2008 World Series: Kravchenko in from the cold

There are few more places in the world as vastly different as the northern Russian city of Arkhangelsk, and the American city built from the desert up, Las Vegas. The first has average winter temperatures hovering around minus 16 degrees and a summer high of around 20, whilst the other has outdoor summer temperatures of 117 degrees, enough to melt the asphalt, and air conditioning units capable of matching that same Russian minus 16.

The differences are big, so is the journey to and from these outback territories, but this is one voyage that PokerStars sponsored player Alex Kravchenko has made profitable for several years, stringing together some now predictable results.

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Alex Kravchenko

Alex has made a mark in Las Vegas many times, cashing twice in 2006 in both pot limit hold’em and Omaha, but 2007 marked the year everyone stood up and took notice, asking questions along the lines of ‘who was this guy?’

Seven cashes in total that year, including a bracelet in the Omaha hi/lo split 8 or better. Three of those other cashes were final table finishes, the most memorable being his fourth place finish in the main event - good for $1,852,721 and a near perfect finish to an incredible Series. Kravchenko was unstoppable.

Now based in the Russian capital Moscow, Alex has added two more cashes to his long tournament record, and has in the process overtaken his countrymen and fellow PokerStars sponsored player Kirill Gerasimov as the leading Russian money winner. His bracelet win last year made history, Alex being the first ever Russian bracelet winner in World Series of Poker history.

Flash forward to today and Alex is among that Day 2 mid-income group of players making steady progress, despite an early hit by a typically brutal pair of aces. He has close to 80K, while the tournament clock ticks down to the backdrop of “all-in and a call.”

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His jacket draped over his shoulder, black shades, elbows resting on the table, his fingers entwined in front of his face – this is a war face if you ever saw one. Alex makes little noise, a man of few words and not the type to leap up and down and throw chairs around the room in celebration – the type of player tournament directors warn before the start of play. Instead, his expression only changes when he gets involved in a hand – when he removed the headphones from his ears before returning them when he folds.

It’s still early in this World Series main event with several days of unpredictability to go. But if one player has a proven record for World Series predictability it’s Alex Kravchenko.