Everyone knew Monday would be a rough day for a few people at the European Poker Tour (EPT) Sochi Main Event, as just eight eliminations were needed for the money bubble to burst. Eight survivors from Sunday’s Day 2 had to sleep on it and then go home with nothing. As Earl Burton wrote yesterday, the plan was to get through the money bubble on Day 2, but eliminations happened so quickly that tournament organizers decided to stop early to avoid the uncomfortable logistical issue that could happen if short stacks were still being eliminated while others were bagging up their chips. 136 players began Day 3 and now only 40 remain; Ivan Volodko is the chip leader with 1.650 million chips.

It is a tight race at the top of the leader board after Mr. Volodko, as Mikhail Galitskiy and Sergey Kerzhakov are in a virtual dead heat for second place with 1.423 million and 1.419 million chips, respectively.

After them, six other players have more than a million chips: Arseniy Karmatskiy (1.285 million), Artur Martirosyan (1.197 million), Vage Martirosyan (1.166 million), Aleksey Savenkov (1.036 million), Gurgen Pipoyan (1.001 million), and Sihao Zhang (1.001 million). The chip average is just shy of 600,000.

The chip leader, Ivan Volodko, has a fairly limited live tournament resume, totaling a bit short of $20,000 in live tournament cashes, most of which were last year. The min-cash for the EPT Sochi Main Event (approximately USD $5,360) was already the biggest cash of his career; 40th place, should he someone go out first on Day 4, is about USD $8,715. Should Volodko make it to 17th place, he will more than double his lifetime earnings. Let’s just say this is a good week for him.

Interestingly, of all the players with a million chips or more, almost all of them are in a similar boat to Volodko. That is, most have earned five figures or fewer in live tournaments. One player hasn’t earned any money in recorded live tournament cashes and another has less than $1,000 in winnings. The most prolific of that group is easily Arseniy Karmatskiy, who has $347,042 in live cashes, according to TheHendonMob.com. Two-thirds of that came from one tournament, the €2,000 + 200 No-Limit Hold’em even at the 2017 partypoker German Poker Championship, which he won for $217,238 (€185,000).

Day 4 will begin an noon Sochi time on Tuesday (if you want to follow things live on the United States’ east coast, set your alarm for 5:00am). The plan is to play five more levels, though the powers that be really want to get down to two tables, or 16 players.

European Poker Tour Sochi Main Event – Day 3 Chip Leaders

1. Ivan Volodko – 1,650,000
2. Mikhail Galitskiy – 1,423,000
3. Sergey Kerzhakov – 1,419,000
4. Arseniy Karmatskiy – 1,285,000
5. Artur Martirosyan – 1,197,000
6. Vage Martirosyan – 1,166,000
7. Aleksey Savenkov – 1,036,000
8. Sihao Zhang – 1,001,000
9. Gurgen Pipoyan – 1,001,000
10. Andrey Kaigorotsev – 910,000

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