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Timoshenko takes WPT Championship
A budding poker superstar came of age at Bellagio tonight as 21-year-old Yevgeniy Timoshenko took down the Season 7 WPT Championship.
Timoshenko cut his teeth in the game winning some of online poker's biggest tournaments, including the PokerStars Sunday Million, the daily $100 rebuy and the Sunday $200 rebuy.
Before his 21st birthday, he began playing live events wherever they would let him, booking solid results in prelims at the Irish Poker Open, Paris Open and the Aussie Millions before taking down the 2008 APPT Macau main event.
Ukranian-born and raised in Washington State, Timoshenko followed those results with final table appearances at the World Series of Poker Europe and the EPT Barcelona prelims.
But Saturday Night in Las Vegas he topped it all, winning more than $2.1 million and one of poker's most prestigious crowns.
"I feel great," he told PokerListings minutes after the win. "I'm really elated right now."
Courtesy of a massive hand where he busted seventh place finisher Brian Rast on the tournament's penultimate day, Timoshenko walked into the final six with a healthy lead.
But despite the advantage, he understood nothing was set in stone.
"I wasn't expecting to win," he said. "I hoped to win, but in tournaments you can't expect anything. Especially at a final table as tough as this one.
"I just hoped to play my best and come out ahead and luckily that's what happened."
Veteran pro Scotty Nguyen headlined a final table of solid players carrying a chance to become poker's all-time leading money winner should he take first.
But it was not to be for Nguyen as he lost most of his chips calling short stack Shannon Shorr's shove with just pocket sixes against tens.
Then Nguyen was outkicked by Christian Harder after making trip aces to bow out sixth.
Shorr was the next to go, taking fifth after running suited connectors into a Timoshenko wired pair.
Next was a huge double elimination that began when two-time EPT finalist Christian Harder open shoved with A♠ 8♠.
Israeli Ran Azor, who won his seat to the championship after taking down a $2k Bellagio Cup prelim in 2008, made the call with A♦ 7♠ and WPT Festa al Lago champ "ElkY" Grospellier came over the top for just 180,000 chips more with A♥ J♥.
Azor called, flopped a seven and suddenly found himself heads-up with Timoshenko after the turn and river bricked.
While Harder took fourth, Grospellier's third place finish ensured he would also take home WPT Player of the Year honors.
Timoshenko went into heads up with a smile on his face and a 2:1 chip advantage.
"I got very fortunate for Ran to hit the seven," Timoshenko said. "I'd say of all three players left, he was the player I wanted to go heads-up with the most because he's an amateur.
"He's a very nice guy but he doesn't play as much poker and he's not as good at poker as ElkY and Christian Harder, both of who play a lot online and would have given me a tough time."
Timoshenko said he just stayed focused and did his thing.
"I just played my game," he said "I stayed patient. I didn't want to play big pots out of position, or even in position. I just wanted to grind it out and keep the pots small.
"I didn't really want to get it all in pre-flop. I prefer to see flops and chip away at him like that."
Obviously elated with the win, Timoshenko said he's off to Monte Carlo for the EPT Grand Final immediately and has his sights firmly set on the upcoming World Series of Poker and his first chance at WSOP gold.
"I can't wait," he said. "I'm probably going to play a lot at the World Series. I'd really like a World Series of Poker bracelet."
For a full recap of all the big hands at the final table hit up PokerListings' Live Tournaments page.