crowns victor at inaugural event in Russia

Peter Vlasenko, a 27-year-old poker pro from Moscow, was crowned champion of the St. Petersburg Open at the Golden Garden Casino in Russia last week. Nicknamed "Russia's Poker Tsar," Vlasenko championed a field 126 and took home a first place prize of $84,000.

The St. Petersburg Open garnered widespread foreign interest and attracted players from all over the world, including poker pro and World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet holder Mel Judah. The series boasted the biggest prize pool in Russian poker history, awarding over $500,000 in four days.

The championship event offered a $254,000 prize pool and paid down to the 18th spot. Five out of six of the final table finishers hailed from either Moscow or St. Petersburg.

Peter, who plays online under the name Peter_Russ, said of his win: "I normally only play high stakes limit games online and this was my first tournament of this kind. This is the biggest win I have had in a single day by far though I once won $30,000 in 24 hours online."

Foreign competitors in the championship included 35 online qualifiers from the U.S., Canada, Denmark, Sweden, Germany, Ukraine, Norway, Russia, and the Netherlands. The event also hosted players from the U.K., Russia, and Australia. spokesman Warren Lush said: "We're delighted to be involved with an event that boasted the biggest prize in Russian poker history and congratulate Peter on his win. For the first time in a long time none of the internet qualifiers made the final table. This alone suggests that Russia could be a poker superpower in the future."

Final table results are as follows:

1st Peter Vlasenko $84,000
2nd Mark Vronskiy $46,000
3rd Nikolay Losev $25,400
4th David Rudling $20,300
5th Sergey Feklisov $15,200
6th Sergey Pevzner $12,700

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