Ukraine Reigns at $2.5k Six-Max Event

Oleksii Kovalchuk
Oleksii Kovalchuk

Oleksii Kovalchuk proved that the Ukraine produces more than just suburb footballers and world-class boxers last night.

Kovalchuk outlasted 1,378 players to win Event 26 $2,500 NLHE Six-Max for $689k and a World Series of Poker Bracelet. 

The 21-year-old Kiev resident was thrilled with his achievement.

“It’s a wonderful feeling,” said Kovalchuk. “This was a very hard tournament. There were a lot of strong players.

"Winning this tournament is the best thing that has happened to me in my life.”

Kovalchuk became the second player of Ukrainian descent to win a WSOP bracelet. Eugene Katchalov, who now lives in Brooklyn, NYC, was the first player to strike for Ukraine at the WSOP.

It was not an easy final table for Kovalchuk as noted pros Ionel Anton, Dan O’Brien, Chris Moorman and Will Failla were all jockeying for a WSOP bracelet.

In the end the Europeans eviscerated the U.S. players, leaving U.K. pro Moorman, Bucharest pro Anton and Kovalchuk to fight it out three-handed. 

Kovalchuk would eventually defeat Anton heads-up to claim his first WSOP bracelet. This summer was Kovalchuk’s first trip to Las Vegas for the annual poker series.

He’s already cashed three times and is a perfect 1-1 at final tables with one appearance and one victory.

Although he’s only the second Ukrainian player to win a WSOP bracelet, Kovalchuk mentioned he wouldn’t be surprised to see more in the near future.

“Poker is very popular in Ukraine,” he said. “There are a lot of good Ukrainian players.”

Kovalchuk plays a considerable amount of online poker but he’s also known to frequent the Imperial Poker Club and Kreschatyk Poker Club in Kiev.

With over 32 more bracelets yet to be awarded at the 2011 WSOP, Kovalchuk has plans to stick around Las Vegas and see if he can grab at least one more before heading back to Kiev.

The 2011 WSOP continues through July 19. For comprehensive coverage live from Las Vegas be sure to check PokerListings’ Live Updates and News.

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