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Zhukov Win Another Russian Stamp on WSOP
22-year-old Russian poker pro Viacheslav “Amke” Zhukov won the $10,000 Omaha Hi-Low Split event, earning his first WSOP bracelet and $465,216.
Defeating online phenom George “Jorj95” Lind heads-up, Zhukov is just the fourth Russian to win a bracelet at the World Series of Poker.
This may be Zhukov’s first World Series, and his first WSOP cash, but he’s long on experience, earned through years of playing professionally online.
Zhukov picked up poker while studying Geology at the Moscow Mining University but decided to complete his studies before turning to poker full time.
That was five years ago and Zhukov’s career has been on an upward trajectory ever since, thanks in large part to his readiness to learn non-Hold’em games early on.
“Everyone starts with No-Limit Hold’em but I tried all the games and found that Limit games were the most profitable for me,” Zhukov told PokerListings.com in Las Vegas.
“I like playing all the games and the World Series is the place where you can play lots of non-Hold’em tournaments,” he continued.
Zhukov has already had significant success online playing tournaments of less popular variants. He’s won two SCOOP titles, one in 2-7 Triple Draw and one in Badugi, playing under the screen name “Amke” on PokerStars.
Zhukov is a prime example of a growing group of talented young online poker pros from Russia, a group that we won’t see fully at the WSOP for a few years yet.
“A lot of young guys in Russia have found poker and realized it’s a great way to make money,” said Zhukov.
“It’s too bad that you can’t play the WSOP until you’re 21.”
But not being able to play live in Las Vegas doesn’t mean these young players aren’t busy gaining valuable experience online.
A look at the 2011 Spring Championship of Online Poker numbers tells us that Russian attendance in online poker tournaments has more than doubled since 2010.
In fact, the increase in SCOOP registrations from 2010 to 2011 was the biggest of any country, jumping from 22,118 to 46,878.
Zhukov explains this growth by pointing to more poker television programs being translated for Russian audiences than ever before.
“It seems like everyone is playing online these days in Russia and it’s just going to get bigger,” emphasized Zhukov.