Tegen wie neemt de Nederlander Ruben Visser het op in het gevecht om die eerste prijs van $2 miljoen? Check hier de spelersprofielen van zijn tegenstanders en van Visser zelf en je weet het! Visser (22) is de jongste speler aan de finaletafel, terwijl Xuan Liu (25) de enige vrouw in het gezelschap is. Ook speciale aandacht voor Tony Gregg, die in 2009 al runner up was in het Main Event van de PCA!
Seat 1: Mark Drover, 24, Newfoundland, Canada – PokerStars qualifier – 1,430,000 chips
Mark Drover is taking a masters in political science at Memorial University in St John’s, Newfoundland, Canada. He qualified for the PCA on PokerStars after reaching stage 5 in the Steps programme and joining the $700 qualifier, meaning he’ll now get a great return on his investment. Two of his friends from St John’s also qualified for the PCA on PokerStars, and they have been railing Drover since being knocked out themselves.
Drover, 24, normally plays mid-stakes online multi-table tournaments, but he has made four Venetian Deepstack final tables in Las Vegas as well as one WSOP cash, giving him total live tournament earnings so far of $34,497. That figure will be eclipsed once the final table here is over.
Seat 2: Tony Gregg, 25, Maryland, USA – 1,160,000 chips
Tony Gregg started playing poker at age 18. Once an online cash game specialist and mid-stakes regular, the young man from Maryland in the United States made his biggest live poker score right here at the PCA at age 22. In 2009, Gregg finished in second place to Poorya Nazari in the PCA main event. At the time, Gregg was on a complete freeroll after cashing in 800,000 of his Frequent Player Points for a seat in the main event. His score was worth $1.7million.
Gregg’s appearance at the 2012 final table will be the first time anyone has made two PCA main event final tables. Now 25, Gregg has been focusing on playing live games in the Washington D.C. area. He said, “It’s really cool making the PCA final again. I don’t think anyone has ever done that. I’m the short stack for tomorrow so not really under any pressure.”
Seat 3: David Bernstein, 30, Canada – 1,960,000 chips
David Bernstein is the only PCA finalist who effectively got to the Bahamas for nothing at all. Back in December, the 30-year-old took part in a special PokerStars promotion for Canadian players which involved nothing more strenuous than depositing money on PokerStars via the online payment company Ukash. Everyone who took part in the “Ukash Ultimate Experience” was entered into a draw – and David Bernstein was the player selected at random just three days after Christmas.
The prize included free flights to the Bahamas, nine nights’ accommodation, a live tutorial, a meet-and-greet with a member of Team PokerStars Pro and – most importantly – a seat in the Main Event. A week ago he told the PokerStars blog: “The feeling of winning the competition was surreal. It felt like a dream. Now I am going to try and win the tournament and take the money home to my family.”
Seat 4: Ruben Visser, 22, Rotterdam, Netherlands – 4,400,000 chips
Visser took up online poker while studying business and marketing at college. He is still at college but now combines studying for a masters in entrepreneurship with playing poker. His first live cash came in 2008 when he made the final of a €500 event in Prague. At the time his online career was also hotting up and results included winning the PokerStars Sunday Warm-up event for $113,000.
In 2009, Visser finished 20th in a PCA side event and in June came 11th in the WPT Barcelona Main Event, before winning a €400 side event a few days later. His biggest cash to date was runner-up in a €5k side event during the Season 6 EPT Grand Final for €171,450. Last summer he finished 44th in the WSOP Main Event for $196,174 and only a month ago he took down a €1k event in Venlo, Holland, for €42,000.
Visser was born in Amsterdam and had a childhood in which sports played a large part; he excelled at hockey, tennis, football and snowboarding. He has made more than $600k so far in live tournament winnings – and considerably more in online poker tournaments.
Seat 5: Faraz Jaka, 26,
Chicago/Las Vegas/Europe – 6,470,000 chips
Jaka, poker professional, entrepreneur and fashion figure, has dominated large swathes of this tournament having built a huge stack early on Day 2. He has relinquished the chip lead at times, but only briefly, and it never seemed that it was going to lose it for long.
“I’ve been playing professionally for around three years but I’m going to slow things down to focus more on www.axiscasterboarding.com, which I’m really pushing as a sport,” said Jaka, a player known to be as creative with his dress sense as he is with his poker play. Jaka has racked up $2,394,969 in live tournament winnings over the last five years with his largest single cash being $774,780. To make a career high score the American will have to get heads up. “Only the top two will do it,” said Jaka.
Seat 6: John Dibella, 43, New York, USA – 3,465,000 chips
John Dibella is a 43-year-old stock trader and hails from Westchester, New York. He qualified for the Main Event in a $1,000 satellite earlier in the week and has parlayed that into a seat at the final table worth – at least – $156,400. His third time at the PCA, Dibella previously cashed in the Main Event in 2008 when he finished 60th for $16,000 (his largest cash on record).
Seat 7: Xuan Liu, 25, Toronto, Canada – 6,355,000 chips
Xuan Liu is the first woman to ever appear at a PCA Main Event final table. Her breakthrough came when she won PokerStars’ Italian Poker Tour San Remo €1,000 side event in December 2010 for €48,000 and then, only a few months later finished third at EPT San Remo for $524,705, a stand-out result in total career winnings so far of $655,886. She is already guaranteed $156,400 here, but she looks a good bet to get much more as the final progresses.
Liu, 25, has always been fascinated by games of skill and chance, and used to play hands of poker against herself from six years old. But it was at Waterloo University back home in Ontario, Canada where she started playing regularly. It was a poker hotbed that was also home to the likes of Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald, former EPT Grand Final winner Glen Chorny, Michael Watts and Steve Paul.
After university, Liu switched from cash to live tournaments, a move which now looks like the best decision of her life.
Seat 8: Kyle Julius, 25, Chicago, Illinois, USA – 6,450,000
The PCA Main Event final table is guaranteed to be a career-high live score for Illinois native Kyle Julius, but the poker pro has plenty of experience on his side, not to mention a big stack, heading into today’s action. Julius, who made a name for himself online under the screenname “KJulius10”, has over $1 million in winnings on PokerStars, including a win in the Sunday 500 in January of 2011 worth around $87,000. His previous best live score was a third place finish in a 2010 Venetian Deep Stack event worth $65,861. He also made a deep run at last month’s Five Diamond Main Event at Bellagio, finishing in 12th.
Julius first learned to play poker when his older brother, Ryan, 27, came home from his freshman year of college and told the younger Julius he should take up the game. Little brother listened to his big brother and, after a brief stint studying at Northern Kentucky University, Kyle started playing poker full time. Kyle says Ryan, who was playing in the PCA $25k High Roller today, is the better player of the two, but both are well known in online poker circles as tough competitors.