The EPT Open Sochi 2021 series ended this week. Despite the long live poker events break and the remaining COVID-19 restrictions, it became the biggest and most successful of those held under this brand.
For the first time ever, a player from Russia became the Main Event winner:
Evgeniy Starinkov took first place at the EPT Open Sochi Main Event and earned ₽16,029,300 ($222,519).
Before that, the biggest live event achievement for the Russian was 4th place in the High Roller event at the March series, when he won $44,152. Still, online poker is more familiar to Evgeniy. He won the Main Event packages at PokerStars several times! The first ones were exchanged for cash due to the series' cancellation, but the last of them brought the player a major victory.
Final day of the ME
A total of 10 players participated on the final day of the Main Event. Initially, there was a very high probability that the trophy would leave Russia again: players from Germany- Henri Toussaint and Konstantin Faerber occupied the first and third places in the chip count standings. When only 5 players remained, they decided to make a deal. According to it, $92,870 was left in the game to be shared between the top 3 players. And even at that moment, Henri had a stack almost twice as large as his closest rival.
He reached heads-up against the Russian with the similar advantage, and in one of the limp-pot hands, Toussaint even showed a royal flush! But Evgeniy doubled his stack when he went all-in on the 44Q flop with KK against Q2 and then managed to outplay his opponent.
In the end, Henri went all-in with Doyle Brunson's hand (T2s) and lost to Starinkov's A3s. The German didn't win the trophy but received the largest ME payout of ₽16,450,000 ($228,359).
All of the EPT Open Sochi 2021 events have attracted way more participants than any similar events of this brand series since 2018:
- The Main Event gathered more than a thousand entries (1,210) and even surpassed the similar 2019 Madrid event. A total of 32 out of the 175 ITM finishers were not from Russia. The longest journey was made by Yoshihito Shijima from Japan, who took 70th place. By the way, he also managed to get in the money in five other events.
- The ₽257,000 ($3,568) buy-in High Roller event almost break the mark of two hundred entries (195) and became the biggest tournament of this type in Sochi since 2017. The first place was taken by the Belarusian player Vadim Lipovka (₽10,082,800 / $139,970).
- The EPT Cup attracted 867 entries, compared to 559 back in 2019. It was won by Agharazi Babayev from Azerbaijan, who pocketed ₽1,810,200 ($25,130).
- Non-Russian players have won 2 more of the other 14 events: Event #2 - Andrey Danilyuk (Ukraine) ₽491,820 / $6,827; Event #12 - Rui Bouquet (Portugal) ₽933,560 / $12,960. Both of them were Omaha events.
PokerStars have already announced two EPT series for the next six months:
- December 2021 - Prague (69 events);
- March 2022 - Sochi (the schedule is not available yet).
You can win the packages to the Main Events of these festivals online:
- Prague - a minimum of 7 x €7,200 packages are guaranteed across three €530 satellites every week. The qualification route starts from freerolls;
- Sochi - at least one $4,000 package guaranteed every Sunday in $215 satellites. There are 4 steps levels available with buy-ins ranging from $1 to $22.
So you can try to repeat Evgeniy Starinkov's success no matter the size of your bankroll.
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