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Ukrainian poker player wins WSOP Europe opening event

24 October 2017

Oleksandr Shcherbak

Oleksandr Shcherbak (photo by World Series of Poker Europe)

Name: Oleksandr Shcherbak
Nationality: Ukraine
Birthplace: Kiev, Ukraine
Current Residence: Kiev, Ukraine
Age: 29
Profession: Poker Player
Number of WSOP Cashes: 1
Number of WSOP Final Table Appearances: 1
Number of WSOP Gold Bracelet Victories: 1
Best Previous WSOP Finish: N/A
Total WSOP Earnings: $138,312

The first event of the 2017 World Series of Poker Europe has come to an end. Oleksandr Shcherbak, from Kiev, Ukraine, took down Event #1: €1,100 No-Limit Hold'em MONSTER STACK for a nice payday of €117,708.

Shcherbak put on a dominating performance when he got heads-up with Viliyan Petleshkov. He raced out to lead with some strong aggressive play but suffered a setback after doubling up Petleshkov. Both players flopped top pair but Petleshkov held the bigger kicker. That didn't stop Shcherbak's game plan as he continued to bully Petleshkov out of many pots. Once Shcherbak took back the lead, he cruised into the final hand of the tournament, where he held 7h-7s against Petleshkov's Ah-Qs. When Shcherbak turned a set of sevens, the match was all but over.

The first place finish not only gives Shcherbak his first WSOP gold bracelet, but it is also his first ever WSOP tournament cash. Shcherbak was not available for comment after capturing the title, but did mention that he is a poker professional. Before this event, Shcherbak had just one recorded cash, coming from earlier this summer at the PokerStars National Championship in Barcelona.

The first event of the series attracted a total of 561 entries over the course of three starting days, which put together a prize pool of €538,280. There were 85 places paid, and after three players busted on the money bubble, they shared a min-cash worth €1,061 each.

The official final table of nine finally assembled at the featured table after nearly three hours were played prior. There were many players that came to the final table with under 20 big blinds, Ali Sameeian being one of them. He moved all-in with pocket fours but ran into the pocket kings of Shcherbak and became the first casualty. Not long after, Ismael Bojang walked into a cooler with ace-king versus Treccarichi's pocket aces. Bojang was unable to come from behind and exited in eighth place. Serge Danis sat on the short stack for a long time and managed to ladder his way up to seventh place. He eventually fell victim to the blinds and left the table just six-handed.

Peter Bstieler made an impressive run at the final table but with the action folded to Shcherbak in the small blind holding pocket nines, Bstieler was in trouble with pocket sevens. There was a seven on the flop to give Bstieler the lead, but a nine on the river changed his fortune as he was eliminated in sixth place. Walter Treccarichi was left on the next shortest stack and flipped for stacks against Shcherbak. Treccarichi was in the lead until Shcherbak hit a pair of queens on the river to be ousted in fifth place.

Carlo Savinelli showed the most aggression on the final table, but eventually his opponents started to pick up on that. Savinelli got his chips in the middle in a dominated position against Petleshkov and could not come from behind to finish in fourth place. Three-handed play lasted the longest as the remaining trio tossed chips back and forth. Sergio Fernandez came to the final table with the chip lead but unfortunately ran a three-barrel bluff into the full house of Shcherbak. That left him on the short stack where he moved all-in on the button holding Ah-9s and was called by Shcherbak with Kh-Jh. Shcherbak hit a king on the turn and that put an end to Fernandez's tournament run. With that, Shcherbak and Petleshkov were left heads-up to fight for the bracelet.

There were many notables to enter the field that fell short of making the money including Kristen Bicknell, Chris Ferguson, Phil Hellmuth, Alex Foxen, Kenny Hallaert and Roberto Romanello. There were also those that made it into Day 2 and were able to stop by the payout desk. Valentin Vornicu (14th place - $4,726), Ryan Hughes (21st place - $3,184), Scott Stewart (26th place - $3,184), Jan Bendik (29th place - €2,697), Maxim Lykov (32nd place - €2,697), Sander van Wessemael (47th place - €2,065), Allen Kessler (€2,065), James Akenhead (57th place - €1,868), Mike Leah (62nd place - €1,868) and Ryan Hefter (67th place - €1,730) all cashed in this opening event.

By cashing in the first event of the series, Ryan Hughes took advantage of his fellow Player of the Year contenders coming up short. Hughes jumped into the lead of the race that everyone has their eyes on. He now holds a small lead over Chris Ferguson, although any min-cash could change things again.

1. Oleksandr Shcherbak, Ukraine - 117,708
2. Viliyan Petleshkov, Bulgaria - 72,747
3. Sergio Fernandez, Spain - 49,929
4. Carlo Savinelli, Italy - 34,869
5. Walter Treccarichi, Italy - 24,787
6. Peter Bstieler, Germany - 17940
7. Serge Danis, Switzerland - 13,225
8. Ismael Bojang, Germany - 9,934
9. Ali Sameeian, Germany - 7,605

(Article courtesy of World Series of Poker Europe)

 
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