Alexandra Usoltseva Wins TonyBet OFC Championship Main Event for €30,007
After more than nine hours of play on Day 2, Russia's Alexandra Usoltseva outlasted a field of 118 players to win the 2015 TonyBet Open-Face Chinese Poker Championship Main Event for the championship belt and the top prize of €30,007.
The second and final day began with the final 12 players battling it out. It took only 30 minutes for Norway's Johnny Johansen to collect €2,009 after busting out of the tournament in 12th place. About half an hour later, Canada's Benoit Jean (11th place) and Russia's Evgeniy Taranyuk (10th place) were both eliminated to each bank the same amount.
Over an hour passed by before another player was eliminated, and that was when Russia's Sergey Bagirov finished in ninth for €2,761. This was a bit of a surprise, as Bagirov entered the day as the chip leader. However, the nature of open-face Chinese poker is different than other forms of poker. One can quickly go from robusto to busto or vice-versa with very little notice, and Bagirov fell victim to the latter.
Less than 15 minutes after Bagirov exited the tournament, fellow countryman Sergei Illarionov was eliminated in eighth place for €3,478. Illarionov entered the day in second place on the leaderboard, but a Sergey-versus-Sergei heads-up match wasn't meant to be.
After that, things settled down for an hour before Russia's Yury Gulyy, who began the day on the same table with Bagirov and Illarinov, exited the tournament in seventh place for €4,294.
Chips continued to fly back and forth for the next hour and a half after play consolidated to two tables. Belarus' Dzianis Kisel was the next to hit the showers after finishing in sixth place for €5,122. This was another case of a player going from hero to zero, as he was the chip leader with six players left in play.
Russia's Ilia Karasin was the fifth Russian to exit the tournament about 30 minutes after Kisel. His fifth-place finish secured him a €6,902 payday, his largest cash to date, and left Usoltseva as the country's last representative.
At this point, play was suspended while they prepared the feature table for a four-handed unofficial final table. During four-handed play, one player was always scheduled to be sitting out since there are only enough cards for three players in the pineapple OFC variant this tournament featured.
About 30 minutes into play, Lithuania's Tomas Ksenevicius bowed out in fourth place for €8,809. Once again, play was suspended to get ready for the official three-handed final table. A few minutes after play resumed, the game was paused again for a one-hour dinner break.
Less than half an hour after the dinner break, Canada's Jean-Philippe Piquette was eliminated in third place for €12,034. Piquette is a well-known player in his home country, as back in 2012 he had two wins within a week's period of time in the Playground Poker Classic Deepstack, each netting him C$50,000 ($50,858).
Piquette was mainly the victim of Usoltseva (2,301,000 in chips), who entered the heads-up battle against Ukraine's Roman Pavliuk (1,239,000 in chips) with almost a 2-1 chip advantage. The battle took over an hour and a half before Usoltseva was able to claim the title, the championship belt, and the €30,007 top prize.
Pavliuk collected a healthy consolation prize of €19,336 for his runner-up performance.
With the victory, Usoltseva became the third female TonyBet OFC World Champion out of the five events in its history. Last year, Jennifer Shahade won the 2014 TonyBet OFC Championship High Roller for €100,000, while just a few days ago, Isabelle Mercier won €10,189 on her way to becoming the first ever Open-Face Chinese Poker Progressive Pineapple world champion.