, Galic regularly plays big-field events in the casinos in Hamburg and Austria. Galic’s wins were relatively modest until November 2008 when he won the PokerStars Sunday Million Warm-up for $77,897. He won again in January 2009 for $86,647, then final tabled a live CAPT event in Bregenz for €29,660 in February and last week came second in a €2,000 CAPT main event in Salzburg for €40,000. He has made the final table in eight of the 35 CAPT events he has entered. Galic has held the tournament chip lead at the end of every day so far, a feat never previously achieved at an EPT main event.

Seat 8: Ovi Balaj, 35, Romania – 625,000 chips

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Ovi Balaj originally comes from Romania but now lives in Paris and has been playing poker for around six years. He mainly plays live, both tournaments and cash games and is a well-known regular at the Aviation Club in Paris. Although his live results are relatively modest, he has a string of cashes and final table appearances across Europe and has risen to seventh in Romania’s all time money list with more than $72,000 in tournament winnings. He won his seat to EPT San Remo in a live satellite at the casino here and is enjoying his best ever result to date.

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