It would be fair to say poker in Russia is experiencing something of a boom right now. The PokerStars Russian Poker Tour, which began in January, ended last month in Moscow with a packed field – and final table made up of local players only.
That event was won by Vitaly Lunkin, who just a few weeks ago went on to bag the WSOP $40,000 No Limit, and now Team PokerStars Pro Alex Kravchenko is looking to win another bracelet for Russia in the $5,000 Pot Limit Omaha Hi-Low 8 or better.
You will remember he came close to the big one two years ago, when he finished fourth in the Main Event for more thsn $1.8 million (a feat bettered by fellow Russian Ivan Demidov last year, who finished second for $5.8 million).
Now the Russian flags will be flying in the Amazon room again for Kravchenko’s latest run at a title. He already has a bracelet after winning the $1,500 version of the fixed limit PLO hi-low in 2007 for $228,000, so knows exactly what to expect.
But he has a table packed with talent to contend with, including Roland de Wolfe, Andy Black and Anthony Lellouche, the latter looking to grab France’s first bracelet of the WSOP this year.
Kravchenko sits down at 2pm local time with 267,000 chips, comfortable enough but some way behind leader Scott Clements on 801,000. It could have been a lot different late last night, when during the final table bubble period Kravchenko secured a key double up to propel him to the final table when his A-A-4-6 held to scoop the pot from Armando Ruiz.
Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu had been looking good in this event for much of day two yesterday, but fell short of the money.
Congratulations to the three Team PokerStars Pros who cashed in the $1,500 Limit Hold’em yesterday: Noah Boeken ($5,995), Victor Ramdin ($3,405) and Barry Greenstein ($3,405), and to Friend of PokerStars Bill Chen ($4,871).