Artur Martirosyan, a Russian poker pro with a strong reputation of crushing it online, came out victorious at the live EPT Sochi Main Event, walking away with a nice cool $325,000. But it wasn’t his biggest cash ever.
The live poker tournament, held at Casino Sochi, cost the equivalent of $2,300 USD and was the first live European Poker Tour event of the year. All others leading up to this point were postponed due to COVID-19, along with most events last year.
The tournament took place around the same time that PokerStars announced its $25,000 PokerStars Players Championship (PSPC) event is officially postponed, at least until 2022, due to the global health pandemic. But PokerStars, via its EPT brand of tournaments, is back in action after a lengthy COVID-induced nap.
EPT Sochi was a massive hit in Russia, where most of the 852-entries reside. Only two members of the eight-player final table — Mukhtar Taysi from Turkey and Vladimir Bozinovic from Serbia — hail from different countries. Taysi ended up in third place for $139,352. Bozinovic busted in seventh place, good for $43,356.
Back with a vengeance
Live poker is beginning to grow again in sites all across the world. Players all over the globe have been starved to get in the mix and chase the big scores. This year’s EPT Sochi had 215 more entries than last year’s version, which took place right before the coronavirus became an international problem.
Of the 127 players who cashed in the 2021 EPT Sochi Main Event, 106 were Russians, including Martirosyan, who took down the tourney for $325,316. The big score was his second-largest ever. His biggest win came in March 2020 at the Partypoker Millions Sochi series, where he finished second in a $51,000 Super High Roller for $495,000.
Martirosyan now has more than $1.1 million in live tournament cashes, but he’s more of an online poker grinder, and his resume on the virtual felt is quite impressive. During the 2020 WSOP Online Bracelet Series on GGPoker, he cashed in eight events for mostly small amounts. He had greater success in the Super High Roller Bowl online series last May. During that series, he cashed for just under $1.8 million over eight events.
The Russian grinder showed this week he can also crush it away from his computer. Martirosyan took down the EPT Sochi, beating Vladislav Naumov, another Russian, heads-up for the title. Naumov earned $197,537 for his runner-up finish.
The European Poker Tour will return to Casino Sochi in October for a brand new series. Details and the full schedule for that event aren’t yet available.