The PokerStars.com European Poker Tour recently announced the five finalists in the 'Best PokerStars Qualifier' category, another of the seven honors awarded as part of its upcoming EPT Awards ceremony in Barcelona on September 9th. The 'Best PokerStars Qualifier' nominees represent five of the best 'Cinderella' stories of the year, a least in principle – players who took small investments in online qualifiers on EPT tour sponsor PokerStars and parlayed those relatively minor buy-ins into some very big paydays.
The five nominees in this category are:
● Mike McDonald – Canadian player Mike "timex" McDonald wasted little time in transfering his feared online reputation into live-event results. McDonald's first significant live-event cash was at EPT Prague, which resulted in a 14th-place finish worth €20,200. From there it was on to January's EPT German Open in Dortmund, where McDonald stayed active throughout a thrilling final, emerging with the title and a check for €933,600.
● Glen Chorny — No online qualifer walked away with a bigger payday from the European Poker Tour's Season IV than Monte Carlo Grand Final champion Glen Chorny. Chorny, from Waterloo, Canada, parlayed an online seat into the biggest payday of Season IV, €2,020,000 ($3,090,600), to date the largest sum ever awarded in a European poker tournament. Chorny also cashed in the EPT Season IV PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in the Bahamas, finishing 13th for $80,000.
● Christian Harder — Christian Harder traveled from the United States to a pair of EPT final tables during Season IV. Harder's first big showing came at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January, where he finished seventh for $200,000. From there it was on to the EPT German Open only three week later, where Harder again made the final, this time ending up in eighth for €85,500 ($125,481), making it a wonderful January for this PokerStars online qualifier.
● Isaac Baron — American Isaac Baron ventured to Europe in April and walked away with back-to-back deep cashes at the last two stops on the EPT Season IV tour, courtesy of online qualifying. Baron narrowly missed the final at EPT San Remo, finishing 11th for €28,750. It was only a week's wait until the EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final, where Baron made the final and finished fourth for €589,000 (US $932,000).
● Danny Ryan — American Danny Ryan qualified for two consecutive events during Season IV of the EPT, and made the effort pay big time in both. Ryan arrived in Europe in time for the 2008 EPT German Open in Dortmund, where he bubbled the final but walked away with a solid 10th-place payday of €52,200. Ryan hung around long enough to cash in another German Open event, then moved on to the EPT Scandinavian Open, where another satellite-prize seat waited. This time Ryan made it all the way to the final, where he collected DKr 1,560,304 (about US $307,000) for his fifth-place finish.
The EPT's panel of four expert judges will select the winner in this category. Those four judges are, Lee Jones, John Duthie, Victoria Cohen, and PokerNews' own Editor-in-Chief, John Caldwell. PokerNews is the official media partner of the PokerStars.com EPT Awards.