2008 World Series: The Kirill System

Right, let’s get the confession out of the way first. I was sweating PokerStars sponsored player Kirill Gerasimov from the rail because I thought he was about to be eliminated. It’s best to start from a position of honesty.

I’m not even sure why I was convinced he was on his way because, as Howard Swains reported earlier this week, his legendary performance at the season two EPT Deauville was proof he was no slouch when he came to making do with what he had. I witnessed that final too and what I saw here a short time ago wasn’t far off – the stirrings of a short-stacked rearguard action which Kirill makes look like a martial art.


With 70 players left Kirill lost the majority of his stack in a hand that taken by a player holding two pairs, leaving the Russian with just 15K. Out in the Brasilia room 15K won’t last you long, not with an average stack somewhere in the region of 165K and blinds at 3K/6K. The Brasilia is big but doesn’t have the atmosphere that the Amazon Room seems to muster - no banners, no pictures of former winners, it doesn't have the same hum of several hundred people - just the bright lights hung from the ceilings.

But what was that about the short stack? Sure, if you didn’t lose the chips in the first place you wouldn’t have to play with next to nothing, but the nature of poker is never certain - with this in mind enter Kirill.

Using the ‘Kirill System’ the Russian began to work his way back. First he puts on his glasses on, begins bounces his leg and moves all-in with a raise and a call ahead of him, laughing in that way that makes his shoulders move up and down. As he does whenever he checks his cards, he peels the corner up just a little exposing only the minimum amount of the business side. He has ace-seven of hearts with two hearts on the board.

“You have outs!” someone says when he turns them over, called by the seat six player who reads his cards with the benefit of a giant magnifying glass. Kirill hit the heart he needed on the turn, doubling him up. Step one.

Another hand, a raise ahead of him and a move all-in from Kirill, seizing each chance as it comes. He wanted the call but got no takers, good for the blinds and a few thousand more. Step two.

A short while later another small hand, a couple more follow to a point where he's back near the average. Step three.

He’s still not out of the woods but it’s a better state of affairs. And if anyone can mount a comeback it’s Kirill. We'll keep you posted on step four, although we can tell you that his latest move involved a triple-up.