WSOP Main Event Day 1D: World Series of Kravchenko
I'll admit it. I've spent a lot of time on this job being unreasonably terrified of Alex Kravchenko. Let me explain. The Team PokerStars Pro is built like a Russian tank commander, has the steely expression of a Russian tank, and even though I've seen him laugh during a staring contest against Luca Pagano at EPT Kyiv last year, he looks capable of forcing someone to their knees simply by removing his aviator glasses.
That's all nonsense of course. The beauty of this game is that regardless of nationality everyone here speaks poker, albeit with slightly different dialects, and Kravchenko is no different. But there's a spring in the step of Kravchenko, who I stalked during the first break to ask about his World Series.
It's been another successful one for the Russian. So far he's recorded six cash finishes, three of them at final tables and most notably in the Pot-Limit Omaha Championship event, in which he finished eighth, earning $85,180.
A look down through his results is not unlike his record for last year - another six cashes - although this year's tally of $166,196 in prize money eclipses the $102,092 of 2009. Not only that but they're spread across the many varieties of poker, from hold'em and Omaha, to seven card stud and 2-7 Draw Lowball.
What's the secret?
"I think I'm just playing good," said Kravchenko. "I really think I have a good understanding of the tournament strategy. You know, playing a short stack, a little stack."
The proof of those good results is right there on his tournament record, and it's not just at the World Series where Kravchenko has come to life. Back in May he finished 13th in the WPT Paris and before that won a side event at EPT San Remo worth nearly $100,000.
Russia's highest earner at the World Series is proving himself to be among the best of any country, a fact he nailed to the mast in 2007 when he not only won his first bracelet - become the first Russian citizen to do so - but cashed six times, made four final tables and finished fourth in the Main Event, earning $1,852,721. Oh, and then he came fifth in the WSOP Europe HORSE event.
"I think I have a lot of experience through the years and it's bringing me good results."
That's one way of putting it. Another way would be to say that the World Series is the Kravchenko front room, and you sense that in this last event of the Series Kravchenko might not yet be finished.
QUALIFIER OF THE HOUR
Below you will find Michiel Sijpkens, the man we're assuming to be the Day 1B chip leader. The Dutch PokerStars qualifier who is sitting on around 170,000 right now.
TWEET OF THE HOUR
Vanessa Selbst: "Just want day to end. Have had AQ and AK 7 times bricked 6 and lost tptk to set. No big paurs or sets. Dunno how I'm afloat. 33k "
SELECTED CHIP COUNTS OF THE HOUR
Barry Greenstein: 51,000
Vanessa Rousso: 82,000
Jason Mercier: 99,300
DEALER QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"If I get called Paul Giametti one more time, I'm going to be sick." -- WSOP dealer Mike who, it must be said (over and over again) does look a little bit like the American Splendor actor.
VIDEO OF THE HOUR
Have some Vanessa Rousso: