The nine remaining players will take to the felt with the potential to be the next MPNPT champion. As such, we should learn a little more about them. Here’s some background to our final tablists.
Final table chip leader Yiannis Liperis is a 28 year old professional poker player from Birmingham. He’s been playing poker for 10 years, 5 years as a professional. He plays both tournaments and cash, online and live and his best result was either winning $80,000 in the Caribbean or £60,000 at a GUKPT. He’s just returned from Vegas and in fact chose MPNPT Manchester over another tournament at the last minute. “It was a good decision!” he told us. “Today went well, I had a big stack throughout the day. I had a small hiccup with A-T [versus Cieran Tighe’s queens] but seemed to chip back up again ok.” Asked for his strategy approaching the final, he kept it simple. “Just keep doing what I’ve been doing.” It seems to be working well so who can argue?
Sebastian Gruszczynski – 1,738,000
Sebastian Gruszczynski is 26 years old and hails from Krakow in Poland. As the longest-lasting Betsson Group online qualifier, he’s already secured a free MPNPT Tallinn package as well as locking up at least £2,800. He works in marketing and runs his own business with his wife, playing poker as a hobby. Gruszczynski has played MPNPT Malta and Tallinn before, and qualified for this Main Event on Betsafe, but has never played on a livestream before and reckons it might affect the way he plays hands tomorrow. His feelings about the final table, at which he’s hot on the heels of the chip leader: nervous and excited!
Cody Wagner – 1,132,000
Cody Wagner, 25, is a synthesis chemist, but makes time for poker about once a week – usually online multi table tournaments. His enthusiasm for the game is clear; in his own words, after making it to the final (where he’s guaranteed his largest ever live cash), he’s “loving life.” Wagner’s live poker is mainly practised here at the Grosvenor Manchester, as he lives in Warrington (20 mins away). After starting Day 2 with a big stack, he dropped to under ten big blinds near the bubble, but ground out the day and his fortune changed for the better near the end of play. Friends and family will be railing him tomorrow via the livestream; I’m sure they’ll be pleased that Wagner, should he win the event, plans on “sensible investment, with a little bit of a blowout.”
Cieran Tighe – 661,000
Cieran Tighe, 24, hails from Ireland, and played this event with his brother Daniel – all the way until there were just 10/288 players remaining. While Daniel bubbled the final table, Cieran will bring 33 big blinds to the final and fight for his own MPNPT title, trophy and £29,900. Tighe plays tournament poker both live and online, with a long string of cashes in Ireland under his belt. Any finish other than 9th, however, will give him his largest ever live cash. Tighe, having recently cut his arm in an accident, has played the Main Event with his arm in a cumbersome bandage, but not being able to riffle with that hand doesn’t seem to have hurt his performance.
Andreas Olympios – 608,000
Andreas Olympios is a 37 year old poker player from Manchester. He plays both cash and tournaments and last summer won the WPT 500 at the Aria for his biggest score of $260,000. Olympios likes the fact that MPNPT roll the blinds back to one hour on day 2. “It allows a lot of play.” He’s been playing poker for 13 years. He used to be a personal trainer but got into poker playing with his friends, then won his first tournament. “That got me hooked!” he told us.
Jari Hurri – 458,000
Silver-haired Finn Jari Hurri needs almost no introduction here – a stalwart of the MPNPT, he’s already cashed in both of this year’s previous Main Events, taking 47th place in Vienna and 31st place in Malta. He’s also finalled a few MPNPT side events, but this is his first MPNPT Main Event final table appearance. He’s accompanied here in Manchester by his other half Kirsi Partanen, who’s been enthusiastically railing him throughout the latter stages of the tournament.
Tim Chung – 408,000
Tim Chung is a 27 year old professional poker player from Birmingham who has been playing poker since he learned the game at 16. From homegames with friends, Chung progressed to live cash games (both Hold’em and Omaha), and now makes his living at the brick and mortar tables. He wrote his final table chip count on his bag as “only 408,000” and admitted with the ennui of the pro player that he wasn’t entirely looking forward to coming back, as, “I wish I had more chips!” Chung has already amassed almost $300,000 in live tournament winnings spanning the globe.
Colin Guthrie – 302,000
The 51-year-old hails from Kent, and has come up to Manchester with some friends, one of whom sold him an MPNPT package for half price. He’s already made £150 – the package included an entry to one of the side events, but seeing as he’s still in the Main Event he’s due a refund for the side event. Back home in Kent, Colin owns an electrical installations company, but up here in Manchester he’s doing OK at this poker lark. “He’s a s*** player, that’s all you need to know,” says Colin’s friend and MPNPT regular Alan Hayter. Says Colin cheerfully in response: “But there’s a lot of s****er players than me in Manchester.”
Alex Kong – 87,000
The 64-year-old salesman from Chester won his seat to the MPNPT Main Event in a live satellite right here at the Grosvenor Casino in Manchester – a bit of a poker all-rounder, his previous live results include wins as diverse as a Stud event at the Amsterdam Master Classics in 1997 and a $50k win in the Grand Prix of Poker in Las Vegas back in 1986. The short stack going into the final day with only a few big blinds, he nevertheless has a shot at another good score here. As he puts it, “I do everything.”