PokerStars Championship Sochi: Main Event final table live updates

This is an archive of full event coverage from PokerStars Championship Sochi. Click through for a full tournament recap.

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9:15pm: Shirshikov ships it!
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Pavel Shirshikov has overcome Vladimir Troyanovskiy in this heads up battle to take down the inaugural PokerStars Championship Sochi Main Event!

Shirshikov had a huge chip lead over Troyanovskiy and the latter couldn't defy the deficit.

The final hand saw Troyanovskiy limp on the button before calling off for his last 1.1 million when Shirshikov moved all in from the big blind.

Shirshikov: A♥6♥
Troyanovskiy: K♣7♣

Troyanovskiy had live cards and while he flopped an open ended straight draw on the 4♥5♥6♦ flop, Shirshikov hit top pair and the nut flush draw. While Troyanovskiy still had a 28% chance to keep the tournament going, the 5♠ turn and J♣ river bricked off and with that Shirshikov was our champion.

We'll have a full wrap of the past week up on the PokerStars Blog shortly. Stay tuned! -- BK

9:10pm: Latest chips
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Pavel ShirshikovRussia10,560,000
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia1,060,000

9:05pm: Troyanovskiy all-in again
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Another all-in. There's no messing around now. Troyanovskiy in with something like six big blinds.

Troyanovskiy: Q♦4♠
Shershikov: Q♣T♦

The board came Q♥3♣K♥A♦4♠

8G2A3676_Vladimir_Troyanovskiy_PCSochi2017_Neil Stoddart.jpgTroyanovskiy clawing his way back?

Another double for Troyanovskiy, although he's hardly out of the woods. - SB

9pm: Dinner delay and a double up
Level 28 - Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

The final two players decided to hold back on the dinner break for another 30 minutes. The blinds went up and Pavel Shirshikov moved all-in. Vladimir Troyanovskiy called all-in with his short stack and we had a heads-up showdown.

Shirshikov tabled 9♥3♥ and Troyanovskiy tabled J♥6♥. The flop came T♦3♦4♦ to give Shirshikov a pair of threes. Then a Q♦ came on the turn to give both players a flush draw. The river brought a fifth diamond, the 5♦ and players chopped the pot.

Troyanovskiy is still super short with 530,000 to Shirshikov's 11.09 million. --AV

8:50pm: Updated counts
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Pavel ShirshikovRussia10,900,000
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia630,000

8:45pm: Troyanovskiy in the danger zone
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy started the heads-up match with a big chip deficit and Pavel Shirshikov just kept hammering away at him. Troyanovskiy soon found himself down to just 1 million to Shirshikov's 10 million.

Shirshikov raised to 140,000 with A♠K♣ and Troyanovskiy called with T♦4♦. The flop came A♣Q♣3♦ and both players checked. A 4♥ came on the turn and Shirshikov bet 150,000. Troyanovskiy called and a 5♥ completed the board.

Shirshikov bet 400,000 and Troyanvskiy called with a pair of fours. Shirshikov won the hand and chipped up to 10.99 million while Troyanovskiy dipped to 630,000. --AV

8:35pm: Updated counts
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Pavel ShirshikovRussia9,450,000
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia2,180,000

8:30pm: Shirshikov keeps rising, Troyanovskiy takes a small one
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Pavel Shirshikov continued the heads-up match by taking down the first few pots, but then Vladimir Troyanovskiy took down one for himself.

Shirshikov raised to 140,000 with 7♥4♥ the following hand and Troyanovskiy called with J♠9♦. The flop came 3♥4♣9♣ and Shirshikov bet 150,000 when checked to. Troyanovskiy called and a T♠ came on the turn. Both players checked and the river brought a 5♠.

8G2A3697_Pavel_Shirshikov_PCSochi2017_final.jpgOn the up: Pavel Shirshikov

Troyanovskiy bet 255,000 and Shirshikov thought for a bit before folding. The pot put Troyanovskiy at 2.18 million while Shirshikov still has a large lead with 9.45 million --AV

8:20pm: Another big pot
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Another big hand which could ultimately define how this final goes.

Pre-flop Troyanovskiy, holding A♥4♥ called Shirshikov's bet holding J♠T♦. The flop came T♣2♥A♣ which was checked for a 6♦ turn card.

Here's where things got heavy. Troyanovskiy raised to 525,000 which Shirshikov called for the J♠ river. Crucially this made Shirshikov two-pairs, so when Troyanovskiy bet another 625,000 he called.

The pot, and a big advantage, went to Shirshikov. Troyanovskiy meanwhile had on a face of thunder. - SB

8:15pm: Shirshikov scoops another
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Pavel Shirshikov has extended his cheap lead after Vladimir Troyanovskiy bricked a straight draw and couldn't pull the trigger.

Troyanovskiy raised to 125,000 on the button with 5♥4♦ and Shirshikov defended his big blind with K♥J♥ to see a flop of 8♠6♣3♦. Shirshikov check-called for 130,000 against Troyanovskiy and his open ender before the 6♦ turn card paired the board.

Shirshikov then led out for 165,000 and Troyanovskiy continued with his draw. The 3♠ river double-paired the board and both players checked with Shirshikov's king kicker playing to take down the pot.

He moves further ahead on 8.38 million to Troyanovskiy's 3.25 million. -- BK

8:08pm: Latest counts
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Pavel ShirshikovRussia8,080,000135
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia3,530,00059

8:05pm: Short break over
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

After the shortest of breaks players are back. Here's how things stand.

Pavel ShirshikovRussia8,080,000135
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia3,530,00059

8pm: Short break
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

They're taking a short break. It's not the end of the level, neither are they talking about a deal. They're just powdering noses before going mano-a-mano for the title.--HS

7:55pm: We're heads-up!
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Seyad Ghavam has just been eliminated in third place, leaving us heads-up here in Sochi.

Ghavam was the latest victim of Pavel Shirshikov, who looks unstoppable today.

Shirshikov started things off by limping from the small blind before Ghavam raised to 185,000 holding K♦9♦. Shirshikov called with a dominated Q♦9♣.

The flop reversed that domination completely: Q♠9♠8♥

Now Shirshikov had two pair and was in the driving seat. He checked, Ghavam bet 155,000 and was then faced with a check-raise up to 400,000. With so many possible draws on the board it was very possible his pair of nines was ahead. He called.

The turn was 4♣ and Shirshikov fired big. He made it 900,000 to go. Ghavam only had 1.5 million in total so it was essentially a decision for his tournament life. He went for it; all in. A quick call later ansd Ghavam got the bad news. He needed one of the three remaining kings on the river to win but the 6♦ was no help to him, and the Iranian departs the field.

So, it's heads-up. Pavel Shirshikov versus Vladimir Troyanovskiy. 8 million versus 3.5 million. GAME ON! - RJ


Heads up in Sochi: Troyanovskiy v Shirshikov

7:45pm: Vitkind betting on Vladimir
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Dmitry Vitkind just left us in unfortunate fashion - see below - but before he left the room he gave a quick interview to the PokerStars TV crew. When asked who would win it, he said, "Vladimir Troyanoyskiy", without much hesitation.

Will he be proved correct? Keep it right here on PokerStars Blog to find out. - RJ

7:30pm: Dmitry Vitkind out in fourth
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

It's time for some three-handed play as Dmitry Vitkind has just been eliminated in what can only be described as a cooler.

It started with a 120,000 min-open from Pavel Shirshikov on the button with the K♥K♣, before Vitkind three-bet the small blind to 340,000 with the Q♦Q♣. Back to Shirshikov, an inevitable four-bet arrived to 700,000, before the inevitable five-bet shove. A snap-call later, the cards were flipped and Vitkind saw the bad news.

He could still hit a queen after the J♠J♥8♠ flop, or a nine or ten would make things interesting. But the K♦ hit the turn to leave him drawing dead. The river (A♦) didn't matter in the slightest.

Vitkind will collect more than 10 million rubles for his efforts in this event (roughly $190,830), while Shirshikov is up to 6.01 million. --JS


Dmitry Vitkind: No beating kings for a second time

Here are the three-handed counts:

Pavel ShirshikovRussia6,010,000100
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia3,630,00061
Seyed GhavamIran2,215,00037

7:25pm: How many outs would you like, sir?
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

When you raise with 7♠6♠ like Pavel Shirshikov just did, you probably dream of flops like the one that came out. Playing against both Vladimir Troyanovskiy and Seyed Ghavam, Shirshikov's eyes must have lit up when the flop was 5♠9♠4♥. He had two over cards, an open-ended straight draw and a flush draw.

Having said all that, he was technically behind. Ghavam's K♣Q♠ for king-high was in the lead. But the percentages were in Shirskikov's favour; despite not having a made hand, he was a huge 67% favourite to win the hand against two other players! That's not something you see every day.

Shirshikov made a bet of 260,000 with his huge draw and took it down. One suspects he wouldn't have minded a call!

Shirshikov is now the chip leader. - RJ

7:20pm: No action with the nuts
Level 27 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Seyed Ghavam opened his button with the K♦Q♦ and Pavel Shirshikov defended the big blind with the A♣8♣. Two very respectable hands four-handed.

They saw a flop that had plenty of action potential: Q♣A♥7♣, giving Ghavam middle pair and Shirshikov top pair and the nut flush draw. Shirshikov check-called 130,000.

Both checked the 2♦, leading to the J♣ river, improving Shirshikov's hand to the nut flush. He checked it again, hoping Ghavam might bite, but it wasn't to be.

Ghavam is now on 2.1 million, and Shirshikov is up to 3.84 million. --JS

7:10pm: Back at it
Level 26 - Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Here they go again, four-handed and with the following stacks:

Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia3,630,00061
Pavel ShirshikovRussia3,270,00055
Seyed GhavamIran2,450,00041
Dmitry VitkindRussia2,265,00038

6:50pm: Pause in play

Break time (again). Players are on another 20 minute break.

6:40pm: Big folds
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Action has slowed down a bit with a few walks and some big preflop folds.

Vladimir Troyanovskiy raised to 105,000 from under the gun with K♥J♥ and Pavel Shirshikov called from the button with Q♣J♠. Seyed Ghavam found himself with K♠K♣ and three-bet to 380,000 from the big blind.

And that was it, that was good enough to take the pot down. Troyanovskiy let his king-jack suited go and Shirshikov followed suit.

Shirshikov and Troyanovskiy found themselves with some big cards a few hands later.

Shirshikov raised to 130,000 from under the gun and Vladimir Troyanovskiy three-bet to 400,000 from the big blind. It was up to Shirshikov, who had A♣J♥. He thought for a moment and made the big-card laydown too. Troyanovskiy's took down the pot with K♦Q♦. --AV

6:25pm: Blind on blind
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

As is expected in four-handed play, we're seeing a lot of small vs big blind battles. The latest one involved Seyed Ghavam taking a few chips from Vladimir Troyanovskiy.

NEIL3610_Vladimir_Troyanovsky_PCSochi2017_ft_v3.jpgLooking for inspiration: Vladimir Troyanovskiy

The former opened the small blind to 135,000 with the Q♥T♥ and the latter defended with the A♠3♣. The flop came T♠3♦J♠ giving Ghavam middle pair and Troyanovskiy bottom pair. The best hand bet 135,000 again, and the worst hand called.

The turn came the 9♥ giving Ghavam an up-and-down draw too. He fired for 240,000, but Troyanovskiy gave it up.

Ghavam is now on 2.61 million, while Troyanovskiy has 3.54 million. --JS

6:20pm: Latest approximate chip counts

Pavel ShirshikovRussia4,200,00076
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia3,660,00073
Seyed GhavamIran2,420,00048
Dmitry VitkindRussia1,510,00030

6:15pm: Ghavam and Troyanovskiy get the best of Shirshikov
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Pavel Shirshikov opened the A♥J♥ to 120,000 on the button and Seyed Ghavam defended his big blind the respectable Q♣9♣ to see the 9♥4♠8♠ flop. It checked through to the 2♣ turn, and Ghavam was still ahead with his top pair. He led out for 210,000 and got a quick fold.

In the next hand, Vladimir Troyanovskiy limped his small blind with the K♦4♥ and Shirshikov checked the J♥4♣. An unlikely four hit the 3♠K♥4♠ flop, as did a king to give Troyanovskiy two pair. He led out for 60,000 and got a call, before betting 125,000 on the Q♣ turn. Shirshikov folded. --JS

6:05pm: Three-way dance
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

It's rare at this stage of the tournament to see too many multi-way pots but we were just treated to one right now. Unfortunately, it won't go down in the record books as a classic.

It started when Shirshikov raised to 125,000 with A♣4♣. Dmitry Vitkind was sitting with pocket fours on the button and called, as did Seyed Ghavam with A♥7♥ in the small blind. There was the potential for a Family Pot Alert but Vladimir Troyanovskiy didn't want to party, and he folded his big blind.

The K♥2♣5♦ flop didn't hit anyone particularly hard but Shirshikov did pick up a gutshot and a backdoor flush draw. He's aggressive even without those outs, and so a predictable c-bet was incoming. He made it 225,000. It was good enough to make the other two fold and he shipped the pot.

Shirshikov is now up to 4.2m. - RJ

5:55pm: Shirshikov back in front with a big bluff
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Pavel Shirshikov has reclaimed the chip lead now after a courageous three barrel bluff got a laydown from Seyed Ghavam.

Shirshikov button-raised to 120,000 preflop with 9♦8♣ and Ghavam defended his blind holding A♠4♠. The flop came down A♥J♣Q♦ and Ghavam check-called 165,000 with top pair before the 2♠ landed on the turn.

Ghavam checked again and Shirshikov kept up the aggression, continuing for 400,000. Ghavam called once more and the Q♣ completed the board. A final check from Ghavam left the decision on Shirshikov, and with no showdown value, he loaded up and emptied the clip with a bet of one million.

With 2.19 million in his stack Ghavam was in a significant predicament.

"Ace is good?" asked Ghavam after two minutes in the tank.

Shirshikov initially gave no reply, and finally Ghavam folded showing the ace.

"Ace is good," Shirshikov said when it was over, tabling the bluff and collecting the pot to move up to 3.955 million. -- BK

5:45pm: Ghavam gets some
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Dmitry Vitkind tried to get fancy from under the gun. He raised with 7♣5♣ and took a stab at taking down the pot on the flop and river. They weren't successful though and Vitkind switched spots with Seyed Ghavam as the tournament short stack.

Vitkind raised to 115,000 from under the gun that hand and Seyed Ghavam called from the button with K♥J♠. The flop came 2♠6♣4♥ and Vitkind's hit an open-ended straight draw with his 7♣5♣. Vitkind bet 125,000 and Ghavam raised to 285,000. A T♥ came on turn after Vitkind called and both players slowed down to a check. The river brought a K♠ and Ghavam hit a pair of kings.

NEIL3494_Seyed_Ghavam_PCSochi2017_ft_v2.jpgGive 'em to Ghavam

Vitkind took another stab at it and bet 325,000. Ghavam quickly called with his kings though. Vitkind showed seven-high and Ghavam took it down. The pot put Ghavam up to 2.89 million while Vitkind gained short stack status with 1.66 million. --AV

5:40pm: Latest counts

Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia3,810,00076
Pavel ShirshikovRussia2,990,00064
Dmitry VitkindRussia2,400,00048
Seyed GhavamIran2,100,00042

5:35pm: Troyanovkiy widens the gap
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy has taken a nice lead over his nearest rival Pavel Shirshikov thanks to this latest pot.

Troyanovskiy limped in the small blind with the K♠9♥ and Shirshikov raised his big blind to 175,000 with the T♠7♠. That bet was called and they went to a flop.

NEIL3573_Vladimir_Troyanovsky_PCSochi2017_ft-v2.jpgBig gap: Vladimir Troyanovskiy

It came A♥6♣6♦ and checked through to the K♦ turn, giving Troyanovskiy a pair of kings. However, both checked again.

The 2♦ completed the board and Troyanovskiy opted to check and Shirshikov room to bluff. He did just that, leading out for 175,000, but Troyanovskiy called very quickly to take it down.

He's up to 3.81 million now, while Shirshikov is down to 2.99 million. --JS

5:25pm: Is jack-high good here?
Level 26 - Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Seyed Ghavam just took down a one million chip pot from Pavel Shirshikov, and it was interesting one to watch too.

Ghavam, with K♦7♦, hit a pair on the 8♣7♠A♥ flop and bet 110,000. Shirshikov had just a gutshot with J♦T♠ but called. He hoped to see a nine on the turn but instead it was K♠, improving Ghavam's hand by giving him two pair. After that improvement he naturally wanted to get paid, putting out 290,000 across the line.

However, Ghavam wasn't the only player whose hand had improved; Shirshikov now had a double gutshot. Any nine or queen would give him the nuts. He wanted to see the river.

It wasn't good news for Shirshikov. The 7♥ hit Ghavam and his hand improved for a third consecutive street. Ghavam bet out 700,000 with his full house and it looked a trivial fold for Shirshikov's jack-high. However, he just couldn't put those cards into the muck. He thought about it for a few minutes but, judging by his animated facials, he wasn't considering a bluff raise at all. He just had an inkling his jack-high might be good. Could Ghavam be bluffing with a missed straight draw perhaps?

Shirshikov eventually came to the accurate conclusion and folded his hand. But what a story it would have been if he had called and been correct...

Ghavam moves up to 2.4 million but Shirshikov remains in front of him with 3.29 million. - RJ

5:15pm: Play resumes
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The players are back and cards are in the air.

4:55pm: Break time

That's the end of another level. Players are on a 20 minute break. Here's how things look with four players remaining.

Pavel ShirshikovRussia3,805,00076
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia3,350,00067
Dmitry VitkindRussia2,580,00052
Seyed GhavamIran1,880,00038

4:50pm: Lavrentiy Ni eliminated in fifth place
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

We've lost another player here as Lavrentiy Ni falls by the wayside in 5th spot.

Ni had found himself on the shortstack and moved all in for 385,000 from the cutoff holding 8♠8♣. Vladimir Troyanovskiy looked down at A♥2♥ in the small blind and with eyebrows raised he decided to make the call.

8G2A3577_Lavrentiy_Ni_PCSochi2017_ft_out.jpgNo more Ni: Lavrentiy Ni departs

Pavel Shirshikov woke up with A♦Q♥ in the big blind and he decided to isolate with a three-bet squeeze to 875,000. That saw Troyanovskiy get out of the way and both Ni and Shirshikov tabled their hands.

Taking the dead cards into account Ni was actually a 3:2 favourite in what would usually be a flip, but the 6♦7♦J♦ flop gave Shirshikov 13 outs, and by the 4♦ turn card Ni was drawing dead. The K♣ river made his elimination official and with that we were down to four. -- BK

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4:45pm: Three-betting draws with Ghavam
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

It started out with a simple call from the small blind from Seyed Ghavam. Ghavam had K♦Q♦ and Vladimir Toryanovskiy checked from the big blind with T♣4♣.

Both players checked the A♥4♦7♥ flop and then things got big. A T♦ came on the turn to give Troyanovskiy two-pair while Ghavam hit a flush and broadway straight draw. Ghavam bet 45,000 and Troyanovskiy raised to 165,000. Ghavam then re-raised to 370,000 and Troyanovskiy thought.

He stared down Ghavam and then threw in chips for a call. A 5♣ completed the board and this time both players checked. Troyanovskiy rose to 3.57 million with two-pair while Ghavam's busted draws left him with 1.81 million. --AV

4:40pm: Ghavam doubles through Ni
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Lavrentiy Ni has developed a loose-aggressive image at this final table, but that might have just cost him the majority of his chips.

He limped the small blind with the T♣7♣ and Seyed Ghavam checked his option with the K♠3♣ to see the 4♣2♦K♦ flop. It gave Ghavam top pair but Ni nothing, but never the less Ni led out for 45,000.

NEIL3499_Seyed_Ghavam_PCSochi2017_ft.jpgTime to shine: Seyed Ghavam

Ghavam then raised it up to 130,000, only for Ni to the re-raise to 215,000. Call.

The 5♣ turn was interesting. It gave Ni a flush draw and improved Ghavam to an up-and-down straight draw to go with the king. Ni then jammed for 1.24 million, but Ghavam only had 845,000 so that was the bet size. Ghavam went into the tank. A minute went by.

But then he tossed in a calling chip. Ni could only sigh, but any club would give him the win. However, the river was the 7♦ and that brings Ni right down to 395,000. Ghavam is up to 2.25 million now. --JS

4:35pm: Latest counts
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Pavel ShirshikovRussia2,920,00073
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia2,470,00062
Dmitry VitkindRussia2,210,00055
Lavrentiy NiKazakhstan1,500,00071
Seyed GhavamIran1,190,00030

4:30pm: Kick to the Ni
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Lavrentiy Ni is trying his best to make things happen today but, so far, it's really not working out well for him. After a failed two-street bluff just a few hands earlier, Ni was up to his old tricks again in this hand.

It started out when he raised from the button with Q♥T♥. Vladimir Troyanovskiy was in the big blind holding T♠8♦ and was the only caller. The 7♦J♦9♣ flop was pure gold dust for the Russian, hitting a straight. It wasn't too bad for Ni either, who had an open-ended straight draw and an over card. Troyanovskiy checked it to him, Ni bet 85,000 and then Troyanovskiy had a decision to make.

Would he play it coy and just call? Or try and get as many chips into the middle as possible right away? He chose the latter option, check-raising to 255,000. Ni called and we had a big pot on our hands.

The 6♣ turn was no good for Ni. Troyanovski bet 335,000 into a 725,000 pot. Ni, with his straight draw, called and we were off to the river.

It was J♣, pairing the board and putting a backdoor flush out there. Either this scared Troyanovskiy or he was setting a trap; he checked. The aggressive Ni would have surprised nobody by betting but instead he decided not to bluff and checked behind to find out the bad news.

After that dream flop Troyanovskiy is now up to a whopping great 3.18 million. - RJ

4:20pm: Shirshikov shows great timing
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Seyed Ghavam decided to get a little loosey goosey just now by opening to 85,000 with the J♠6♦ on the button, but Pavel Shirshikov three-bet it up to 265,000 out of the big blind with the J♥5♣ and got a fold.

In the very next hand it folded to Shirshikov in the small blind and he made it 130,000 with the J♥8♦ and got Dmitry Vitkind to lay down J♣9♣ from the big blind.

Those two bring Shirshikov up to 2.95 million. --JS

4:15pm: Vitkind hurts Ni in blind battle
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Dmitry Vitkind has bested Lavrentiy Ni in a battle of the blinds to climb to 2.72 million in chips.

Vitkind limped in the small blind with A♥T♠ and Ni bumped it up to 125,000 from the big blind holding 4♣3♣. Vitkind called and the dealer spread a flop of 7♦5♥A♦.

NEIL3527_Dmitry_Vitkind_PCSochi2017_ft.jpgDmitry Vitkind

Vitkind check-called a bet of 145,000 and the Q♠ arrived on the turn. Another check from Vitkind prompted another bet from Ni, this time for 365,000, and Vitkind called to see the T♦ river roll off.

Vitkind checked on the end and Ni couldn't empty the clip, surrendering with a check behind and falling to 2.32 million. -- BK

4pm: Latest counts
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Pavel ShirshikovRussia2,920,000
Lavrentiy NiKazakhstan2,825,000
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia2,470,000
Dmitry VitkindRussia2,210,000
Seyed GhavamIran1,190,000

4:05pm: Timur Bubnov out in 6th
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

The final table has shrunk for the first time today.

Timur Bubnov, the chocolate factory worker who qualified to Sochi through a $10 Spin & Go, became our 6th place finisher courtesy of Vladimir Troyanovskiy.

8G2A3543_Timur_Bubnov_PCSochi2017_ft_out.jpgNo more Tumur: Bubnov out in sixth

Vladimir Troyanovskiy raised to 85,000 from early position that hand and Timur Bubnov called from the big blind.

The flop came J♠9♦K♦ and Troyanovskiy bet 80,000. Troyanovskiy had just hit two-pair with J♥9♥ while Bubnov was holding K♠Q♦ for top pair. Bubnov raised all-in for 695,000 and Troyanovskiy snap-called.

The turn brought a 7♠ and then an A♠ came on the river to shrink the final table. Troyanovskiy rose to 2.47 million while Bubnov won ₽6.57 million for finishing 6th. --AV

3:50pm: Troyanovskiy turns the nuts, but the others turn away
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

We haven't many notable hands of late, despite some big hands being made.

In this pot, Vladimir Troyanovskiy opened to 85,000 with the K♥J♠, which Pavel Shirshikov called with the 5♥5♦ and Dmitry Vitkind joined in with the A♣3♥.

Three way to the flop, it came 8♦9♣Q♦, giving Troyanovskiy a gutshot and not much to anyone else. It checked through to the T♥ turn, which was gin for Troyanovskiy. He'd turned the nuts, but when it checked to him and he bet 120,000 he was met with two fast folds.

Troyanovskiy is now on 1.65 million, Shirshikov has 2.93 million, and Vitkind has 2.24 million. --JS

3:40pm: Slow start to Level 25
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

We're several hands into the new blind level, Level 25, and play has been deliberate so far. Troyanovskiy has picked up a couple of pots pre-flop but all were small and unremarkable.

However, those escalating blinds and antes will ensure that the action heats up in this level at some point, so stay tuned! - RJ

3:25pm: Play resumes
Level 25 - Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

We're into Level 25.

3:05pm: Break time

We've reached the first break of the day. Players return in 20 minutes. Here's how things stand.

Pavel ShirshikovRussia3,150,000
Lavrentiy NiKazakhstan2,954,000
Dmitry VitkindRussia2,528,000
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia1,492,000
Seyed GhavamIran950,000
Timur BubnovRussia540,000

3:04pm: Troyanovskiy gets tricky
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy is displaying some of the poker chops he's notorious for after a light squeeze saw him pick up a pot.

Dmitry Vitkind raised to 70,000 under the gun with 7♠7♦ and after Seyed Ghavam called on the button with T♦8♦, Troyanovskiy three-bet to 305,000 from the small blind.

That was enough to get through both active opponents and take Troyanovskiy's stack to 1.49 million. -- BK

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3pm: Shirshikov's queens
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Pavel Shirshikov found himself under the gun with Q♠Q♣ and he raised to 75,000. Vladimir Troyanovskiy called from the big blind with A♥J♦ and both players went to the 6♦9♠5♥ flop.

NEIL3454_Pavel_Shirshikov_PCSochi2017_wrap.jpgWho's laughing now?: Pavel Shirshikov

Troyanovskiy checked and Shirshikov checked behind, bringing a 3♦ on the turn. Troyanovskiy bet 90,000 and Shirshikov called. A 5♣ came on the river to pair the board and Troyanovskiy checked.

Shirshikov checked behind and took down the pot with his queens. Shirshikov chipped up to 3.21 million while Troyanovskiy dipped to 1.3 million. --AV

2:55pm: Hearty board, tiny flush
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

There were hearts for everybody, but both players had a small flush.

Dmitry Vitkind raised to 65,000 from the cutoff that hand and Seyed Ghavam called from the big blind.

The flop came A♥5♥3♥ and Vitkind checked with A♣8♥. Ghavam checked back with 2♥2♦ and a K♥ came on the turn to give both players a flush. There was another round of checks and a 3♣ came on the river. Vitkind bet 65,000 and Ghavam called.

The eight-high flush took it down and Vitkind chipped up to 2.57 million while Ghavam dipped to 1.05 million. --AV

2:50pm: Four to the flop
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

There are only six players left in this tournament and four of them just made it to the flop in a big hand that saw Seyed Ghavam chip up significantly.

Dmitry Vitkind was the initial raiser with A♣J♣. He picked up a called in Timur Bubnov - holding 6♥6♣ - and another buyer in Ghavam with K♦J♥ on the button. Troyanovskiy got out of the way but Pavel Shirshikov woke up with the other pocket sixes, 6♠6♦. He called too.

The K♣4♠4♥ flop gave Ghavam top pair and ensured that both Shirshikov and Bubnov were drawing dead already. However, it was the other player in the hand that actually bet. Vitkind put out 75,000 and was called by both Bubnov and Ghavam.

The Q♦ turn was checked by all three players. With the pot now swelling another queen, Q♣, came on the river. This time it was Bubnov who took a stab at it, betting 110,000. Ghavam held top pair and predictably called while Vitkind decided to give it up. Ghavam's K♦J♥ was good and he raked in the 770,000 chip pot.

Ghavam is now on 1.2 million and out of the danger zone. - RJ

2:45pm: Bubnov misses a trick
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

You can't help but feel that Timur Bubnov just missed out on a chance to take down the blinds and antes, plus Lavrentiy Ni's 62,000 under the gun open.

Ni had the Q♥9♥ and Bubnov had the 9♦9♠ but decided just to call. That let Dmitry Vitkind in with the A♠3♦ and they all saw a K♠8♠A♣ flop. It checked through to the [10d] turn, which Vitkind took down with a 90,000 bet. --JS

2:35pm: Ni moves up to co-chip leader
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Lavrentiy Ni is neck and neck with Pavel Shirshikov for the top spot now after taking some chips from Dmitry Vitkind.

NEIL3530_Lavrentiy_Ni_PCSochi2017_ft.jpgNi high: Lavrentiy Ni

Ni raised to 62,000 under the gun with A♥9♦ and Vitkind defended his big blind holding 9♠5♠. The flop fell 8♥K♠9♥ to see both players spike middle pair and Vitkind check-called for 76,000.

The Q♥ turn card was met with another check from Vitkind, and when Ni barrelled again for 148,000 Vitkind let it go.

Ni now has 3.09 million in chips. -- BK

2:25pm: Filling up on the river
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

The two big stacks found themselves heads-up and while both had full houses on the river, they managed to keep the pot relatively small.

Lavrentiy Ni looked down at A♠A♦ at the start of that hand and raised to 62,000 from early position. Action folded around to Pavel Shirshikov in the big blind and he called with 8♦7♦.

The flop came K♥5♦8♥ and both players checked. The turn brought a 5♠ and Shirshikov bet 66,000. Ni called and a 5♥ completed the board and gave both players a full house.

Shirshikov fired off another bet, this time worth 95,000. Ni raised to 287,000 and it was good enough to take down the pot. Ni closed in the 3 million mark with 2.91 million while Shirshikov dipped to 3.11 million after the hand. --AV

2:20pm: Troyanovskiy outflops, Ni outrivers
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Play folded to Lavrentiy Ni in the cutoff and he opened the K♠J♥ to 62,000. Vladimir Troyanovskiy was his only caller out of the big blind with the T♣2♣, and the two saw an A♥T♠4♠ flop, putting Troyanovskiy in front.

NEIL3482_Vladimir_Troyanovsky_PCSochi2017_ft.jpgOutflopper and outriverer: Vladimir Troyanovskiy

He checked it, before calling Ni's 50,000 c-bet. The turn then came the 4♦, pairing the board, and both checked it through to the K♦ river. Ni had taken the lead right at the end, but decided not to go for value after Troyanovskiy checked.

Ni takes it down and has 2.65 million now. Troyanovskiy has 1.65 million. --JS

2:10pm: Latest counts
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Lavrentiy NiKazakhstan3,020,000
Pavel ShirshikovRussia2,914,000
Dmitry VitkindRussia2,150,000
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia1,970,000
Timur BubnovRussia1,070,000
Seyed GhavamIran985,000

2pm: Bubnov willing to play for it all
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Timur Bubnov is the shortest stack at today's final table and he just got all of his chips into the middle in an attempt to double up.

It was Dmitry Vitkind who kicked off the action by raising to 65,000 with 7♦7♣ and Lavrentiy Ni called on the button with king-jack. Then Bubnov found himself sitting in the big blind with A♠K♦. He had 28 big blinds and a decision to make. Folding was never on Bubnov's mind so it was either make a raise or shove it all in.

He chose the latter and got two folds. Still, this small win put Bubnov over the 1.07 million mark so one suspects he won't be too unhappy with the result. - RJ

1:50pm: Ghavam gaining
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Seyed Ghavam is fighting back from the shortstack after taking a pot from chip leader Lavrentiy Ni.

Ni button-raised to 63,000 with J♠T♣ and Ghavam defended his big blind with a dominating A♣T♦. The flop was spread Q♦T♥7♥ with both players hitting middle pair and Ghavam check-called a bet of 53,000.

The A♥ turn saw Ghavam improve to two pair and he check-called again - this time for 145,000. The Q♣ on the end was a bad card for Ghavam as his two pair had been counterfeited but the action was checked through to see Ghavam rake the pot.

He moves up to 985,000. -- BK

1:40pm: Bubnov battling with Ni
Level 24 - Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

The blinds are up and Timur Bubnov, who started the day as the short stack, decided to tussle with the big stack, Lavrentiy Ni.

Action folded to Ni's small blind and he raised it up with K♦J♦. Bubnov defended with 8♥9♦ and paired his eight on the 8♦5♥T♣ flop. Ni bet 85,000 and Bubnov decided to re-raise all-in for 708,000.

Ni quickly folded and Bubnov chipped up to 957,000. Ni on the other hand dipped to 3.02 and handed over the lead to Pavel Shirshikov. --AV

1:30pm: Shirshikov plays it straight
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 3,000)

Pavel Shirshikov was under the gun, and with a hand as pretty as 8♣9♣ he decided to kick off proceedings with an open to 55,000. That got a call from Seyed Ghavam in the small blind with the A♥Q♣, and Vladimir Troyanovskiy flatted too from the big blind with the Q♠T♦.

The J♦4♦T♠ brought something for everyone: a gutshot for Ghavam, middle pair for Troyanovsiy, and an up-and-down draw for Shirshikov. Despite all that, it checked through.

The 7♥ turn changed things, giving Shirshikov a straight. It checked to him and he made a bet of 120,000, which only Troyanovskiy would call.

That took them to the 8♦ river, meaning any nine would be a straight now. Troyanovskiy checked with his one pair, and had to fold to Shirshikov's 300,000 river-bet.

That brings Shirshikov up to 2.94 million, and leaves Troyanovskiy with 1.77 million. --JS

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1:20pm: Chip counts

Lavrentiy NiKazakhstan2,949,000
Pavel ShirshikovRussia2,914,000
Dmitry VitkindRussia2,150,000
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia1,970,000
Seyed GhavamIran911,000
Timur BubnovRussia783,000

1:15pm: Four bet alert
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 3,000)

Vladimir Troyanovskiy peeked down at J♦T♠ from the cutoff and opened it up to 50,000, only to get three-bet by Pavel Shirshikov on the button to 165,000, holding the A♦8♣. It folded to Lavrentiy Ni in the big blind, and he woke up with the A♠Q♦. That was good for a four-bet to 411,000, which got both players to fold. --JS

1:10pm: Miracle river saves Vitkind
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 3,000)

Dmitry Vitkind will be counting his blessings after getting his money in as a 9:1 dog and binking the river to not only evade elimination but climb to a stack of 2.15 million.

Vitkind opened to 52,000 under the gun with A♠J♠ before Seyed Ghavam three-bet to 131,000 on the button with K♠K♦. Vitkind called and saw a flop of J♣6♠3♣. He check-called a bet of 131,000 and the 7♥ peeled off on the turn.

dmitry_vitkind_PSCSochi_ft.jpgMiracle man: Dmitry Vitkind

Vitkind checked again, and when Ghavam continued for 295,000, Vitkind shoved all in for 783,000. Ghavam called and Vitkind was down to just five outs with one card to come.

Luckily for Vitkind the A♥ landed on the river to see him suckout and knock Ghavam down to 911,000. -- BK

1:05pm: First hand of the day
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 3,000)

Play started with 26 minutes left in the level and players kicked off the first hand with some action.

Action folded to Seyed Ghavam's small blind and he called with 2♠2♣. Vladimir Troyanovskiy was on the big blind and raised to 80,000 from the big blind with A♦9♦.

Ghavam called and the flop came 9♣8♠6♦. Troyanovskiy bet 80,000 when checked to and Ghavam called. The turn brought a 4♠ and another check from Ghavam. Troyanovskiy fired away again, this time for 215,000.

Ghavam thought for a bit with his deuces, but decided to fold. Troyanovskiy squeaked past Ghavam with 1.97million while Ghavam dipped to fourth in chips with 1.96 million. --AV

1pm: Play gets started
Level 23 - Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 3,000)

Play starts in the final table, and on the live stream which you can access in the link above. -- SB

11am: Time to crown a champion

In two hours from now, six players will return to Casino Sochi to play the final table of the PokerStars Championship Sochi Main Event and become the first ever winner of a major PokerStars tournament held in Russia. There's $514,895 on the line for the champion, so the stakes are high.

There are four Russians and a player each from Kazakhstan and Iran in the final, and almost all of them still have a big stack. Action concluded yesterday in Level 23, where the big blind is 24,000. So the top two players have more than 120 big blinds each. This could easily be a super long final.

Here's how they stand:

Lavrentiy NiKazakhstan2,949,000123
Pavel ShirshikovRussia2,914,000122
Seyed GhavamIran2,124,00088
Vladimir TroyanovskiyRussia1,791,00075
Dmitry VitkindRussia1,050,00044
Timur BubnovRussia783,00033

No doubt that Vladimir Troyanovskiy is the best-known player in the final six. There are very few Russian players more recognisable than the man from Moscow. While most neutrals will be hoping he can stick around, there's enough game in the other five to ensure there could be some intriguing sub-plots developing before the day is done.


Vladimir Troyanovskiy takes centre stage

Cards are in the air at 12pm*, but we're reporting on a one-hour delay as the action is being screened cards-up on So check back here from 1pm. In the meantime, refresh your memory of how we got here.

* Apologies. This was originally reported as 1pm.

Take a look at the official website of PokerStars LIVE, with tournament schedule, news, results and accommodation details for the PokerStars Championship in Sochi and all other Festival and Championship events.

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PokerStars Blog reporting team in Sochi: Stephen Bartley, Ross Jarvis, Brad Kain, Jack Stanton, Howard Swains and Alex Villegas. Photography by Neil Stoddart.