While many thought it wouldn’t go ahead, Ruslan Bogdanov was raring and ready to go when called upon. Just a couple of days later, he is the EPT Sochi champion and approximately $204,498 better off.
With the current global Coronavirus pandemic meaning live poker is operating on something of a reduced schedule, many of the larger live tours have moved online for 2020, with operators such as Unibet Poker, PokerStars and partypoker all shifting many of their highest profile events online. With the addition of an online WSOP series rather than a live one this year, coupled with GGPoker’s phenomenal growth, poker has become more of a fluid game, sometimes live but more often online, with a creativity and vibrancy to that shift.
Players have responded, too, with any fears about numbers allayed by the turnouts across events such as the WSOP Online Main Event.
When the European Poker Tour announced that their Sochi stop would go ahead, mid-pandemic, many questioned the decision. Was it morally right to host a poker tournament with COVID-19 so contagious?
Either way, they got the numbers, with 428 entries and 209 re-entries paying the €1,900 buy-in and taking part. With no other EPT events having been held this year, and the final stop of the year (EPT Prague) highly likely to go the way of the PSPC (PokerStars Players Championship_ and be cancelled, Sochi was all players had to go for.
With the 637 total entries, there was over a million euros in the prizepool, and plenty of big names made the money, such as Maxim Lykov, Konstantin Puchkov and Nikolay Fal to name just three.
With the official final table of eight players also featuring one of Russia’s finest in Aleksandr Denisov, thoughts of the other seven men hoping to lift the trophy could have been forgiven if they’d been focused on seeing that man leave the tournament before they kicked into gear. As it happened, however, it didn’t take long at all, Denisov departing first in 8th place for $25,301.
As the official Hendon Mob page of the event details, it would be Nikita Kuzbetsov who busted in 7th place, and with fellow Russian Vladislav Naumov, Egor Turubanov, Sergey Aristov and Gleb Ershov all missing out on the heads-up of the event, it was the Ukrainian player Viktor Tkachenko who threatened to stop one of the seven Russian opponents he faced from becoming champion.
As it turned out, Tkachenko would miss out on that lofty ambition by just one place, falling after a heads-up defeat to Ruslan Bogdanov and cashing for around $185,378 after a heads-up deal meant there was a huge drop to the 3rd place prize of $106,346 won by Ershov.
While Tkachenko had previously won $271 in live ranking tournaments on the Hendon Mob, for Bogdanov, it was his one and only win. He may never have a record so perfect and joins a choice number of players who first live cash is an outright victory. Even rarer is a debut live score as an EPT Main Event victory.
EPT Sochi Main Event Final Table Results:
* Denotes heads-up deal