Monday, 25th September 2023 10:41
Home / Uncategorized / EPT Kyiv: Viktor Ivanov leads after day one

How to sum a day like day 1b… 166 players arrived, a figure changed to 167 when Gus Hansen showed up in the nick of time to play, before deciding to return tomorrow instead. When he changed his mind again and took his seat he became part of the bigger share of the combined day one field in Kyiv, which now stands at an official 296. Each of them played seven one hour levels amid indoor humidity and outdoor sunshine that remained tantalisingly out of reach save for those eliminated, and that afflicted 60 today. For those still standing those first breaths of dark night time air will be all the sweeter and their day one stories will be varied and meaty – let this summary be the bones. Excuse the gristle.

Watch EPT Kyiv S6: Day 1b Overview on

First among equals when he appears in any tournament field is Team PokerStars Pro Dario Minieri. The pocket-Italian created a crowd from out of nowhere as he took his seat, press and players abandoning prior responsibilities to stand and watch for a while.

What they saw was some trademark Minieri. If poker was an extreme sport his performance would have been the type to take years off his loved ones, bolting uncontrolled to more than 60,000 in the early stages before being reigned back to 30,000. Soon he was down to 8,000 and then… the inevitable.


Dario Minieri

Minieri burned twice as bright but survived only half as long, which coincidentally is exactly how you’d describe the electricity supply to the Palace of Sports today. A few levels into play the building was plunged into darkness, complete darkness given there are no windows in the tournament area, as a nearby construction site drilled/chopped/sawed/dynamited their way through nearby power lines. Forced into quick improvisation officials grabbed torches.


Not since British nurse Florence Nightingale tended patients in the Crimea a few hundred miles from here some 160 years ago has a solitary figure with a lamp been made to feel so welcome. Hands were completed one by one before the generator kicked into life. Dealers snapped back into action making up for lost time. It was plain sailing for some, needing no power source other than their own momentum to finish well.


Chip leader Viktor Ivanov

Russian Viktor Ivanov found himself on top of the pile thanks largely to a big hand with Nicolas Levi. Levi laid down a straight to Ivanov’s flopped full house which left him with a little more than 100,000. His domination continued though, closing the day on nearly 150,000.

Behind him was a bunch of rivals with the same idea. Anatoly Zharnitsky closed in 125,000 while Jason Kudron did the same with 118,100. Dragan Galic, who led almost from start to finish back in San Remo last season, bagged up a little more than 110,000. Alexander Rykov from the Ukraine bagged up 105,300 tonight while English hopes were kept alive by Andrew Feldman who ended the day on 100,000. Let’s not forget the feature player of the day in the PokerStars Blog Feature Seat – Michele Limongi, who occupied the seat all day, finished with 70,000.


Ivan Demidov

Ivan Demidov part slept-part powered* his way through seven levels, closing on 43,000 while fellow Team PokerStars Pro Katja Thater bagged up 16,000.


Deeb in the dark

PokerStars player Shaun Deeb transferred his online talents once more to the live scene, counting himself among those making waves early on with a crafty double up. He almost pressed his advantage even further, flopping an unlikely straight and calling an all in only for a runner-runner to provide the set back. Never discouraged Deeb fought back like a terrier, eliminating others who could only hope their departure was painless. Deeb finished on close to 59,000 and can now likely be found playing online somewhere keeping loose.

There’s always a dark side and that means eliminations, although with the new structure and 30,000 chips the casualty list hasn’t been as long as previous day ones.


Leo Fernandez

Aside from Minieri it was an all too brief day for Gus Hansen who stepped out of the darkness not long after arriving into it, running an already short stack into aces. Team PokerStars Pros Leo Fernandez joined them too, busting early along with Team PokerStars Italy’s Pierpaolo Fabretti.

The Team PokerStars local boy Vlad Zguba blazed his trail on home soil despite early setbacks, thriving on a tough table opposite the likes of Thater, Kabbaj and Tristan Clemencon, but busted before the close.


Local hero Vlad Zguba

Tomorrow things take another step forward as the two starting fields combine as one to continue a slow march to a payday yet to appear as even a smudge on the horizon.
You can catch up on all of the day’s action below by browsing any or all of links below. We recommend all. You can also find the chip counts, to be made official when the information is made available by tournament staff.

Introduction: Again with day one
Superstars arrive in Ukraine
Eric Turner: From Dallas, Texas… just
The Italian job
Lights out: Poker in the dark
Fun with Deeb: Watching the fun table
Uniting the nations
The wild wild east
Enter the Dragan

And the level by level:

Level 1
Level 2
Level 3
Level 4
Level 5
Level 6
Level 7

You can also find all sorts of mischief, at least as far as the alphabet is concerned, on our German and Russian blogs. Video blogs, as always, can be found at

Another day ends at the Palace of Sports. Until tomorrow.

All photography is (c) Neil Stoddart.


*he may not have slept.

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