Denys Shafikov Wins First-Ever WPT Russia

Denys Shafikov from Ukraine captured the WPT Russia title and the accompanying $255,259 top prize after dominating performance

Ukrainian poker player Denys Shafikov joined last night the exclusive club of WPT Main Event champs after coming through a 503-strong field to take down the WPT Russia RUB198,000 Main Event.

The player claimed approximately $255,259 in prize money and the tournament trophy. Shafikov was thus crowned the victor of the first-ever WPT Russia. The major poker series spent the first days of the year at Casino Sochi in the Russian city of Sochi, bringing quality poker action to one of Russia’s most popular poker destinations.

As mentioned above, the Main Event drew 503 entries who generated a prize pool of $1,358,200. It took seven days of action for the winner to be determined. The tournament was capped yesterday at the host casino with the six-handed final table.

Shafikov entered that concluding stage of the tournament as the chip leader and totally bulldozed his way through the final table to eventually capture the trophy and the accompanying top payout.

Shafikov held 5.335 million in chips at the start of the final day of play. He was well ahead of the remaining players, with Aleksey Gortikov being his closest competitor at the time with 3.36 million. Yauhen Kontush with 2.66 million rounded out top three of the pre-final table chip counts chart.

Mikhail Galitskiy with 1.98 million, Oleg Pavlyuchuk with 1 million, and Nikolay Fal with 785,000 were the other three players to make it into the finale.

Final Table Action

Shafikov had already built a solid advantage over his opponents by the start of the final table and he only extended the existing gap as action progressed during the last day of the tournament.

The player was responsible for three of the five final table eliminations, busting Galitskiy in 5th place and Fal in 4th place. Pavlyuchuk was the player to leave the tournament in 6th place early into Sunday action.

By the time the field was whittled down to just the final three, Shafikov had a controlling stack and dominated action. Kontush exited the race in third place to leave it to Shafikov and Gortikov to battle it out for the title and the first-place prize.

The two-handed match began with the eventual champion holding a massive advantage over his final opponent. However, Gortikov fought fiercely to narrow that gap and be able to attack the title. The duel lasted more than 60 hands during which chips swung back and forth, but Shafikov never really lost his foothold.

On what turned out to be the final hand in play, Shafikov raised from the button with pocket nines and Gortikov moved all in with [Ac][7c]. Shafikov called to see the board deliver [Ks][3h][2d][9s][4h] and earn him the title and the first-place prize. Gortikov had to settle for the $171,236 second-place prize.

From Russia all the way to Atlantic City, attention is now on the WPT Borgata Winter Poker Open and its $3,500 Main Event which kicked off on Sunday.

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