Piasecki may well be new to playing live poker, having only played “a few” €1,000 events, but he says he’s warming up to playing live. Given that he’s guaranteed himself at least €65,450 here in Sanremo, that should come as little surprise. He certainly seems a man of understatement, admitting that poker was his only way of making money but drawing the line at calling himself a professional player. Piasecki currently lives with his parents but said that situation is likely to change following this deep run. “The money I win here tomorrow, it will help me to stand on my own feet,” said Piasecki, who comes into the final table fifth in chips.
Jason Tompkins has been among the chip leaders in Sanremo since day one and has now become the first Irish player to reach an EPT Main Event final table since Mick Graydon in Deauville last season. Ireland is still searching for its first EPT champion and Tompkins has been followed throughout this event by numerous supporters on Irish poker forums and via Twitter. Known online as "blaaaaaah666", Tompkins actually prefers live poker and has live cashes dating back from 2007. He has made numerous final tables, including one of the UKIPT, and his biggest score was for $85,981 from a sixth place finish in Event 54: $1,000 No-Limit Hold'em at the 2012 World Series of Poker.
Lacay has been playing EPTs since Season 4 and has already cashed in nine Main Events, including eighth at EPT5 Warsaw for € 32,843 and 21st at the EPT6 Grand Final for €52,000.
Like many other players, the 27-year-old got into online poker after enjoying success in the video game world where he played for one of the best French “Counter Strike” teams. Known as an aggressive poker player, Lacay first came to prominence in 2007 when he was runner-up in the WPT Spanish Championship for €295,200. But his best live cash to date was 16th place in the 2009 WSOP Main Event for $500,557, a result that also put him in the spotlight outside Europe. Although he has yet to win a major title, he is considered one of the best players in France (11th in the All Time Money List) and has already accrued $2 million in live tournament winnings.
The 797 players that originally entered this tournament are now just eight. Last night the final 24 took their seats playing eight-handed over three tables to battle for a spot on the prestigious final table. By the end of the evening, Jason Lavallee held the highest chip position with seven others trailing him for the championship.
There were still plenty of notable names alive in the tournament when play began yesterday. Players like Matt Salsberg, Michael Benvenuti, and Yevgeniy Timoshenko gave it their all but were ultimately unable to earn a seat at the final table.
Others, on the other hand, thrived when the cards hit the felt. While Lavallee is the biggest stack on the table with 5.545 million, French professional Ludovic Lacay is sitting right on his heels. On the other end of the spectrum sits Artem Litvinov who will have his work cut out for him at this final table. Coming in as the short stack with only 800,000, Litvinov will have to get something going early in order to survive this final table.
Cards will be in the air shortly here at this final table. Be sure to stay tuned as we document the quest to a champion!