He didn’t eliminate everyone at the World Poker Tour (WPT) Russia Main Event final table – he missed the first knockout – but Denys Shafikov began with the chip lead and cruised all the way to heads-up en route to winning the title and $255,258.

Shafikov had 5.335 million chips to start the six-handed final table Sunday, nearly as many as the next two players combined. Chip leaders don’t often remain in that position, but Shafikov sure did, absolutely crushing the final table the vast majority of the day.

Oleg Pavlyuchuk, who began the final table in fifth position with an even one million chips, was the first to go on Sunday. He moved all-in pre-flop with Eights over the top of Aleksey Gortikov’s raise, but unfortunately for him, Gortikov had Nines and that was it.

On the 58th hand of the final table, Mikhail Galitskiy shoved with Jh-9h pre-flop for 865,000 chips and was called by Shafikov, who had pocket Fives. The board paired on the flop and an 8 on the turn gave Galitskiy a shot to counterfeit Shafikov’s own pair, but Shafikov rivered a boat to clinch the hand and increase his stack to 9.200 million chips.

Fewer than 20 hands later, Nikolay Fal was ousted in fourth place, again at the hands of Shafikov. It was academic, with Shafikov’s A-K dominating Fal’s K-T. By the second break, Shafikov over 10 million chips, while his two remaining opponents had just 5 million combined.

Heads-up was determined on Hand 116. Gortikov moved all-in pre-flop for 2 million chips with Jacks and Yauhen Kontush called for 1.6 million with Nines. Oops. Nothing came close to helping him on the board and he was gone in third place.

Going into heads-up play, Shafikov led handily, 11.605 million to 3.695 million.

This is where Shafikov’s dominance took a brief pause. Gortikov quickly doubled up, pulled close to even within 11 hands, and, from what I can tell looking at the hand histories, took the lead on the twelfth hand of heads-up play.

Shafikov regained control, though, not only regaining the advantage, but building a 9 million chip gap within about 25 hands. And shortly thereafter, it was over.

Shafikov raised pre-flop and Gortikov moved all-in for 4.5 million chips. Shafikov called. Gortikov flipped over A-7, while Shafikov had pocket Nines and was in great shape. What followed was the same as in the other eliminations of the final table: no surprises. Goritkov didn’t hit any cards he needed, while Shafikov improved to a set on the turn. His first World Poker Tour title was in the books with a quarter-million dollar prize.

2019 World Poker Tour Russia Main Event – Final Table Results

1. Denys Shafikov – $255,259
2. Aleksey Gortikov – $171,236
3. Yauhen Kontush – $110,737
4. Nikolay Fal – $79,768
5. Mikhail Galitskiy – $62,751
6. Oleg Pavlyuchuk – $51,052

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