Ladies and gentlemen, we have a live one. Artem Litvinov, who we yesterday compared to Illya Kuryakin, is up to 900,000 after making a call for the majority of his chips with A♠7♠. It wasn’t the hand but the manner of celebration that left both spectators and the majority of his table looking confused, bemused, flummoxed and, if truth be told, a little concerned.
The Russian had opened the button for 55,000 and Yoni Journo had moved all-in from the small blind for around 350,000, which accounted for well over half of Litvinov’s 550,000 stack. He didn’t snap-call, nor did he snap-fold but as the time wore on it seemed more likely than not that he’d muck his hand. Head resting on his left hand, knuckles semi-jammed up his nostrils, Litvinov stared down at his stack. Journo seemed to relax a little, prematurely believing that his shove had got through. It didn’t.
Litvinov stood up, let out a deep breath and said: “I call.”
Litvinov hit the 8♠A♦K♥ flop running but Journo was far from dead and buried with five key outs. None of them came as the 8♣ turn and 9♦ river were flipped over.
“Come on!” shouted Litvinov, quickly shaking hands with Journo before tearing off to two symmetrically placed chairs a few yards away. The chairs were positioned five feet apart, both facing inwards. Litvinov put a foot on each and stretched his legs out like a jaundiced Jean Claude Van Damme. If it was painful Litvinov didn’t show it. The adrenaline obviously had not yet run its course. He prised himself off the chairs and moved a further table away where he started shadow boxing some redundant table markers. His iPod fell out his pocket, somewhat diminishing the final kung-fu flourish, which he collected up into a bundle and stuck into his pocket before returning to the table having missed the next hand. Litvinov apologised for his excitement as if the show was unavoidable. This is the Russian’s third EPT main event cash and by far his deepest run beating a 51st and 87th place finishes. Part of me wants Litvinov to win now, just to win what his reaction will be. Perhaps he’ll try to karate chop through the middle of the final table.
News just through that we are now down to the final 24 players. Full wrap and chip counts to come.