He had committed just €82 to the EPT10 Deauville Main Event, did Rustem Muratov, earning his way to northern France after satelliting via PokerStars.
One of 671 to start the tournament, Muratov wasn’t necessarily a favorite to last the entire week to today’s final table. He’d never played an EPT before, and in fact the electrical equipment distributor had only played three live tourneys, period, with a career-high cash — $2,356 for a tourney in Cyprus last month — less than half what those who paid full price to enter had laid out.
The value-seeking Russian from Tatarstan chose to participate in a game within the game, the Skrill Last Longer contest for which the winner would get back the €5,300 entry, which in Muratov’s case would almost wholly represent a profit.
But of the 57 other Last Longer participants — among them Dmitri Holdeew who won the Skrill Last Longer at EPT10 Prague and was one of the final nine left in the hunt for that prize here — Muratov probably wouldn’t have earned much action from those betting on a winner.
But by the time Saturday arrived, Muratov had defied both sets of odds, both making the final table and outlasting all of those other Skrill-seekers.
And by taking things a couple of steps further to a sixth-place finish, Muratov earned a nifty double payday with the €5,300 from Skrill and €128,200 from the prize pool.
Muratov’s end came anticlimactically after a preflop all-in battle versus the Brit Oliver Price whose stack was but 10,000 less than the Russian’s. Muratov’s pocket fives failed to improve against Oliver’s two queens, making the fact that he’d be dealt two cowboys on the next hand to double-up a bit of a needle.
The next hand saw Price claim the last of Muratov’s stack, ending his run. But Muratov had already earlier expressed understandable satisfaction for how his week had gone.
“I’m already very happy,” he’d said before, noting how his “best result before now was winning the seat for this event.” Describing Deauville as “like a fairy tale place (apart from the race),” there was certainly something magical about the novice player’s run.
With a 20th wedding anniversary approaching and three children including a nine-month old son, Muratov will certainly be putting his winnings to good use.
Five remain in Deauville, with Sotirios Koutoupas still in command and Harry Law starting to build a challenging stack.
Follow our coverage of the Main Event at EPT Deauville by heading to the main EPT Deauville page. There’s hand-by-hand coverage in the top panel, plus chip counts, and feature pieces below. Follow the High Roller on the High Roller page. EPT Live is also on, so tune in there for a close-up view of the action.
Martin Harris is Freelance Contributor to the PokerStars Blog.