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WPT Turks and Caicos Final Table Preview

A Great Mix of Poker Talent Vies For the Inaugural Turks and Caicos Poker Classic Championship

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Pre-final table chip counts:

1: Erik Cajelais - $1,086,000
2: Alan Sass - $466,000
3. Trevor Hebert - $400,000
4. Chris Smith - $301,000
5. Rhynie Campbell - $275,000
6. Nam Le - $232,000

1st place - $436,675
2nd place - $225,000
3rd place - $125,000
4th place - $70,000
5th place - $50,000
6th place - $30,000

Seat No. 1
Nam Le
$232,000

Nam LeAt 27 years old, it's very tempting to call Nam Le one of the best young players out there. But to be fair, he's one of the best players out there, period.

In 2004, he finished 50th in Card Player's Player of the Year race, and he's improved every year since. Last year, he finished in second place with 5,215 points. He's having a down year right now (for him), but he's still in 33rd place headed to this final table, and there's a lot of poker to be played before Dec. 31.

Le has been strong in World Poker Tour events. He won a WPT title at Bay 101 a year and a half ago (the biggest score of his career, worth just under $1.2 million), and this is his third WPT final table. This is also the seventh time that he has finished a WPT event in the top 12. His goal today is to become a multiple WPT-title winner.

While he has no World Series of Poker bracelets, he has a second-place finish in 2006 and a third-place finish in 2007 - both in no-limit hold'em events.

With $3.7 million in career tournament winnings, Le could cross the $4 million mark with a victory here. He is already in 46th place on the all-time money list - an impressive feat at any age.

Seat No. 2
Erik Cajelais
$1,086,000

Erik CajelaisErik Cajelais has had excellent results over the past 12 months - he has earned more than $1.15 million in that time, with four WPT cashes, a victory in a $5,000 no-limit hold'em event at Bellagio, and a second-place finish in $5,000 pot-limit Omaha at this year's WSOP.

Cajelais is the big stack at the table, with nearly 40 percent of all the chips in play. He finished day two in second place and ruled near the top of the leader board throughout day three.

On his bio sheet, the Montreal native listed his victory in a preliminary event at the Bellagio Five-Diamond Poker Classic (worth $430,000) to be the highlight of his poker career. A televised WPT title today would certainly eclipse that, and cap off a fantastic year for Erik Cajelais.




Seat No. 3
Rhynie Campbell
$275,000

Rhynie CampbellRhynie Campbell is one of the owners of The Player's Club, the host casino for this event down in Turks ad Casinos. (Club Med is merely the location.) Campbell is an energetic, talkative, and likable guy, who likes to challenge and engage his opponents with bets and banter.

He plays high-stakes cash games but not many tournaments. Last year around this time, the Johnny Chan TCI Invitational Poker Tournament took place on this island, and Campbell made the final table of that event, too, taking sixth place. He also won a six-player invitational in London, taking down the winner-take-all prize of 50,000 pounds (worth more than $90,000 in U.S. currency at the time).





Seat No. 4
Chris Smith
$301,000

Chris SmithYou won't find much information on Chris Smith in the various online player databases, with just a handful of cashes in smaller events. Even a sixth-place finish would be his biggest tournament score, at just $30,000. But that paints a very incomplete picture.

Smith is a high-stakes cash game player, and he doesn't care about tournament victories. He's playing for first place, but he's more interested in the money than the title. (He's not alone in this regard, but few players admit it, playing up the spirit of the competition.)







Seat No. 5
Trevor Hebert
$400,000

Trevor HebertA check of the online player databases for Trevor Hebert reveals - nothing. In poker, he has no history.

Other than that, here's what we know: According to some of the players he played with here, he's a soft-spoken guy easily identified by the tattoos on his arms, some of which have interesting stories. He's also a small-business owner, and he teaches kids inline skating.

Coming seemingly out of nowhere (but actually from Vancouver, Canada), Trevor Hebert has now made a televised WPT final table. After today, he'll be in all the player databases online.




Seat No. 6
Alan "TheUsher" Sass
$466,000

Alan SassWell known and respected online as "TheUsher," he's quickly gaining the respect of others. Several players that shared tables with him in this tournament are now rooting for him. Though he is primarily known for his online presence, he actually got his start in live games at the Commerce Casino.

Sass has made several high-profile final tables (including two at the WSOP), but this is his first televised final table. The biggest cash of his career came by finishing in second place at the WSOP in a $5,000 pot-limit hold'em event, good for $284,256. He also won a $3,000 no-limit hold'em event at the Wynn Classic this past summer.

Sass has less than $700,000 in career live earnings, but a victory here will push him over the $1 million mark. If he continues to enter major live tournaments, expect that number to grow much faster in the next year or two.