It has all come down to this. After what proved to be a longer Day 4 than expected, the final table has been determined at the Casino Sochi in the World Poker Tour’s stop in Russia. When the cards fly on Sunday to determine the champion, Denys Shafikov will hold the lead, but Day 3 chip leader Oleg Pavlyuchuk will have a viable stack in his fifth-place position.
Pavlyuchuk Loses Lead, Fights Back
Coming into Day 3 with the chip lead, Pavlyuchuk didn’t hold onto it for long. In fact, on one of the first hands of the day, Pavlyuchuk would defend his big blind against Yauhen Kontush to see a flop of 7-A-K. Both men checked the flop and, after a nine on the turn, Kontush called an 80K bet from the chip leader. A ten on the river presented the potential for a Broadway straight, but Pavlyuchuk was undaunted.
Pavlyuchuk fired off another bet, this time for 100,000, but Kontush suddenly woke up and went over the top of him for 320,000. Pavlyuchuk pondered Kontush’s action, even using one of his precious “time bank” chips, before calling. After Kontush turned up pocket tens for a rivered set, Pavlyuchuk A-9 and turned two pair had been clipped. The pot pushed towards Kontush moved him into the lead and sent Pavlyuchuk back into the pack.
Kontush would bring the tournament to the final two tables in eliminating Oleg Breshkov in 17th place and held a massive lead at this point with his 2.7 million in chips. Once the redraw was complete, it was Shafikov’s time to begin a run. He would double up through Aliaksei Ivanov to climb over the million-chip mark, then approach the two million point by knocking out Anatoly Zuev. Shafikov wasn’t done with Ivanov, sending him out of the Casino Sochi in tenth place to bring the unofficial final table together and pulling up behind Kontush for the chip lead.
Short Battle to the Final Table
Once the final table redraw was complete, Shafikov continued his hot streak. He blasted into the chip lead by pairing up his Jack while holding an inferior J-2 to Mikhail Galitskiy’s Q-2, then snatched more chips from Denis Sapozhnikov to improve his stack to 5.525 million chips and extend his lead. At this point, Shafikov was content to sit back as two other players brought the official final table to fruition.
First Galitskiy got healthy. He won a race against Sedrak Bagdasaryan to send Bagdasaryan home in ninth place, then bumped off Sergey Petrushevskiy in eighth when his K♣ Q♣ rivered an unnecessary flush against Petrushevskiy’s J-9 on an A♣ 10x 10♣ 3x 7♣ board. Once Aleksey Gortikov ended Sapozhnikov’s tournament with a massive cooler, his pocket Kings against Sapozhnikov’s pocket Queens and a Jack high board, the final six were determined for the WPT Russia Main Event:
1. Denys Shafikov, 5.335 million
2. Aleksey Gortikov, 3.36 million
3. Yauhen Kontush, 2.66 million
4. Mikhail Galitskiy, 1.98 million
5. Oleg Pavlyuchuk, 1 million
6. Nikolay Fal, 785,000
The final table action begins at noon on Sunday (4AM East Coast time) and will be streamed over the WPT Facebook page or its YouTube channel. The eventual champion of the WPT Russia will walk off with a $255,258 payday that includes a buy-in to the 2019 WPT Tournament of Champions, a well-deserved prize for the victor in Sochi.