Before the small holiday town of Sochi was announced as the host of the 2014 Winter Olympics, few people outside of Russia had ever heard its name.
Three years after its breakthrough into the global consciousness it will now have the honor of hosting another landmark event - the biggest-ever poker festival held in Russia.
Officially legalized as a casino zone in 2017 Sochi is now set to host the first-ever PokerStars Championship on Russian soil. And it's going to be a big one.
11 Days, $2.6m Main Event Guarantee
Despite it being the first PokerStars Championship in Russia they're not coming in with a soft start to test the waters.
New PS pro Kurganov will be there.
They're going big right off the top with 11 days of events planned at the Sochi Casino & Resort from May 20-31 and a massive 150,000,000 RUB Main Event guarantee - equivalent to $2.6m USD.
Says PokerStars Director of Live Events, Edgar Stuchly:
"Sochi is a premier location for hosting world class events and we are looking forward to bringing PokerStars Championship Sochi to this exciting location.
"With its vast array of 5-star hotels, outdoor activities, and 300 sunny days a year, alongside a brand new casino, Sochi is fast becoming a prime vacation spot and gaming destination, all in one."
All of the usual highlight events of a PokerStars Championship series are to be expected, including:
• PokerStars National Championship: May 20-25 - RUB 66,000 (approx. $1,160)
• PokerStars Championship Super High Roller: May 23-25 - RUB 3,000,000 (approx. $50,700)
• PokerStars National High Roller: May 24-25 - RUB 132,000 (approx. $2,320)
• PokerStars Championship Main Event: May 25-31 - RUB 318,000 (approx. $5,590) - RUB 150,000,000 Guarantee
• No Limit Hold'em Single Day: May 26 - RUB 1,530,000 (approx. $26,880)
• PokerStars Championship PLO High Roller: May 27-28 - RUB 618,000 (approx. $10,860)
• PokerStars Championship High Roller: May 29-31 - RUB 618,000 (approx. $10,860)
The full PokerStars Live team will be on hand to cover the action with full TV and webcast coverage and the usual celebrities and Team PokerStars Pros in attendance.
Spin to win a package for $8.
$8 Spin & Go Qualifiers On Now
Sochi is an intriguing destination for poker players for any number of reasons.
Not only was it massively refurbished for the Winter Games, it sits on the shores of the Black Sea and nestled under a mountainous coastline.
Nicknamed "Russia's Summer capital" it's already famed for its beaches, nightlife and skiing. With its new gaming regulations, poker and gambling will soon be another claim to fame.
Online qualifiers are now running online on PokerStars headlined by $8 Spin & Gos offering full packages for the Main Event. Sign up for a new PokerStars account via our review page to get started on qualifying.
Get a few pointers on how to get an edge in Spin & Gos from poker pro Kyle Maguire here.