PokerStars Championship Sochi: Lavrentiy Ni leads last six into final table

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It proved to be another speedy day in Sochi. The plan to reduce the remaining field of the PokerStars Championship Main Event from 16 to six took less than four and a half hours, and it leaves us with the prospect of an enticing finale tomorrow.

Lavrentiy Ni, a 28-year-old from Almaty, Kazakhstan, is leading the pack. He was the beneficiary of a three way all-in pot, winning most of the 2.949 million chips that he will carry into the final day. Ni’s lead is narrow, though. He is just 35,000 ahead of Pavel Shirshokov, who sits with 2.914 million.

Shirshokov has led the field for the past two days in the Main Event and showed little sign of losing any of that form.

Sayed Ghavam, who brought the day to an end by eliminating Daniyam Aubakirov, is the only other player with more than 2 million. Behind him are two Russian pros well suited to the business end of a major poker tournament. Vladimir Troyanovskiy bags up nearly 1.8 million tonight ahead of his countryman Dmitry Vivkind, who has more than 1 million. Both are among the most successful pros in Russia and would surprise no one tomorrow were they to go all the way.

Timur Bubnov, a Vladivostok chocolate factory worker (seriously), returns as the short stack. There’s a reference to a sweet finish to be made somewhere, or maybe “icing on the cake”, but I’m not going to make it.

Here’s how they’ll line up:

Name Country Status Chips Seat
Seyed Ghavam Iran 2124000 1
Vladimir Troyanovskiy Russia PokerStars qualifier 1791000 2
Pavel Shirshikov Russia 2949000 3
Dmitry Vitkind Russia 1050000 4
Lavrentiy Ni Kazakhstan 2914000 5
Timur Bubnov Russia PokerStars qualifier 783000 6