Yi Ye Wins 2019 PokerStars EPT Open Sochi Main Event For $301K

China's Yi Ye won the 2019 PokerStars EPT Open Sochi Main Event for over $301,000. (photo: PokerStars)

The 2019 PokerStars EPT Open Sochi Main Event crowned a winner on Sunday as China’s Yi Ye defeated the field of 879 runners at Casino Sochi to take home his first EPT title and the RUB19,306,000 ($301,378) first-place prize.

Only six players remained at the start of Day 4 as final table participants from Russia Vladislav Petrov (7th) and Boris Kitov (8th) were eliminated at the tail end of Day 3. Ye started the day in the middle of the pack, looking up at the overwhelming chip leader Giorgiy Skhulukhiya.

The first of the final six to fall was Russia’s Abdul Mamin Abdal Ali Han who moved in over the top of Natalia Panchenko’s initial raise with his last remaining 10 big blinds with his Ah2h. Panchenko asked for a count and made the call holding AsQh. The Qs5c3c flop kept Panchenko in the lead, but offered Han a gutshot straight draw. The turn was the 8d and the river came the Ac, pairing both but giving the hand to Panchenko. Han exited in sixth place for RUB3,659,600 ($57,129).

Roughly forty-five minutes later Egor Sukhov found himself racing for his tournament life. Ye opened in early position with the AcJc and Sukhov moved all-in on the button holding the 8h8s. Ye ended up making the call and the pair were off to the races. The flop came Jh9h9c putting Ye in the lead. The turn came the 2c leaving Sukhov looking for one of the final two 8’s in the deck. The 5s river completed the board and completed the tournament for Sukhov who finished in fifth place for RUB4,889,500 ($76,328).

Four-handed play lasted for hours as the players took turns doubling through and taking over the chip lead. Eventually, Lidiya Kozenkova, who was sitting on the short stack raised with the As8cand was called in two spots, by both Panchenko and Skhulukhiya. The flop came the AhJc2h and when checked to, Kozenkova put in a continuation bet with top pair. Skhulukhiya folded and Panchenko made the call, having Kozenkova dominated with her AcQc. The 4s fell on the turn and Kozenkov moved all-in. Panchenko ended up calling putting Kozenkov at risk and looking for an eight. The 7d river was no help and after hours of grinding Kozenkova was the fourth-place finisher taking home RUB6,202,000 ($96,817) for her efforts.

The final three players returned after dinner and the chips continued to fly when Ye put in a raise on the button with Ac8s and Panchenko defended her big blind with JdTc. The 9h8h3d flop was checked through and the pair saw the 8d come on the turn giving Ye trips. Panchenko checked and Yi slid out a bet. After spending some time in the tank, Panchenko check-raised all-in and Yi made the call. Panchenko needed her open-ended straight draw to come in but the river fell the 3c sending Russia’s Panchenko to the rail in third place for RUB8,269,800 ($129,097).

As soon as Yi and Skhulukhiya found themselves heads up, deal discussions broke out. Unable to come to a deal, the pair started what would be a very short heads up battle.

Two hands after the deal fell through Ye, with the chip lead, raised on the button with 6s6c and Skhulukhiya moved all-in with the KhQs. Ye made the quick call and Skhulukhiya was at risk. The flop fell Ad7s5h, keeping Ye in the lead. When the 6h hit the turn, it was all over as Skhulukhiya was drawing dead to the 8s river. Skhulukhiya finished as the runner-up, taking home RUB11,722,200 ($182,991).

China’s Yi Ye closed out the tournament becoming an EPT champion, taking home the trophy and the RUB19,306,000 ($301,378) first-place prize.

Final Table Payouts

1. Yi Ye – RUB19,306,000 – $301,378
2. Giorgiy Skhulukhiya – RUB11,722,200 – $182,991
3. Natalia Panchenko – RUB8,269,800 – $129,097
4. Lidiya Kozenkova – RUB6,202,000 – $96,817
5. Egor Sukhov – RUB4,889,500 – $76,328
6. Abdul Mamin Abdal Ali Han – RUB3,659,600 – $129,097
7. Vladislav Petrov – RUB2,573,900 – $40,180
8. Boris Kitov – RUB1,808,800 – $28,236