EPT Sochi’s Main Event, from deadly start to all Russian final

Jon Pill
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Posted on: October 12, 2020 10:03 pm EDT

The EPT Sochi Main Event crowned the completely unknown player Ruslan Bogdanov as champion yesterday. Bogdanov had never cashed in a live tournament on the Hendon Mob database before. His very first time at a final table left him ₽15,984,500 ($200,000) richer. Beginner’s luck worked its magic.

To take that prize down, he had to beat Viktor Tkachenko in a heads up duel after the pair had cut a deal for the majority of the heads up prize pool. Tkachenko had just one previous cash to his name — a few hundred bucks won at the GromPoker Ukraine Open event in Odesa.

“I watched poker streams and it led me to deposit on PokerStars where I qualified via a satellite,” Tkachenko told interviewers after the final table had come to a close. 

Bogdanov, on the other hand, was a little more coy about his previous experience. He put his victory down the idea that “everything went well” at the final table, and that “the key moments were often in [his] favor.”

A bit of good luck at the right time then.

From the southern seas to the polar caps

Bogdanov is just the fifth EPT main event champ to hail from the Russian Federation. He joins the previous Russian winners: Vladimir Geshkenbein, Andrey Pateychuk, Maxim Lykov, and Arseniy Karmatskiy.

Players came from all over Europe to compete, but the final table was an all Russian affair.

This championship got off to a rocky start. A reported fatality occurred on day one. Much commentary centered on the fact that staff had to wear masks, but players did not. But it wasn’t COVID that provided the risk factor here.

TwoPlusTwo user “DiversantSS” reported that an unidentified man “became ill, he later died […] According to the doctor, who was on the spot after about 5 minutes – it was a blood clot, there was no way to help him, even if help came instantly. The game was stopped, everyone was taken out of the hall. An ambulance and investigative bodies worked. After about an hour, those who could be transferred to another hall, the rest continued to play after 3-4 hours.”

Just a little bad luck at the wrong time then.

Bogdanov v Tkachenko

After that very Russian reminder of mortality, the tournament moved slowly back to a more routine rhythm. At the end of the three Day One flights, there were 637 entries.  This made for a 98,722,260 ($1,263,005) prize pool.

Players were allowed one rebuy per flight and started with 30,000 in chips. Blinds started at 100/100. By the time the tourney ended, the 19 million or so in chips was heaped up in front of Bogdanov.

The final hand saw Bogdanov pick up pocket sixes and limp on the button.

Short stacked, Tkachenko shoved from the big blind with J-9 off-suit. The board missed both of them utterly and Bogdanov took the trophy with his pair.

Featured Image Source: Twitter