It looks like poker in Ukraine could potentially be able to flourish once again right after the country's Ministry of Youth and Sport decided to re-classify the game as a sport, thus exempting it from the country's anti-gambling laws.
After four days of play and 13 hours of final-table action at the European Poker Tour Vienna Main Event, Oleksii Khoroshenin from Ukraine was the last man standing and received €578,392 in prize money and a SLYDE watch. In total, Khoroshenin overcame a field of 910 entries to become the champion. Well, not only the champion but also the tour's first Ukrainian champion!
EPT10 Vienna Main Event Date: March 2014 Buy-in: €5,300 Game: NLHE Main Event Players: 910 entries Prize pool: €4,413,500
When Oleksii Kovalchuk, who won the $2.5k buy-in No-Limit Hold'em event in 2011 for $689,739, entered the $2,500 buy-in Mixed Split - Seven-Card Stud/Omaha (Event #42), he had little hope that he would succeed. Mainly because he hadn't mastered the games or even understood them completely.
Yesterday, Arkadiy "Kamsky" Tsinis became the third Ukrainian-born bracelet winner at this year's World Series of Poker. This was Tsinis's first WSOP bracelet and the biggest win in his poker career. It remains a mystery why the Ukrainian poker players have been so successful at this year's WSOP - considering that they haven't won a single bracelet ever before. Now, suddenly - there are 3 WSOP champs!
Tsinis lives in Las Vegas these days, and he resided for many years in New York. And apart from being a fantastic poker player, Tsinis is a very good and successful Chess and Backgammon player as well. However, it's from poker that he has made his fortune. In total, he has cashed in 22 major tournaments and received $799,128. Expect to hear a lot more from Tsinis and other Ukrainian poker players in the near future!
The seventh season of the very popular European Tour has now started. The first stop was meant to be in Moscow, Russia. But a few weeks ago a new law was introduced in Russia which makes it illegal to organize live poker events in any part of the country. Due to this new law, the first tournament was moved to Kyiv in Ukraine.
Day 1a of the main event (€5000 buy-in) has already been played. The tournament attracted 129 players who received a fantastic welcome ceremony featuring a four-man drumming troupe and more than 50 Ukrainian folk dancers. PokerStars pros that played Day 1a were Alex Kravchenko and Luca Pagano. Kravchenko is through to day 2 with 45,450 in chips. Pagano got knocked out in the early stages of the tournament. A total of 93 players are through to Day 2, these many players made it through to day 2 because of the brand new EPT main event structure which gives each player a 30,000 starting stack. Chip leader after Day 1a is Mihaylo Demidenko from Ukraine with 145,125 chips.
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