Dec 21, 2013
Ognjen ‘Ogi’ Sekularac is a 34-year old professional poker player who hails from Serbia. He is a good old-fashioned live grinder who likes to put in the volume, and has been rewarded with over a million dollars in live tournament earnings.
Sekularac is the proud father of a daughter, and has been playing professionally for five years. The last time Sekularac cashed in a World Poker Tour (WPT) event was back in Season X in Vienna when he finished fourth.
The Serbian entered that final table with a big chip lead, and many thought he was destined to be a WPT Champions Club member, until a terrible run saw him on the losing end AJ<AQ all-in pre against Konstantin Tolokno.
We said then that ‘it will take a long time to get this loss out of his system’ and to be fair to Sekularac, he has won three smaller tournaments since that disappointment, and will start this final table as one of the favorites for the title.
Sekularac made his stamp on this tournament during the bubble phase of play. He won two crucial double ups, including one for his tournament life, and continued to clean house and emerge as a serious threat in this competition.
Vasili Firsau is a chip-hoovering machine.
The 37-year old from Belarus has two children and has been playing poker for the past eight years. How live tournament cashes only date back to 2012 and he has cashed twice in WPT events: a 66th place finish in this event last season, and of course that amazing performance at the WPT Grand Prix de Paris just a few months ago.
Firsau entered that final table in terrific shape with over 50% of the chips in play. He was the odds on favorite to take the title and those words improved even more when the Belarusian eliminated every player at the table before facing Mohsin Charania in heads-up action where he held an incredible 7:1 chip lead.
That heads-up match was spectacular as Firsau came within one card of becoming a WPT Champion, as a 92% favorite in the hand, when the Poker Gods decided it was not his time and Charania mounted a comeback to snatch the title from Firsau in dramatic circumstances.
Firsau will be looking to avenge that defeat, and he isn’t afraid to take on anyone at this final table as it proved yesterday when he ran a huge bluff against Ognjen Sekularac in the latter stages of play when both players had a clear lead over the rest of the field.
If anyone is going to win this title, then this is the man they are going to have to beat.
It wouldn’t be a major tournament final without a German in the field, and that slot goes to Julian Thomas.
The 32-year old, rose to prominence during Day 4 when he went on a run that saw him run a stack of 221,000 chips into a much larger one of 1.5m in a flurry of action he has probably never experience in his life.
This is just his third live cash of his career, but is on hot form after making the final table of the European Poker Tour (EPT) main event in Berlin, earlier this year, where he finished in seventh place.
Thomas is the dark horse in this competition, and probably has the best position in the house with the ultra tight Gintaras Simaitis to his direct left.
It wouldn’t be a final table without a place for a rock and Simaitis is the man made of stone. A type of player that you fold pocket kings to when he moves into the pot with a cold four-bet.
Simaitis is 45-years of age and is married with one child. He hails from Lithuania and has $118,334 in live tournament cashes that include three final tables in smaller events.
The Lithuanian knows how to last and has patience by the bucket load. His tournament sprang to life when he was the recipient of a stone cold bluff by Andrea Benelli just as Simaitis was started to get short enough to have to start shoving. That result gave him enough chips to make his way to the final table, but he does start with the shortest stack in the field.
The 22-year old Bulgarian is one of the most active players on the final table. Look for him to be involved from the start, and in his own words, ‘he doesn’t like to fold.’
He is one of the many poker players who spends most of his time studying finance, has been playing poker for five years and his favorite hand is king-five suited.
Savov is a keen TV viewer with Breaking Bad his favorite show, and Fight Club his favorite movie.
Savov accrued chips very early in this tournament and has always been in the top end of the chip counts after experienced an amazing Day 2. It is the third final table of his short career and his first WPT cash.
His biggest score to date was for $80,730 when he finished 4th in the Italian Poker Tour (IPT) in San Remo earlier this year, an event that saw David Peters finish in second – Peters was the bubble boy in this event.
Andrey Shatilov is a 27-year old professional poker player from Russia who has been playing poker for four years.
He has had an amazing start to his career earning $838,990 in live tournament earnings, and Sekularac apart, is the most experienced player at this final table in terms of big time experience.
Shatilov won the GSOP LIVE event in Punta Cana last year, and this year has won nearly $700,000 after finishing sixth at the PCA final table, third in a €5,000 side event at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, taken first in a High Roller event at the Merit Crystal
Cove in Cyprus and also ran deep in the High Roller at EPT Barcelona.
Shatilov has always been a force to be reckoned with, during this tournament, but really cemented himself as a favorite after eliminating Marvin Rettenmaier earlier in the contest and now joins Firsau and Sekularac as a favorite for this title.