Astonishing WPT Russia Main Event champ is just nineteen

Jon Pill
Posted on: March 08, 2021 05:01 PST

The World Poker Tour Russia crowned a new WPT champ last week.

Maksim Sekretarev took down the event for a ₽11,996,600 (~$160,000) payday. If he wants to play in the tournament of champions on U.S. soil though, he'll have to wait a couple of years, as Sekretarev is just 19 years old.

He's no stranger to the Casino Sochi though. Since February 2020, he has racked up about a dozen cashes at that venue, and only at that venue. However, this is his only first place finish, and by far his biggest win. His previous largest cash before this was for ₽287,700 (~$3,750).

251 players entered the WPT Russia Main Event, making for an overall prize pool of $726,832 by the WPT's own currency conversion rates. Sekretarev joined the last flight on Day 1c, but tore through the field. He was the second-place chip leader going into Day 2.

Run it up

By the end of Day 3, when the TV final table was decided, he had turned that into the absolute chip lead.

It wasn't a smooth ride to the top. At one point he was all in for his tournament life. But the cards fell his way and he rocketed back up the leaderboards. When the final table bubble broke, Sekretarev found himself facing a group that was largely made up of locals like himself.

Only Vladimir Bozinovic wasn't from Russia. He had flown in from Serbia.

It was Bozinovic who had the only large stack at the start of Day 2. And Boznovic was the only player at the table who had done this all before. He was the WPT Baden's 2013 champion and he was hungry for some more WPT silverware for his cutlery drawer.

And now Bozinovic stood between Sekretarev and his first title.

Final fantasy

The final table ran for three and a half hours. Only five hands of that were heads up. The majority was a brutal power struggle between Bozinovic and Sekretarev.

However, with four players left, the hammer fell on the rivalry. Bozinovic shoved with a crippled stack and king-jack off-suit. Sekretarev called with a dominated king-rag. The board ran out four cards to a wheel and Sekretarev's rag filled the straight up. Bozinovic went out in fourth.

For a time, in three-handed play, Sekretarev was the shortest stack at the table. But it didn't last. He knocked out Ravil Khamatgareev in third place and then it was Andrey Volkov's turn.

Volkov seemed to harbor no animosity once the dust had settled on the empty patch of felt where his stack had been. "Before the final six, I would have been happy to just ladder up to fourth place," he said. "So finishing second is an amazing result."

Volkov took home ₽7,998,200 (~$110,000) for his troubles.

In mother Russia, poker plays you.

Final table results

1st - Maksim Sekretarev - ₽11,996,600 (~$160,000)
2nd - Andrey Volkov - ₽7,998,200 (~$110,000)
3rd - Ravil Khamatgareev - ₽5,840,450 (~$80,000)
4th - Vladimir Bozinovic - ₽4,325,650 (~$60,000)
5th - Vanush Mnatsakanyan - ₽3,249,750 (~$45,000)
6th - Sergey Bobrik - ₽2,477,300 (~$35,000)

Featured image source: Flickr