One tour ends, another carries on, as PokerStars reports from The Russian capital...
If you happened to be a patriotic Russian looking to support a local player at a big poker tournament, then Moscow yesterday was the place to be. All nine players at the successful PokerStars Russian Poker Tour final table in Moscow were from the home country. And two of them - Ivan Demidov and Alex Kravchenko - were Team PokerStars Pros. Even their experience, both being previous World Series of Poker Main Event final tablists, was not enough to take down this event. Instead, that went to Vitaly Lunkin, a former backgammon player.
His win, good for 14,323,000 roubles - that's about $445,000 - was no fluke: he has a pedigree of his own having won a WSOP bracelet last summer in the $1,500 no limit hold'em event. And he used his undoubted talents to go from second last in chips yesterday to champion of the $7,000 buy-in RPT Moscow.
Final table play started tightly, but then the first elimination was Evgeny Onishuk. He raised from middle position with 7♠ 6♠ and was re-raised by Demidov from the button. Onishuk called and they say a flop of 9-7-4, giving Onishuk middle pair. He check called Demidov's 70,000 bet but the Team Pro had a pair of kings and the four turn and six river changed nothing.
Eighth place went to Kravchenko who had moved all in against four opponents, trying to collect some easy chips. Three of them folded, but Vitaly Lunkin decided to look him up, perhaps not surprisingly as he had J♣J♥ - enough against the Team Pro's 7♠4♥.
Next out was Dmitry Vitkind, who pushed with A♣7♥ but ran into Lunkin's A♠9♠. The board of T♦5♦6♦9♦3♣ doing the damage. Demidov went in sixth, first losing a big pot to Alexander Khoustov and then leaving when his A♣7♦ failed to overtake Sergey Artamonov's pocket nines.
At this stage players took a 30-minute break, and then it took a full two hours before the fifth place was determined when Artamonov was busted by Lunkin when his T♣T♥ failed to hold against A♥J♠. Lunkin was at it again soon after, knocking out Oleg Shamardin, who had held the chip lead earlier in the tournament. Lunkin's Q♦Q♣ was too good for Shamardin's A♣5♣.
It took another hour to lose the third-place finisher, Khaustov, who moved all-in with A♠6♠ and was called - not surprisingly - by Lunkin who had 9♣9♦.
Tournament Director Thomas Kremser introduced the final two to the audience, and with blinds at 20,000-40,000 it was always going to be a brief heads-up seeing as Lunkin had 2,790,000 chips to Vyacheslav Goryachev's 310,000. Indeed, just minutes later Goryachev moved all-in with A♦6♣ and was called by Lunkin who once again found a hand at the right time with pocket tens. The board came Q♦8♦6♥4♣8♠ and Vitaly Lunkin became Champion of RPT Moscow.
Final table payouts (in rubles):
1. Vitaly Lunkin, 14,323,000
2. Vyacheslav Goryachev, 7,877,000
3. Alexander Khoustov, 4,028,000
4. Oleg Shamardin, 3,133,000
5. Sergey Artamonov, 2,685,000
6. Ivan Demidov, Team PokerStars Pro 2,238,000
7. Dmitry Vitkind, 1,790,000
8. Alex Kravchenko, Team PokerStars Pro, 1,342,000
9. Evgeny Onishuk, 895,000