RPT Moscow: Russian Team PokerStars Pros on song for final
Each year in Europe there is a musical spectacular in which countries fight it out to become winners of the Eurovision Song Contest. Some take it more seriously than others, but it involves a glittering show in which 25 nations perform their song, and then the population of 42 countries vote over the telephone for their favourites. Our US readers might be a bit baffled by all this, but they need only know that some of the music is excrutiatingly painful and instantly forgettable - but occasionally a little gem launches a stunning career, just as it did for ABBA with Waterloo back in 1974.
What's all that got to do with the RPT in Moscow? Well it just so happens that this year's Eurovision showpiece was held last night in a huge concert venue just down the road from our poker tournament - Norway won, by the way - yet despite that distraction, the poker provided enough thrills and spills of its own to keep everyone enthralled.
While the Russian entry did not fare so well in the Eurovision, its poker players were on fire in the RPT, where they'll make up all nine of the final table! Among them are Team PokerStars Pros Ivan Demidov, who final tabled last year's WSOP Main Event, and Alexander Kravchenko, who came fourth in the same event a year earlier.
Final table seats and chips:
Seat 1: Artamonov Sergey - 375,500 chips
Seat 2: Vitkind Dmitriy - 115,500
Seat 3: Ewgeny Onischuk - 347,000
Seat 4: Goryachev Vyacheslav - 310,500
Seat 5: Demidov Ivan - 425,000
Seat 6: Kravchenko Alexander - 173,500
Seat 7: Shamаrdin Oleg - 805,000
Seat 8: Khaustov Alexander - 288,000
Seat 9: Lunkin Vtaliy - 255,000
Day three had seen 36 players come back to play down to the final table of nine, and under the expert stewardship of tournament director Thomas Kremser, there was enough play to ensure all players had a chance to showcase their skills over nine hours. There were still a rush of early eliminations, with Vitaly Lee, Ilya Burtsev, Kirill Gerasimov, then Alexander Panov picking up their coats. With 27 places paid, the last to leave with nothing was bubble boy Alexey Maslov.
Alsp spare a thought for Sergey "gipsy" Rybachenko - chip leader earlier in the event - who went out in 27th, at least with a little cash to show for his efforts. He was eliminated by Oleg Shamardin on a 8-9-J-7-J board - a ten for Rybachenko (for the straight) no good against Shamardin's J-9 for a full house.
Shamardin continued his momentum to take a chip lead into the final table with 805,000. Team Pros Kravchenko with 173,500 and Demidov, who was down to the felt at one stage but rallied to 425,000, will have him in their sights as they hunt down the first prize of 14,323,000 rubles - that's about $445,000.
We'll have a final table report for you later tonight or early tomorrow, depending on how long the final lasts. If you can read Russian, or just want to try and understand what is going on from pictures and using an online translation tool, then head over to the Russian PokerStars Blog, where our man Pavel Sychev is doing a grand job updating the masses. Warning: letters look very odd.