We’ve got a small bonus for you. Tomorrow will have seven players coming back to fight for the title instead of just six.

This extra player came from a slowdown of eliminations late in the day. Tournament staff decided to finish the day at the end of level 28 regardless of if we hit the magic number. We didn’t. But while the short stacks refused to bust, the big stacks had no qualms about clashing with each other. But the player that kept coming out on top was Aresniy Karmatskiy.

Aresniy Karmatskiy

Karmatskiy started the day in the middle of the pack, but his stack took off early on when he won a flip to eliminate Mikhail Zavoloka in 14th place. Karmatskiy then kept rising, eliminated another player and started the unofficial final table with a massive lead. Karmatskiy was able to hold on to it and finished the day with 7.83 million.

Viktor Shegai, the closest contender, is in a distant second with 4.755 million. Check our chip count page to see how the rest of the final table stacks up. Can Karmatskiy keep his lead and finish things off with a victory tomorrow? Well, you’ll just have to come back at 12:30pm tomorrow to catch those updates. –AV

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12:40am: Play is done
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

That’s it, level 28 is done and we’re finished for the day.

12:30am: Kerzhakov applies pressure
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

It was an interesting line on the flop. Chip leader Arseniy Karmatskiy had opened and Ernest Shakoryan called on the button before Sergey Kerzhakov made it up from the big blind.

Karmatskiy K♣J♣
Shakoryan K♠J♣
Kerzhakov K♦7♣

Kerzhakov was a long way behind going into the 9♥2♦A♠ flop. He checked and Karmatskiy continued for 200,000, which Shakoryan floated. Kerzhakov then pushed up the price, making it 540,000 to go any further and he secured two folds, adding a nice pot to his stack. –LY

Sergey Kerhzakov chipping up late in the day

12:15am: Kovalyuk tries to sneak a double up
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Mikhail Kovalyuk hit a big hand and tried to go for a sneaky check-raise all-in on the turn.

Ernest Shakoryan started things off with an under-the-gun raise to 180,000 with A♣10♦. Viktor Shegai called from the button with a similar hand, A♥10♥, and Kovalyuk thought for a bit from the big blind before he called with K♦J♠. Kovalyuk paired his king on the 8♦7♣K♣ flop and all three players checked.

Then Kovalyuk hit another king when the K♠ came on the turn. Kovalyuk checked again and Shakoryan bet 275,000. Shegai quickly folded and Kovalyuk thought for a bit. Then he pushed his stack all-in and stood up.

It was a quick fold from Shakoryan after that and he dropped to 1.57 million while Kovalyuk chipped up to 1.92 million. –AV

12:00am: Martirosyan takes from Kovalyuk
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Just now we saw a hand play out between Mikhail Kovalyuk and Vahe Martirosyan. It involved an open from Kovalyuk in middle position with 4♣2♣ and Martirosyan called 4♦6♦ from the big blind.

The flop was 4♥7♠3♥ and Martirosyan checked to our preflop raiser, who bet 230,000. Martirosyan called.

The 2♥ turn made two pair for Martirosyan and he didn’t want to hang around, betting all-in for 1.7 million. It was enough to cover Kovalyuk who had 1.2 million. Kovalyuk couldn’t find a fold and Martirosyan moved up to the middle of the field with 2.6 million. Meanwhile, Kovalyuk dropped to about 15 big blinds and is sitting in sixth place. –LY

11:47pm: Schedule update
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

We were meant to play down to six players, but tournament staff have announced that play will stop at the end of this level even if we don’t hit that number.

11:41pm: Uncalled jams
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

There have been a few all-ins, but no calls.

Ernest Shakoryan was one jammer and then Andrey Kaigorotsev went all-in the following hand. In the first hand, Mikhail Kovalyuk raised to 250,000 from the cutoff and Shakoryan three-bet to 750,000 from the button.

Action folded back to Kovalyuk and he looked down at his 5♠5♦. Was it worth a call? Kovalyuk thought so. The flop came K♥A♦10♣ and Shakoryan, who had A♥J♣, moved all-in for 1.34 million. Kovalyuk snap-folded and was left with 1.81 million while Shakoryan chipped up to 3.03 million.

Action folded to Kaigorotsev the next hand and he moved all-in for 820,000 with J♠J♥. Most players folded quickly, but Vahe Martirosyan thought for a bit with A♣6♦ from the big blind. Martirosyan eventually folded and the short-stacked Kaigorotsev saw his stack grow to 1.01 million. –AV

Andrey Kaigorotsev is looking for a double up

11:26pm: Big stacks get tangled
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

With chip leader Arseniy Karmatskiy and second chip leader Viktor Shegai sat next to each other, they just found themselves in a blind vs blind scenario.

First, Shegai made up the small blind and Karmatskiy checked his option, taking them to the flop.


Both players connected and Shegai decided to lead 80,000 with second pair. Karmatskiy raised to 225,000 with top pair and Shegai came along.

The 4♣ turn gave Shegai a gutshot draw but Karmatskiy was still a long way in front. When checked to, Karmatskiy bet 375,000 this time, which Shegai check-called.

The 6♦ river brought the straight for Shegai and he quickly checked but he failed to get any further value with Karmatskiy checking back. Shegai has increased to 5.29 million after that hand, closing in a little on Karmatskiy who has 6.88 million in front. –LY

11:13pm: Mikhail Plakkhin eliminated in 8th place (2,580,000 ₽)
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

We had a big three-way all-in that ended in one elimination.

Mikhail Kovalyuk looked down at Q♠Q♣ from early position and he raised to 250,000. action folded to Sergey Kerzhakov on the button and he looked down at a better pocket pair, the best: A♥A♣. Kerzhakov moved all-in for 1.16 million and then Mikhail Plakkhin, who was down to just 485,000, found himself with K♦10♦ on the small blind. Plakkhin thought and thought hard. He eventually decided to call all-in and Kovalyuk called as well, putting both players at risk.

Plakkhin was left drawing dead by the turn of the 8♣9♦8♥4♥ board and Kerzhakov was able to dodge a queen. Plakkhin was eliminated in 8th place and won nearly $45,000. Kerzhakov, on the other hand, more than doubled to 2.96 million and Kovalyuk dropped to 2.74 million. –AV

Sergey Kerzhakov (left) took out Mikhail Plakkhin (right) with a well-timed pair of aces.

11:00pm: We’re back
Level 28 – Blinds 40,000/80,000 (ante 10,000)

Well, that was quick. Players are back and ready for some more EPT Sochi action.

10:50pm: Break

Players are now on a quick 10-minute break. Play will stop once we lose two more players.

10:45pm: Big stacks bump
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Mikhail Kovalyuk raised to 150,000 from under the gun and Viktor Shegai called from the small blind. Arseniy Karmatskiy went along as well and we had a three-way pot.

Action checked to Kovalyuk on the 8♦5♣J♠ flop and he bet 300,000. Shegai folded and action went heads-up between the big stacks. Karmatskiy called and a 2♠ came on the turn. Karmatskiy checked again and this time Kovalyuk checked behind. A 6♣ came on the river to give Karmatskiy a straight and he bet a hefty 780,000. Kovalyuk couldn’t find a call and let it go.

Karmatskiy’s lead grew to 7.68 million and Kovalyuk was left with 3.47 million. –AV

Aresniy Karmatskiy now has a massive lead

10:40pm: A difficult decision
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Mikhail Plakkhin is our shortest player with 665,000, or 11 big blinds and in the following hand, he was dealt in on the big blind.

Ernest Shakoryan opened to 150,000 with K♥10♥ and no one else wanted to play, putting the action on Plakkhin. He decided to peel 10♥9♠ and they went to the flop.

It came 5♥8♣7♦, giving Plakkhin the open-ended draw and overcards to the board. With 410,000 in the pot and 515,000 behind, Plakkhin preferred to check and Shakoryan continued for 200,000. Plakkhin seemed really unhappy with this spot and went into the tank for a few minutes, eventually deciding to pass. After that hand, he has less than nine big blinds and will need to get them in soon. –LY

10:30pm: Not everyone loves a chopped pot
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Things were looking good for Sergey Kerzhakov. He hit two-pair on the flop, moved all-in and got called by top pair. Then he improved to a full house on the turn, but the river came to chop things up and deny him the double up.

Arseniy Karmatskiy started that hand off with a raise to 125,000 from the hijack and Ernest Shakoryan called from the button. Kerzhakov called from the big blind and a 4♦8♠7♠ flop hit the board.

Shakoryan had top-pair with 9♦8♦ and he bet 200,000. Karmatskiy folded and Kerzhakov, who was holding top-two with 8♣7♦, raised all-in for 1.16 million. Shakoryan thought for a bit and then called. An 8♣ came on the turn to fill Kerzhakov up, but it also gave Shakoryan a set.

Kerzhakov needed to fade a nine on the river to avoid elimination, but it brought a 7♦ instead to chop the pot. A visibly disappointed Kerzhakov remained steady at 1.41 million while Shakoryan is still sitting with 2.12 million. –AV

10:15pm: Dmitriy Zhukov eliminated in 9th (2,040,000 ₽)
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

There have only been a couple of hands played since players all moved to the final table, but the last one saw an elimination that took us down to the official final table.

Ernest Shakoryan opened the betting to 150,000 with Q♠J♠ and Viktor Shegai peeked down at his cards and found A♠A♦. He opted to flat and now it was Dmitriy Zhukov’s chance to get involved. With just 14 big blinds in play, he found K♠K♥ in the hole and it must have looked like a dream scenario, little did he know that he was about to run into the ultimate cooler.

After a jam from Zhukov and a pass from Shakoryan, Shegai threw a chip in to confirm his call and Zhukov got to see for the first time just what bad shape he was in.

Zhukov managed a smile as the dealer laid out 9♥2♠7♠8♠Q♣ and he had to make do with a 9th place finish. Shegai added over 1 million to his stack, taking him up to 4.565 million. –LY

Aces over kings sends Dmitriy Zhukov packing

9:55pm: The unofficial final table
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

The break took a bit longer than expected, but our final nine are back for more poker. Here’s how they stack up:

Seat 1: Arseniy Karmatskiy – 7,385,000
Seat 2: Mikhail Kovalyuk – 4,060,000
Seat 3: Ernest Shakoryan – 1,610,000
Seat 4: Andrey Kaigorotsev – 1,450,000
Seat 5: Sergey Kerzhakov – 1,475,000
Seat 6: Mikhail Plakkhin – 695,000
Seat 7: Vahe Martirosyan – 2,695,000
Seat 8: Viktor Shegai – 3,400,000
Seat 9: Dmitriy Zhukov – 885,000

9:20pm: A bit more action before break
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

We had an all-in at the outer table just as players were getting ready to redraw to an unofficial final table. A short-stacked Andrey Kaigorotsev moved all-in for about 600,000 and Mikhail Plakkhin called.

Plakkhin showed A♥10♣ and the short stack had him dominated with A♠K♠. The board ran A♦J♣3♠2♠Q♦ and Kaigorotsev doubled up to 1.3 million. We’re now taking a short break as we redraw down to an unofficial final table. –AV

9:16pm: Sergey Pichugin eliminated in 10th place (1,674,000 ₽)
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Sergey Pichugin has been one of the shorter stacks for some time. He had 15 big blinds and was sat in the big blind, when action folded to Viktor Shegai in the small blind. Shegai promptly set his opponent all-in and there was no hesitation from Pichugin.

Shegai A♣Q♠
Pichugin A♠9♣

Shegai had the best of it as they headed to the flop and it came 10♦Q♦K♣, which left Pichugin in a whole lot of trouble, with a pair of queens for Shegai.

The turn was the 10♠ and Pichugin’s only hope was for a chop at this point, but the 6♠ didn’t get there for him.

It is a great result for Pichugin, our online qualifier, who has turned $11 into almost $30,650.

Short-handed play will end as players take a short break for the final seat draw before they all head over to the feature table. –LY

Viktor Shegai (left) with another ceremonial fist pump while Sergey Pichugin (right) is eliminated in 10th

9:05pm: Ivan Volodko eliminated in 11th place (1,674,000 ₽)
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Ivan Volodko raised to 175,000 from the cutoff and Mikhail Karmatskiy three-bet to 440,000 from the cutoff. Volodko thought, called and the flop came K♥4♣3♦. Both players checked and a 5♣ came on the turn.

Karmatskiy kicked the action back into gear and bet 385,000. Volodko then stood up and moved all-in. Karmatskiy snap-called and showed A♦A♥ while Volodko turned over J♣J♥. Volodko needed a jack on the river, but a 7♠ came instead.

Volodko finished 11th and won about $30,650 while Karmatskiy took a massive chip lead with nearly 7 million. –AV

Areseniy Karmatskiy saying goodbye to Ivan Volodko as he exits in 11th

8:50pm: Blind wars
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Over on the feature table, Sergey Kerzhakov and Mikhail Kovalyuk werein the blinds and action folded round to them. Kerzhakov opened from the small and Kovalyuk chose to defend in the big.

Kovalyuk 10♠8♦
Kerzhakov A♦3♦

The 8♣2♠2♥ flop saw a continuation bet from Kerzhakov to 105,000 and Kovalyuk, with top pair, opted to three-bet to 325,000. Kerzhakov didn’t want to let it go just yet and called him.

On the 5♦ turn, Kerzhakov check-called Kovalyuk’s 500,000 barrel and he needed an ace, four or bluff if he was to win this hand.

The 9♣ locked it up for Kovalyuk and it only remained to see if Kerzhakov wanted to try something tricky. Instead, we got two checks and Kovalyuk took the 2.04 million pot down, he’s now a whisker away from the 4 million mark. –LY

8:40pm: We’re back
Level 27 – Blinds 30,000/60,000 (ante 10,000)

Our well-fed players are back and ready to play down to a final table. Blinds are up, 11 players are left and we’ll be combining to one table once we get down to 9.

7:40pm: Double up for Korayluk takes us to 60 minute dinner break
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

A double up for Koralyuk to end the level.

After Sergey Kerzhakov opened for 125,000 with A♣9♦ in the cut off Mikhail Kovalyuk shoved for 1.4 million with A♥K♣. Ernest Shakoryan called with J♠J♦ for a race.

The board came A♠3♦2♦9♥7♥ to keep Koralyuk alive as players take a 60-minute dinner break. — SB

7:30pm: Big hand puts Kerzhakov into lead
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

A big hand between Sergey Kerzhakov and Mikhail Kovalyuk takes one out of top spot and replaces him with the other.

Kerzhakov opened from the small blind for 140,000 holding A♦Q♠ which Kovalyuk called in the big blind with J♥7♦.

On the 6♣8♠8♦ flop Kovalyuk began a series of bets that covered the flop, the 6♦ turn and the K♣ river, at which point he shoved for 1.7 million.

Kerzhakov didn’t know what had hit him and paused for a while, eventually calling with ace-high. It was a great call. One that puts him into the lead with more than 3 million. Kovalyuk meanwhile drops to 1.7 million. — SB

7:20pm: Volodky plays on
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Ivan Volodko gets a shove through against Aresniy Karmatskiy. It was for about 500,000, and with cards on the board, Karmatskiy took his time before folding.

7:10pm: Shegai flops a straight, up to 3 million
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Viktor Shegai is now second in chips with 3.04 million.

It was a hefty pot that started when Sergey Kerzhakov raised to 120,000 from under the gun. Mikhail Kovalyuk called from early position and Shegai did the same from the button. Dmitriy Zhukov called from the big blind and the four players went to the 8♠7♣4♣ flop.

Kerzhakov bet 200,000 when checked to and Kovalyuk called. Shegai raised it to 600,000 and only Kerzhakov called. A 10♣ came on the turn and Shegai moved all-in. Kerzhakov thought for a bit and then let his hand go. Shegai showed 6♠5♠ for the flopped straight and chipped up to 3 million while Kerzhakov dropped to 1.58 million. –AV

7:05pm: Gurgen Pipoyan eliminated in 12 place (1,506,000 ₽)
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Gurgen Pipoyan was down to about 700,000 and made his final move with A♥8♥/ Vahe Martirosyan called with a dominating A♣J♥ and both players paired their kicker on the 8♦4♥J♣ flop. An ace came on the turn to give them both two-pair, but Martirosyan’s was better.

Gurgen Pipoyan

Pipoyan won nearly $27,000 for finishing 12th and we’re now down to 11 players. – AV

7pm: A welcome river for Shegai
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

We started off three-handed preflop and it was Sergey Pichugin who started off the action. He opened to 115,000 from under the gun and got a button call from Mikhail Kovalyuk and a defend from Viktor Shegai in the big blind.

The flop came down 6♥3♣7♠ and it was a check apiece for the trio.

Onto the K♠ turn. Pichugin had hit top pair, whilst Shegai had picked up a nut flush draw. Pichugin delayed his continuation, setting 225,000 over the line and it pushed Kovalyuk off but not Shegai. He had a total of 730,000 left and he decided to shove. Pichugin only had to call 505,000 to win a 1.87 million pot and he decided the price was too good to fold, putting Shegai at risk.

The river was an A♥ and it saved Shegai from going home. He takes the pot and the unlucky river has left Pichugin with only 14 big blinds and in the danger zone. –LY

Viktor Shegai (left) celebrates with a traditional Russian fist pump after taking a pot off Sergey Pichugin (right)

6:50pm: Kovalyuk takes some back off Shakoryan
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Ernest Shakoryan and Mikhail Kovalyuk went at it again. Shakoryan raised to 100,000 from under the gun again, but this time he had Q♠Q♦. Kovalyuk called from the big blind with 9♥8♥ and hit an eight on the 8♠4♣3♣ flop.

Mikhail Kovalyuk in action earlier

Kovalyuk bet 225,000 and Shakoryan called, bringing a 6♥ on the turn. Kovalyuk bet 200,000 and a 9♠ completed the board after Shakoryan called. Kovalyuk hit two-pair and Shakoryan’s queens were defeated. Kovalyuk upped the bet to 400,000 and this time Shakoryan hesitated a bit before he called.

Kovalyuk showed his two-pair and chipped up to 3.82 million while Shakoryan dropped down to 1.85 million. –AV

6:45pm: Off to the races
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Over on table 2, we had an all-in situation. Ivan Volodko was flipping for his tournament life with 7♣7♥ against Mikhail Plakkhin’s ace-king offsuit.

Ivan Volodko

Plakkhin failed to connect with the board and he doubles Volodko up to 1.2 million. We still have 12 players left. –LY

6:40pm: Karmatskiy over 4 million
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Arseniy Karmatskiy has now crossed the 4 million mark. He bet 275,000 on the turn of an A♦4♠8♦2♣ board in the pot that put him over that threshold. Gurgen Pipoyan called and then both players checked the 9♣ on the river.

Pipoyan turned over 6♠6♦ and Karmatskiy tabled A♠10♠ for a pair of aces. Karmatskiy took down the pot and crossed the 4 million threshold. — AV

6:35pm: Shakoryan spikes a set, gets a big one off Kovalyuk
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Ernest Shakoryan looked down at 6♠6♦ from under the gun and raised to 100,000. Mikhail Kovalyuk called from the big blind with 9♦7♦.

The flop was an action-packed 5♦6♥A♦ and Shakoryan bet 150,000 when checked to. Kovalyuk called and a 2♥ came on the turn. Kovalyuk led out for 125,000 and Shakoryan called, bringing a J♣ on the river. Kovalyuk bet again, this time for 300,000.

Shakoryan responded with a raise to 800,000 and Kovalyuk laid it down. Kovalyuk was left with 2.76 million after the hand while Shakoryan chipped up to 2.7 million. –AV

6:30pm: Kerzhakov takes from Shakoryan
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Sergey Kerzhakov kicked things off with an early position bet of 115,000 with A♠10♠. Ernest Shakoryan was the only player who fancied getting involved and he flatted with 7♣5♣ on the button.

Ernest Shakoryan

On the Q♣7♦A♣ flop, it was top pair for our preflop aggressor and bottom pair with a flush draw for Shakoryan. Kerzhakov continued for another 115,000 and Shakoryan came along.

The K♦ turn kept Kerzhakov ahead. He opted to check this time and Shakoryan put in a bet of 225,000, which he check-called.

It was another king, the K♠ on the river and neither player put anything else in. The pot goes to Kerzhakov and he is playing with 2.34 million, whereas Shakoryan dips a little to 1.97 million, which is still about average stack. –LY

6:15pm: Petr Son out in 13th (1,506,000 ₽)
Level 26 – Blinds 25,000/50,000 (ante 5,000)

Petr Son came back from break with just a pair of big blinds. He got it in with K♠5♦ and Vaher Martirosyan called with Q♥4♠. Son doubled up after the board ran 8♥8♣6♥8♠9♦, but he couldn’t survive the second all-in.

Son got it in with Q♥J♣ moments after and Martirosyan called again, this time he showed 8♣8♥ for a flip. Son took over the lead on the turn of a K♠9♦K♣J♠ board, but then Martirosyan hit an 8♠ on the river. Martirosyan’s set of eights bumped his stack up to 1.4 million while Son won about $27,000 for finishing 13th. –AV

5:50pm: Break time

Players are taking a 20-minute break.

5:45pm: Shorty vs shorty
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

In the last hand before the break, we have seen tournament shorties Vage Martirosyan and Petr Son go head to head.

With 525,000 left, Martirosyan found Q♦J♦ and bet 500,000, leaving himself with 25,000 behind. So an almost all-in. It folded round to Son who held A♣K♦ and he didn’t isolate, instead electing to call and leaving 130,000 behind.

No one else wanted to get involved and the dealer laid out 5♥J♠5♠ on the flop. It was a pair for Martirosyan and he committed the last 25,000, which Son called.

The 6♦3♠ turn and river didn’t give Son the redraw he needed and he heads into the break with 105,000, which will be 2 big blinds once the levels increase. –LY

5:40pm: Shegai slumps, then rises
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Mikhail Kovalyuk and Viktor Shegai got it all-in on the turn of a 5♥J♦K♠8♠ board over on the outer table.

Shegai turned over top-two pair with K♥J♣, but Kovalyuk had a turned set of 8s with 8♣8♥. A 4♠ completed the board and Kovalyuk doubled to 3.8 million while Shegai was left with just about 500,000.

Then Shegai got those chips in a few moments later. Shegai got it in with A♣5♦ and Dmitriy Zhukov called with J♣J♠. The flop was a monotone 10♣8♣4♣ and Shegai then hit the nut flush when the 6♣ came on the river. Shegai doubled up to over a million and got put back in the game. –AV

5:35pm: Karmatskiy builds
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Tournament chip leader Arseniy Karmatskiy has just added another decent chunk to his already hefty stack.

Arseniy Karmatskiy

Gurgen Pipoyen limped blind v blind with K♥J♥ and Karmatskiy checked his option.


Pipoyan deferred to Karmatskiy who pushed 75,000 over the line. Pipoyan peeled and the dealer put out a 3♥ on the turn. It was a great card for Pipoyan who now had the flush draw and all the outs bar two were his. He checked again and Karmatskiy didn’t bet for a second time, meaning it was just the river to come.

It was a Q♦. Pipoyan checked again and Karmatskiy bet 275,000. Pipoyan thought about it for a while and called with his king high only to find he’d been rivered. It’s another half a million chips added to Karmatskiy’s stack and he pulls further ahead from the field. –LY

5:25pm: Premature celebration?
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

There was about 1 million in the pot on the river of a 3♥6♠10♠A♥Q♥ board and Viktor Shegai moved all-in for 1.1 million against Sergey Kerzhakov. Kerzhakov didn’t snap-call so Shegai stood up, fist-pumped and celebrated. Then he told everyone he was the best post-flop player in the game.

Viktor Shegai

Action was still on Kerzhakov though. The floor talked to Shegai and he said he was nervous and that’s why he stood up. Was he truly celebrating or was he bluffing? Shegai did something similar before. He pretended that he wanted to take a river bet back, but he was strong and putting on quite a performance.

Was this another act? We’ll never know, but Shegai did call the clock on Kerzhakov and he eventually folded. Shegai took down the pot and chipped up to over 2 million. –AV

5:10pm: Plakkhin pushes
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

We have just seen a big flop jam from Mikhail Plakkhin but first, let’s tell you what happened before that.

Mikhail Plakkhin

Andrey Kaigorotsev had opened 80,000 from under-the-gun and was three-bet by Plakkhin to 320,000 with 8♥8♣. Kaigorotsev was playing A♦K♣ out of 50 big blinds at the start of the hand and was the shorter stack of the two. He chose to flat in position and they went to the flop.


This is where it got interesting as Plakkhin opted to open jam for 1.74 million effective. Kaigorotsev passed pretty sharp, no doubt thinking he could find a better spot. This was a move we have seen from Plakkhin before today when he showed pocket kings upon securing a fold from his opponent. He chose to muck this time but Kaigorotsev will find out Plakkhin’s cards soon enough. –LY

4:55pm: Still slow, Zhukov still zipping up
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

It’s been 45 minutes since we lost a player and some of the shorties aren’t so short anymore. Dmitriy Zhukov just took down another pot with a set of deuces. He took it down on the river of a 5♦2♣3♠A♥8♦ board against Mikhail Kovalyuk, who mucked.

Zhukov is now closing in on an average stack with 1.6 million. –AV

4:45pm: Average stack
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Understandably all players seem to be taking their time with their decisions in hope of making that final table. Barely any hands on either table have made it to showdown and probably the deep-stacked play has something to do with it.

Currently, the average stack is 45 big blinds and the levels are 90 minutes, so there is still an awful lot of play left. –LY

4:35pm: Kaigorotsev gets a bit off Pipoyan
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

Payouts are getting big and action has slowed down accordingly. A few medium stacks are still taking jabs at each other though.

Andrey Kaigorotsev called from the small blind with A♥9♦ and Gurgen Pipoyan checked his option with 6♣4♥. Kaigorotsev then took a stab at it on the K♠9♠4♦ flop with a 65,000 bet and Pipoyan called. Both players then checked the 8♠ on the turn and a J♣ came on the river.

Andrey Kaigorotsev

Kaigorotsev threw out another bet worth 60,000 and Pipoyan thought for a bit before calling with bottom pair. Kaigorotsev took down the pot and inched past Pipoyan’s 1.83 million with 1.92 million. –AV

4:25pm: Zhukov on the up
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

There have been no big hands on our feature table since players started Level 25, but we have just seen an all-in and a call over on the outer table.

Mikhail Kovalyuk and Dmitriy Zhukov were on a 7♦6♠6♥ flop and Kovalyuk bet 180,000 into Zhukov, who called.

The turn was a K♦ and Kovalyuk asked for a count before setting Zhukov all-in. He was snapped off and they turned their cards on their backs.

Zhukov 7♠7♣
Kovalyuk K♥10♥

It was full house vs two-pair and Zhukov needed to dodge two cards to secure himself a double up. It was a 9♦ river and the pot went to Zhukov. Not bad at all for someone who was down to three big blinds not long ago. That pot put him back in the mix. –LY

Dmitriy Zhukov happy to be on the rise

4:10pm: We’re back
Level 25 – Blinds 20,000/40,000 (ante 5,000)

We’re back from break folks and it’s now level 25. The blinds 20,000/40,000 blinds with a 5,000 ante and only 13 players remain. Sergey Kerzhakov is in the lead with 3.22 million, Mikhail Plakkhin is in 2nd with 2.995 million and both Arseniy Karmatskiy and Ernest Shakoryan are tied for 3rd with 2.925 million.

3:50pm: Break

Our final 13 players are now on a 20-minute break. Stay tuned for more action from EPT Sochi.

3:40pm: Mikhail Zavoloka eliminated in 14th place (1,356,000 ₽)
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

We’ve lost another one, our first elimination at the feature table.

Arseniy Karmatskiy started the hand off with raise to 60,000 from the button. Mikhail Zavoloka, who was down to just 635,000, moved all-in from the button. Action folded back Karmatskiy and he quickly called.

Zavoloka turned over A♠Q♥ and was flipping for his tournament life against Karmatskiy’s 8♠8♦. Zavoloka was hoping for an ace or a queen, but the 5♣J♠7♣7♠10♣ board brought none.

Zavoloka won nearly $25,000 for his 14th place finish while Karmatskiy is closing in on the chip lead with 2.93 million. –AV

A rough level 24 ended Mikhail Zavoloka’s run

3:30pm: Zhukov on rollercoaster
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Dmitriy Zhukov was down to just 12 big blinds after losing a large pot recently. A few hands later he found A♦K♠ in the hole and he shipped the last 330,000 in and was called by Ivan Volodko with 7♦6♦.

The flop came down 8♠J♥A♣ and it was a lovely flop for Zhukov, giving his opponent only running cards to win.

The 5♦ turn was not one of the many cards that would leave Volodko drawing dead, and Zhukov didn’t enjoy the sweat, standing up out of his seat in anticipation of the river.

Fortunately for him, the river was a brick and he stays in the game with a much healthier 700,000 or so. –LY

3:20pm: Kings no good again, Pipoyan doubles with deuces
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

It was a tough beat for Mikhail Zavoloka.

He found himself with K♠K♣ on the big blind and Gurgen Pipoyan had just raised from the button for 90,000 with 2♠2♦. Zavoloka three-bet and Pipoyan moved all-in. Zavoloka snap-called and was a heavy favorite with pocket kings against Pipoyan’s pocket deuces.

The 9♦7♣Q♠ flop was devoid of any deuces, but then a 2♥ came on the turn to put Pipoyan in the lead. Now it was Zavoloka who needed a two-outer, but the J♥ on the river wasn’t one of them.

Zavoloka dropped to 865,000 while Pipoyan chipped up to 2.12 million. –AV

The third deuce made Gurgen Pipoyan very happy

3:15pm: Taking down kings with ace-deuce
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Mikhail Plakkhin looked over his giant stack to see a pretty big pair, K♦K♣. He raised to 60,000 from the hijack and Gurgen Pipoyan called from the small blind with 10♠8♠. Arseniy Karmatskiy was sitting on the big blind and decided to go along with A♣2♠.

The flop came A♠4♦Q♦ and Plakkhin continued for 150,000. Pipoyan folded, Karmatskiy called. Another ace, the A♦, came on the turn and Plakkhin slowed to a check. Karmatskiy checked back with trip aces and a J♣ completed the board. This time Karmatskiy bet 225,000 and a reluctant-looking Plakkhin called.

Karmatskiy took it down and chipped up with 1.5 million while Plakkhin’s lead took a hit to 3.02 million. –AV

3:05pm: Full house vs full house
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Our chip leader Mikhail Plakkhin opened to 80,000 on the cutoff and got calls from both blinds, Andrey Kaigorotsev in the small and Gurgen Pipoyan defending in the big.

Plakkhin A♥8♦
Kaigorotsev J♦10♦
Pipoyan 5♦5♣

The flop brought down Q♣Q♥7♦ and there was no betting from any of our players.

Onto the turn then, and it was a J♣. Kaigorotsev lead 60,000, having paired his jack and Pipoyan decided to up it, making it 160,000 total. This got Plakkhin out the way, but Kaigorotsev called and they went to the river.

The final card was a Q♦, giving both players a full house, but Kaigorotsev the better of the two. Kaigorotsev checked and Pipoyan had had enough, checking it back. Kaigorotsev has netted 350,000 chips. –LY

2:55pm: Big pocket pair for Zovoloka, big decision for Martirosyan
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

Mikhail Zavoloka looked down at A♠A♥ from the hijack and raised it up to 70,000. Vahe Martirosyan, unaware, three-bet to 195,000 from the cutoff with K♥Q♦.

Shove, call or raise?

Zavoloka thought for a bit and went for four-bet to 395,000. Martirosyan had 780,000 behind and it was his turn to think. He did that for four minutes and finally decided to fold. Martirosyan was left with 750,000 while the pot put Zovoloka up to 1.92 million. –AV

2:40pm: Outer table update
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

We have just seen a huge cooler take place over on table 2.

The long and short of it is that Pichugin flopped a bottom set of sixes on a king-six-ace flop versus Vasily Yarkov’s top two-pair with ace-king. All the money went in on the flop and there was no ace or king on the turn or river, so we lose Yarkov in 15th place.

That means we have just 14 players left in contention to win the EPT Sochi Main Event. –LY

2:20pm: Sihao Zhang eliminated in 16th place (1,206,000 ₽)
Level 24 – Blinds 15,000/30,000 (ante 5,000)

We have our first elimination of the day.

Sihao Zhang started the day second in chips but saw a steady decline in the first level of the day. He came back to level 24 with about 1 million chips and got them all-in against Ernest Shakoryan on a K♠7♠10♣ flop.

Sihao Zhang

Zhang was in the lead with K♣Q♣ and a pair kings while Shakoryan showed a flush and straight draw with A♠J♠. Shakoryan had plenty of outs, but the 6♣ on the turn wasn’t one of them. The Q♥ on the river was though and Shakoryan took down the pot.

Zhang was eliminated in 16th place and won approximately $22,000 while Shakoryan chipped up to about 2 million. –AV

1:50pm: Break time

It’s break time in the Main Event. Play resumes in 20 minutes.

1:45pm: Shegai gets involved again
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Arseniy Karmatskiy found A♥K♦ in middle position and raised to 50,000. He was called by Viktor Shegai who had position and K♥10♦. Petr Son joined them from the big blind with Q♣8♠.


It was an action-heavy board and two of our players had hit a pair. Karmatskiy wasn’t one of them but with overs, a gutshot for broadway and backdoor diamonds, he decided to continue for 85,000 when Son checked. Shegai came along and this gave Son a good price (and the best hand at this point) and he called too.

The river paired with the 10♥ and Shegai was now in the lead. Son checked, Karmatskiy elected to do the same and Shegai bet 235,000 into a 449,000 pot. Son called but it was enough for Karmatskiy to get out of the way and Son was only drawing to two queens as they went to the river.

The 5♣ gave Shegai a full house. Son checked for the last time and Shegai opted to go for a very small sizing of 200,000 into 919,000. It seemed too cheap to fold for Son and he made the call but his two-pair wasn’t enough and Shegai has boosted up to 1.8 million after winning the 1.319 million pot.

Play is now wrapping up for the first break. –LY

1:35pm: Pushing off a chopped pot
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Does everyone love a chopped pot? We’re not so sure.

It’s definitely not true if you get pushed off the pot before you could chop it. That’s what happened to Andrey Kaigorotsev, who’s now aware that he missed out on a chopped pot against Gurgen Pipoyan.

Kaigorotsev started that hand off with a raise to 55,000 from early position with A♣J♣ and Pipoyan called from middle position with A♣J♥. Mikhail Plakkhin was on the big blind with a big stack and decided to call with 10♥6♦.

The flop came down 7♠Q♠7♦ and Kaigorotsev took a shot at it for 60,000. Pipoyan called, Plakkhin folded and a 2♥ came on the turn. Kaigorotsev checked and this time Pipoyan fired 90,000. They were holding the same hand and would chop at a showdown, but it Kaigorotsev couldn’t find a call.

Kaigorotsev dipped to 1.9 million while the pot put Pipoyan up to 1.25 million. – AV

1:20pm: Pipoyan and Shegai battle it out
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Viktor Shegai has been getting involved in a few pots, generally calling preflop opens in position. This was one such time. Shegai peeled Gurgen Pipoyan’s under-the-gun 56,000 open from the hijack.

Pipoyan 3♥3♣
Shegai J♠10♣

The flop brought out 3♦5♥4♣ and it was bottom set for Pipoyan, whilst Shegai failed to connect at all. Pipoyan continued for 75,000 and Shegai wasn’t done there, pumping it up to 180,000. Pipoyan just flatted the three-bet and they headed on to the turn.

It was a 2♠ and Pipoyan checked. With two one card straight possibilities, it was an interesting spot for both of our players. Pipoyan checked and Shegai barrelled for another 180,000 and he was smooth called by Pipoyan.

Viktor Shegai

The river was an A♣ for a straight on the board. Pipoyan wasted no time going all-in. The bet was 677,000 and Shegai had 682,000 left, with the pair playing for stacks. After much deliberation, Shegai made the call, despite risking his tournament life to do so. Pipoyan seemed surprised at the call but whatever he feels, there is only one thing to do now…chop it up. –LY

12:55pm: Pipoyan pops two pair
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

In the second hand of the day, Viktor Shegai raised to 55,000 from early position and got called by Mikhail Plakkhin on the cutoff and Gurgen Pipoyan on the big blind.

Shegai bet 82,000 on the 10♥2♥6♠ flop and Plakkhin called. Pipoyan raised it up to 175,000 and Shegai called while Plakkhin let it go.

A 5♣ came on the turn and Pipoyan moved all-in for 517,000 with his turned two-pair. Shegai thought for a bit but went for the fold. King-high just couldn’t cut it. Pipoyan chipped up to 1.16 million while Shegai dropped to 750,000. –AV

12:45pm: Early double for Shakoryan
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Then there was a double up at the outer table. Ernest Shakoryan moved all-in with A♦K♦ and Sihao Zhang A♣Q♣. The board ran J♠J♣6♥J♥8♣ and he doubled up to 1.1 million while Zhang dropped to 1.7 million. –AV

12:35pm: Play starts
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Play has now started on the stream.

12:15pm: 30-minute delay
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

Our live updates today will be from the live stream, which means a 30-minute delay. You watch the live coverage on any of three channels listed below.

PokerStars YouTube
PokerStars Twitch

12pm: Day 5 about to begin
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

The plan for today is to play down to six players. We’re about to get started with 72 minutes remaining on the level.

11:45pm: Day 5 about to begin
Level 23 – Blinds 12,000/24,000 (ante 4,000)

We’re back for Day 5. Here are the starting chip counts.

Name Country Chip count
Mikhail Plakkhin Russia 3,046,000
Sihao Zhang Luxembourg 2,193,000
Andrey Kaigorotsev Russia 1,880,000
Petr Son Uzbekistan 1,680,000
Sergey Pichugin Russia 1,615,000
Vasily Yarkov Russia 1,602,000
Ivan Volodko Russia 1,528,000
Arseniy Karmatskiy Russia 1,479,000
Mikhail Zavoloka Russia 1,419,000
Dmitriy Zhukov Russia 1,392,000
Sergey Kerzhakov Russia 1,344,000
Viktor Shegai Russia 1,296,000
Vahe Martirosyan Armenia 1,034,000
Mikhail Kovalyuk Russia 832,000
Gurgen Pipoyan Russia 755,000
Ernest Shakoryan Russia 554,000

Live reportin team in Sochi: Alex Villegas, Lisa Yiasemides, and Stephen Bartley. Photography by Neil Stoddart.


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