On the first week of the WSOP, the most commonly heard outcry was “The British are coming! The British are coming!” However, as the second week rolls in, there’s one promise that a WSOP Bracelet winner gave the world: “The Russians are coming!”. Viacheslav Zhukov became the champion of Event #10, the $10,000 buy-in Omaha high-low split eight-or-better World Championship. He bested a field of 202 players and earned himself a pretty nifty $465,216 first place prize. Of course, he also won himself a bright and shiny WSOP bracelet, branding him as a World Champion.
What was particularly amazing about Zhukov’s victory was the fact that he should have been eliminated early in Day 1. He, like other players, started out with 30,000 chips. But that stack quickly dwindled to 2,000. Most people would find it near impossible to bounce back after a loss like that, but not Zhukov. Zhukov got his act together and patiently grinded his stack back. Sure enough, he was able to make it to Day 2, and so on and so forth. Pretty soon, he found himself safely ensconced at the Final Table. He battled George Lind at heads up. Lind held the bigger chip stack at first, but Zhukov fought back. Sure enough, a couple of hands later, Zhukov found himself $465,216 richer, donning a bracelet that marked him as one of the best in the game.
A Promise of Things to Come
Zhukov is not the only Russian to hold a WSOP title. Others who have stood where he’s standing include Vladimir Shchemelv, Vitaly Lunkin, and Alexander Kravchenko. When asked in an interview about his win, he said that the Russians will soon be making a big name for themselves in the poker industry. It’s just a matter of time. Right now, there are a lot of talented players who can’t join the WSOP simply because they’re younger than 21. The Russian youth are starting to favor Poker more than Chess. Both are heavily mental games that border on the mathematical. However, poker is arguably a lot more profitable, so you can truly understand the lure for young people when it comes to choosing a game. Indeed, Zhukov looks as if he’s one of the pioneers in a long line of Russian champions. Who knows, this year’s WSOP Main Event winner might very well be a Russian.
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