Today’s story is simple: the final table of EPT Kyiv will be one of the most cosmopolitan ever seen on the European Poker Tour — a notable achievement on what is already the greatest celebration of the international appeal of this game. From a starting field of 296, eight players remain. They come from six different European countries.
We’ve had similar before — San Remo last season, for instance — but you get this kind of diversity nowhere else but the EPT.
So, did you hear the one about the three Russians, the Belarussian, the Ukrainian, the German, the Pole and the Dutchman? No, neither did I. But it’s no joke, they will tomorrow file into the Palace of Sports to play the final table of EPT Kyiv and chase the first prize of €330,000. Putting it another way, get to know this lot:
Maxim Lykov, Russia, 2,597,000
Vadim Markushevski, Belarus, 1,662,000
Alexander Dovzhenko, Ukraine, 1,590,000
Vitaly Tolokonnikov, Russia, 1,019,000
Lucasz Plichta, Poland, 731,000
Arthur Simonyan, Russia, 531,000
Adrian Schaap, Holland, 520,000
Torsten Tent, Germany, 264,000
Locals are obviously delighted to see a Ukrainian in the top three of that chart. Alexander Dovzhenko was a formidable force this afternoon, cheered on from the partisan crowd, especially when he became the final home hope, and even more so when he took the chip lead for long periods.
Joram Voelklein doubled Dovzhenko up early, then Nikita Nikolaev lost to his aces. Neither of those remain in the tournament; Dovzhenko is at the final table in his home town.
Vadim Markushevski and Maxim Lykov are EPT wrecking balls in the more traditional style. Both young, expensively-attired and insanely aggressive, they have each picked off the short stacks and stayed out of each other’s way. Lykov was on the featured table from start to finish, riding high and then dipping low, but emerging with the chip lead. Markushevski, on the other hand, was sent bouncing around the room by the table draws, but always had a huge, steady stack.
There’s also nothing unusual about the presence of Torsten Tent and Lucasz Plichta at a final table. They’re both PokerStars qualifiers, in this tournament for a combined buy in of not very much at all.
Tent was a massive stack until he got coolered for a huge chunk of it by Lykov, and will start the final table as the short stack. But he will still have high hopes of emulating his country-folk Moritz Kranich, Sebastian Ruthenberg and Sandra Naujoks as EPT champions.
Plichta’s journey is perhaps even more impressive. He was the only representative in Kyiv from Poland, an FPP satellite champion. He’s free-rolling, and has free-rolled all the way to the final.
Of course, we have also loved and lost. A moment’s silence please for the likes of Andrew Malott, Alex Fitzgerald, Grigory Zima, Iliya Gorodetskiy, Bernard Boutboul, Jonas Kronwitter and many others.
Most notable of all, we lost Michael Meyberg, a PokerStars qualifier and a German. He went out in ninth and missed out on the final table by a pip.
No matter, all of those eliminated today will find their exploits etched forever on the prizewinners page. Give them some company over there with a click.
Either that, or you can fritter away some time with our level-by-level review of the day. This was written live and as it happened, and you’ll find typos aplenty to prove it.
Try Level 17 for starters, then rattle through:
before kicking back with a glass of something cold and a bumper Level 21 and 22 special.
(And then let Level 23 take you into slumber.)
Good night, and see you tomorrow for the punchline.
Ah, what the heck. Here’s a video blog and then a picture of a cannon, a statue and a kid with a balloon. Fill your boots.