Another High Roller event, another Russian player appearing on the scene, bagging up mountains of chips and leaving everybody baffled as to identity, bankroll and skills.
Last night, long after the Main Event concluded, the High Roller tournament played through its first ten levels. By the time everything was said and done, there were 47 players left from the original 103 entries and someone nobody had ever heard of, Alexander Kopylkov, leading the pack.
Trailing in his wake were more familiar likes of Jason Lavallee, Ognjen Sekularac, Griffin Benger, Ole Schemion, Marc-Andre Ladouceur, Artem Litvinov, Yann Dion, David Vamplew et al — head to the main High Roller page for a full list, on the chip-counts tab in the top panel — and it was tempting just to focus on them.
Nobody knew anything about Kopylkov: he had no results in any of the online databases and didn’t seem to be mixing too closely with the other known Russian players. But he was leading a High Roller tournament on the EPT so we had to find something out.
Enter the Russian EPT Live commentators and Mikhail Semin in particular. Semin had also been on the trail of Kopylkov and has a few better connections in Russian poker community than me. Semin had just received a text message from a friend at home, and it contained the skinny on Kopylkov.
It turns out our man is the co-owner of a boxing promotions company, responsible for putting on all the biggest title fights in Central and Eastern Europe, including those featuring the Ukrainian brothers Vladimir and Vitali Klitschko.
He is, it kind of goes without saying, a very rich man. This event is a mere drop in the ocean and he is not in it for the money. But he is a proper poker player, who has made the final table of the Sunday Million on PokerStars and has decent cashes in SCOOP and WCOOP events. Semin said Kopylkov wouldn’t mind his screen-name being made public, but we’ll keep that to ourselves for now. (Kopylkov hasn’t given us specific permission to reveal it.)
But if you want to know that, and no doubt a bit more about our man, the best way is to learn Russian and then listen in to Semin and Ilya Gorodetskiy on EPT Live’s Russian branch. They’ll be keeping tabs all day.
Full coverage of EPT Sanremo is on the main EPT Sanremo page. There’s hand-by-hand coverage in the panel at the top and feature pieces below. The €10,000 High Roller is also under way. Coverage of that is on the High Roller page.