RPT St Petersburg: The final nine
It's taken two days to get down from a bumper 201 entries to the final nine players in the first Russian Poker Tour event in chilly St Petersburg. Top of the pile sits a PokerStars qualifier:
1. Dumitru Gaina, Moldova, 501,000. The young player is determined to seize his chip lead and turn his PokerStars satellite win into a bumper, $300,000 pay day.
2. Sergei Popyuk, Russia, 302,000. Sergei, a former military pilot from Arkhangelsk, may be seen as a tight player, but his image obviously worked as he shot down his opponents to reach the final table comfortable in chips.
3. Sergei Solntsev, Russia, 256,000. Sergei is playing in his home city and looking to keep the trophy on home soil.
4. Vadim Markushevsky, Belarus, 256,000. Vadim plays like an online poker warrior - fearlessly entering many pots, and nearly always as the aggressor. What's impressed many, however, has been his ability to read his opponents.
5. Anatoly Ozhenilok, Russia, 203,000. Another player from St Petersburg, Ozhenilok is actually a cash game specialist. But he's proved here he has quite a tournament game as well, and is looking to get his year off to a flyer.
6. Bulat Bikmetov, Russia, 181,000. Strong and aggressive, but he recognises he has his work cut out here if he is going to lift the trophy.
7. Evgeny Zaytsev, Russia, 178,000.
8. Alexander Pantyuhin, Russia, 76,000. Alex, from Kaliningrad, won a satellite to this event, but was not going to play the main event until his friends persuaded him. Now he's in for a shout at a $300,000 title! But he has a mountain to climb as one of the shorter stacks.
9. Oleg Suntsov, Russia, 64,000. Oleg, who regularly plays tournaments in his home city of St Petersburg, was chip leader after day one, and has made it all the way though to the final table, albeit as the short stack.
There's blow-by-blow coverage of the final right now over at our Russian PokerStars blog. Warning! Strange, unreadable language! Instead, you may prefer to wait for the English version of the tournament result on this page.