Breaking Down the Action:
  • The Numbers Behind the Main Event
  • Could Martirosyan Transition from Online Boss to Live Superstar?
  • Home Country Heroes

The latest European Poker Tour Main Event may have flown under your poker fan radar, with the tournament lacking the usual PokerStars commentary and finery around its flagship live events.

That lack of lights, camera and action is mainly due to the COVID-19 pandemic restricting poker largely to the online sphere, but EPT Sochi took place last year and did so again in 2021, with renowned high roller Artur Martirosyan finally achieving what he called his ‘life’s dream’.

The Numbers Behind the Main Event

As reported by the official PokerStars blog, Russian poker pro and online winner Artur Martirosyan fulfilled his dream in becoming an EPT champion in fine style.

With a massive 852 entries, the EPT Sochi Main Event saw six Russians, a Turkish player and a Serbian hopeful make the final eight who arrived at the final table in Casino Sochi.

Each entry cost around $2,300, and with that many players stumping up the buy-in, a huge prizepool of around $1.73 million was being fought for in the final event of a fortnight-long event.

Could Martirosyan Transition from Online Boss to Live Superstar?

The talented Martirosyan had already won two SCOOPs (Spring Championship of Online Poker) to his name as well as countless High Roller events over the past few years. This is his first European Poker Tour Main Event win, however, and as he told PokerStars, it clearly meant a lot to him.

“I have always wanted to win the EPT title,” he said after his victory brought his live winnings to over a million dollars. “I have a lot of experience with playing on final tables, [and] I think it helped me a lot.”

The 23-year-old is already one of the best online players in the world, so a live win such as this could really help him kick on at the felt when live poker returns for good. Martirosyan’s fellow Russian Vladislav Naumov was his opponent heads-up and the final hand saw Martirosyan dominating his countryman, ace-nine running out the board ahead of ace-six.

Last year, Naumov had finished 6th in EPT Sochi’s Main Event but fell just one place short of the ultimate back-to-back improvement as he cashed for $197,000. Martirosyan won $325,000 for taking down the tournament and has made real waves in poker over the last 24 months.

Home Country Heroes

With 852 entries, only 127 players would make the money. Of that number, 106 players came from Russia, proving once again in Sochi that if you’re from the home country destination then you have a great chance of cashing. The highest-ranked player who hailed from outside Russia was Turkish player Muhtar Taysiof, who came third for $139,000.

Want to know what Artur Martirosyan said after taking the title? If you understand Russian, then you can watch this post-match interview.

PokerStars EPT Sochi Main Event Final Table Results:

Place Player Country Prize
1st Artur Martirosyan Russia $325,000
2nd Vladislav Naumov Russia $197,000
3rd MuhtarTaysi Turkey $139,000
4th Fanis Khafizov Russia $104,000
5th Yuriy Brechalov Russia $82,000
6th Anton Smirnov Russia $61,500
7th Vladimir Bozinovic Serbia $43,200
8th Roman Gadzhiev Russia $30,400

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Paul Seaton

Paul Seaton has written about poker for many years, travelling the world to report live from such poker events as the World Series of Poker, European Poker Tour and World Poker Tour. As well as reporting live from the felt, Paul was Editor of BLUFF Europe magazine and has written for major poker brands including PokerStars, 888poker and partypoker where he was Head of Media. Paul has interviewed many of the world’s greatest poker players, such as Sam Trickett, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth and Bryn Kenney, the current all-time money list leader.

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