The UK Poker Profile - Praz Bansi
Although the UK poker fan's attention has been focused largely on James Akenhead and his WSOP, WSOPE and Poker Million final table feats this year he is not the only Hit Squad member to have enjoyed a good 2009.
After making the final table of the 2009 WSOPE Main Event alongside his fellow Hit Squad member, Praz Bansi scored his largest ever tournament cash, earning himself £360,887 for his third place finish. Had Bansi's Pocket Kings held against eventual winner Barry Shulman's nut flush draw then the WSOPE might have even seen its first UK champion.
Conjecture aside though, it's always best to let the results speak for themselves and in addition to his WSOPE success the 31-year-old Londoner made the final table of a major poker tournament an impressive eight times in 2009; final tabling a WSOP event and winning two of the Bellagio's Five Star World Poker Classic's to net himself $932,537 for the year.
This brings his career tournament earnings up to an impressive $1.6million and he's only been playing professionally since 2006.
A former recruitment consultant, Praz began playing at London's GutShot poker club back in 2005 where he met fellow Hit Squaders James Akenhead, Karl Mahrenholz and Sunny and Chaz Chattha.
After jacking in the day job, Praz flew out to Vegas in 2006 to play in his first WSOP where he cashed in the $2,000 NLHE event and two weeks later won the $1,000 NLHE event to make himself one of only 15 Brits (11 at the time he won) to have triumphed out in Las Vegas and win themselves a bracelet.
A fearsome player at the tables with a loose-aggressive style, Praz makes his presence felt in any tournament he enters and he has cashed at the WSOP every year since his 2006 victory; his consistency proving his bracelet win was no fluke.
Following his WSOP success, Praz returned to Vegas in December where he proceeded to final table four $1,000 Five Diamond Poker Classics at the Bellagio to earn himself a Christmas bonus of $47,840.
Upon his return to the UK, Praz became the first Hit Squad member to bag himself a GUKPT title, defeating friend and fellow Hit Squader Karl Mahrenholz heads-up to take down the first ever GUKPT event in Bolton in January 2007 for £75,000.
If his 2006 bracelet win was Praz's declaration of intent at the start of his poker career, then 2009 has been a strong reaffirmation to the poker world that he is here to stay and is certainly one to watch in 2010.