The PokerStars Championship Sochi Main Event drew a big field of 387 players, and Russian native Pavel Shirshikov managed to top the rest and walk away with a $514,893 prize. Shirshikov has only been playing live poker since March, but also managed to place fourth in the $460 + 40 H.O.R.S.E. event and ninth in the $200 + 20 No Limit Hold’em – Turbo Deepstack event at the partypoker Million Sochi.
The final table saw six players return to battle it out for one of the biggest titles available on Russian soil. Native Timur Bubnov went home first after coming into the final day in the short stack. Bubnov ran a top pair into Vladimir Troyanovskiy’s two-pair. The turn and river sealed his fate and a $116,249 payday.
Lavrentiy Ni fought hard for most of the final day, but it was the wrong call to move all-in with pocket eights. Shirshikov called with an A-Q and managed to pull an ace-high diamond flush by the turn, giving Ni just over $150,000 for a fifth-place finish. Dmitry Vitkind was put in the hot seat next when he bumped into Shirshikov in a five-bet pot. The former had a pretty pair of aces to Shirshikov’s kings, but the eventual winner pulled a king on the turn which sent his fellow countryman packing in fourth.
The final three were relatively evenly matched as play continued, but it all came down to a Q-9. Iranian Seyed Ghavam held a K-9, going into the matchup ahead against Shirshikov’s Q-9. The flop was ugly for Ghavam as his opponent managed to match both his cards. That was all she wrote for Ghavam, and he nabbed his biggest live score to date with $235,948.
After his three eliminations, Shirshikov came into heads-up play with more than twice the chip count of his opponent. His lead only grew as the pair played on, and a series of poor plays by Troyanovskiy saw Shirshikov nab his first major title.
Final table results:
Photo credit: Neil Stoddart, Rational Intellectual Holdings, Inc.
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