The flagship event of the 2017 PokerStars Championship Sochi kicked off today, much to the delight of 132 runners, filled with online qualifiers, poker pros, and poker enthusiasts. Day 1a of the RUB 150,000,000 guaranteed Main Event got underway at noon local time inside the beautiful Sochi Casino and Resort.
After eight 75-minute levels of play on Day 1a, just 74 players remain in the hunt. Russian player Andrei Shkerin claimed the top spot on the leaderboard after mustering a stack of 144,400. Second position belongs to Mikhail Rudoy with 141,100 while Daniyar Aubakirov (133,500), Nadar Kakhmazov (120,000), and Artsiom Zhadinsky (115,600) round out the top five spots.
Team PokerStars was well represented on Day 1a with Chris Moneymaker, Luca Pagano, and Felipe Ramos making appearances. Moneymaker was seated early in the day and the empty seat to his left was taken midway through by none other than Ramos. Ramos made a deep run in the PokerStars National High Roller but busted in 13th place for a score of RUB 243,000.
Moneymaker and Ramos certainly enjoyed their time beside each other, clashing in multiple pots and tossing out the occasional needle. Ramos even won a sizable pot that Moneymaker was involved in during Ramos’ first hand of the day. Moneymaker finished the day with 115,300, receiving a large boost towards the end of play, including Ramos’s stack on the last hand of the night.
Pagano, on the other hand, didn’t have a great day on the felt. Early on the Italian pro lost a large portion of his stack when he flopped a set of eights but was crushed by an opponent’s flopped set of kings. Pagano was able to find some spots to increase his chip count but wasn’t able to fully recover. The pothole that blew the tire off came when Pagano picked up pocket aces and even flopped a set but when his stack got into the pot, the aforementioned Shkerin had flopped a flush and it held to end Pagano’s Main Event run.
Maxim Lykov was among the notable players making a splash on Day 1a. Lykov bagged 78,700 and will be joined on Day 2 by early Day 1a chip leader Vladimir Medvedev (78,200), Dmitry Chop (76,000), Alexander Kostritsyn (49,100), and Igor Yaroshevskyy (23,800)
As is the case in most events, Day 1 is as far as many players make it. A few familiar faces to hit the rail include Kiryl Radzivonau, Igor Dubinskyy, Orpen Kisacikoglu, and the first casualty of the day, Mohammadjavad Haddadnia.
Day 1b will begin at noon local time on Friday with another eight 75-minute levels on the schedule.
PokerNews will be live on the floor throughout the festival. Stay tuned for live updates and feature stories throughout the 2017 PokerStars Championship Sochi.