2018 EPT Sochi Day 2: Sergey Pichugin Holds the Lead on Verge of Popping the Money Bubble

admin | March 26, 2018 | 0 | Gambling news

After a first of its type Day 1B and 1C on the same day (more on this in a bit), Day 2 has completed action at the 2018 European Poker Tour Sochi Main Event. After a massive 861 entries were received, only 136 players remain – nine short of the money bubble – with Sergey Pichugin holding down the lead.

Saturday featured action that was unique for any poker tournament. While Day 1B began on Saturday like a normal tournament (with one rebuy for entrants), it was what happened later in the night that was intriguing for players. Technically a Day 1C, a “turbo” day was played with ten, 30-minute levels to make sure the players were playing to the same level as the previous tournament days. After those three-Day Ones were complete, late registration finished off with the start of Day 2 on Sunday in the Casino Sochi.

What was surprising about Day 2’s action was just how rapid it went. The players were more than willing to gamble, especially early as the players looked to replenish their short stacks. In one hand, Asker Aloev was able to come out on the right side of a three way all in, especially since he was the player with the worst of it going in pre-flop. Going up against Manuel Koller’s pocket eights and Sergey Kerzhakov’s pocket nines, Aloev’s A♠ Q♠ was looking thin. Three spades on the flop – including the 9♠ – left Koller drawing dead, but the nine gave Kerzhakov outs to a boat or quads. Those hopes were dashed quickly as a ten on the turn and a six on the river failed to help Kerzhakov, sending two to the rail as Aloev stacked up the bounty.

There was a bit of confusion over the numbers that were in the field, but they were worked out by the halfway mark of Sunday’s action. With 124 entries on Day 1A, 395 entries on Day 1B and 253 entries taking part in the “turbo” Day 1C, 845 entries were in the books. Once another 16 players decided to jump in prior to the start of Day 2, the official records showed that 861 entries were received for the tournament – a massive leap over 2017’s 387 entries for the “tournament that won’t be named.” Those entries built a prize pool of 165,312,000 rubles (roughly $2,896,010 U. S. dollars), with a min cash earning 306,000 rubles ($5360) and the first-place prize giving the eventual champion the first “new” EPT trophy and 27,300,000 rubles ($478,295) for their efforts.

One thing that dominated the action on Sunday was how fast the players hit the exits of the Casino Sochi. In fact, the pace of play was so rapid that, after only three levels of action, EPT officials decided to shut down action one table before the bubble would burst at 127 players remaining. The reason given for this action was to reduce the possibility for a massive problem with small stacks busting out of the tournament while players were bagging their chips to close the day’s play.

One player who didn’t care either way what the EPT officials did was Pichugin. Pichugin was the epitome of the “deck hitting square in the face” as he recounted how he had pocket Aces on several occasions (earning a double knockout on one of the showdowns) and had hit quads not once but twice. During Day 1B, Pichugin caught quad fours and turned the same trick on Sunday, helping him to his dominant stack and the top of the leaderboard with his 858,000 in chips (official chip standings have not been released at this time).

The first acts on the agenda for Day 3 on Monday will be determining who will take home some rubles for their efforts. Nine players will leave the Casino Sochi tomorrow with nothing to show for their efforts as the final 127 earn cash. If the pace of play from Sunday is any indication, it should be another quick day on Monday as the predominantly Russian field gambles it up on the way to the first championship of the reborn European Poker Tour.

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