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Wednesday Night Rumble: Zaichenko v. Painter
The $1,500 2-7 triple draw final table was pretty rowdy for a Wednesday night.
The rest of the Amazon room was cushioned with a steady hum of riffling chips, but one section was intermittently erupting with cheers in Russian and chants in English.
They were cheering for either Russia’s Andrey Zaichenko or Illinois’s own Jameson Painter.
In addition to stereotypical names, both players had four World Series of Poker final table finishes without a victory.
They definitely knew it and some of their friends probably did too. One thing everyone was aware of was that both players were one elimination away from winning $117,947 and a World Series of Poker bracelet.
Both sides had plenty to cheer. Players battled for nearly two hours and chips sloshed back-and-forth like a water in limousine hot tub.
Zaichenko started the match with the lead and got Painter down to just a handful of chips on a few occasions. But Painter kept coming back and he even had Zaichenko on the ropes at one point.
The spectator area is like the top half of a diagonally cut boxing ring. Painter’s crowd took both ends of the stands while Zaichenko supporters crowded the middle.
When Painter got Zaichenko down to just a few big bets, the edges came to life with chants of, “Orange!”
Painter was wearing an orange shirt, as he usually does. Sometimes it’s dark blue.
But no matter what, Painter is always wearing a University of Illinois shirt. The larger Painter’s stack grew, the more times people shouted “Orange!” per pot.
The crowd that had been cheering and chanting loudly in Russian, resorted to short, stern blocks of applause.
Then Zaichenko mounted a comeback with a few seven lows and he even took down a big pot with a ten to Painter’s jack. Zaichenko’s rail clapped louder for that one.
The Russian player then had Painter back down to just a few chips again and the edges of the rail went still while the middle burst.
Zaichenko hit a nine on the final hand while Painter drew to a six and missed.
No Breaks for Painter
Zaichenko celebrated with his rail while Painter immediately went to go register for the $3,000 6-max limit hold’em.
Late registration was only opened for another 30 minutes and the 6-max limit hold'em is one of Painter’s favorite tournaments of the year.
Three of Painter’s five WSOP final tables are in limit hold’em events. While Painter was really pining for the bracelet in the 2-7, he said ok with the result.
“Especially coming into today as a large chip leader I kind of came into it expecting anything worst than first was going to be a disappointment,” Painter said.
“But given how it played out, I'm pretty happy with second, given how few chips I had four and three handed.”
Painter got very close to victory near the end, but felt a mistake near the beginning of the match cost him the tournament.
“It came down to me making an incorrect brick twice at the start of it actually,” Painter said.
“The very first hand where he had a ten nine. I broke a better hand.
“If you presume that all the cards run the same way afterwards I think he gets knocked out slightly before he makes the comeback.”
Mixed Games in Moscow
Zaichenko on the other hand is glad his mixed game training has paid off.
Zaichenko, who also now has five WSOP final tables, has had most of his success in no-limit Hold’em.
“I started playing a lot mixed games in Moscow about three years ago,” Zaichenko said.
“I think this a result of all that play in Moscow."
Zaichenko, who first cashed in the WSOP in 2008, says he and other Russians first learned those games here.
But Zaichenko thinks the proliferation of mixed games in Russia will lead to more Russian players taking down mixed game tournaments.
“In the last three or four years we maybe only had one bracelet in this area,” Zaichenko said.
"Now it’s two and I think we have some good players this series and we’ll try to get another bracelet."