Oleksii Kovalchuk wins WSOP Event #42 on First Time playing

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Most WSOP bracelet winners have spent years honing their skills in poker games so that they can overcome other talented pros. However, there are always exceptions to the norm, such as Oleksii Kovalchuk who recently won the 2012 WSOP Event #42 Mixed-Split Seven Card Stud/Omaha tournament. What truly stands out about this is that the Ukrainian had never even played Mixed-Split Seven Card Stud/Omaha before!


Kovalchuk has been pretty active in the 2012 WSOP since he's even trying brand new poker games. The Event #42 Seven Card Stud/Omaha tourney was part of this experiment and winning is something that the 22-year-old wasn't quite prepared for. 

In fact, after outlasting 393 players in this $2,500 buy-in event, Kovalchuk said, "It’s like a fairytale. A guy who sits in the tournament and doesn’t know the rules and wins. How can that happen? How do you explain that?" There is little way to explain how the Kiev native pulled off this victory, but he did have some help from friends.

That's what Friends are for

Puzzled in regards to the Mixed-Split strategy, Kovalchuk turned to his friends for advice. He spoke about this by saying, "I asked my friends what starting hands are good. They explained it to me so I was waiting for those hands and looking as I play at the table. It’s poker though. Anyone can win. I just thought a little bit more in every hand because I was really thinking what to do since I was not familiar."

Ukraine's Poker Star

This is actually Oleksii Kovalchuk's second WSOP victory since he also won the 2011 WSOP Event #26 Six-Handed Hold'em tournament along with $689k. He's now the only Ukrainian to ever win two career WSOP gold bracelets. Here's how the final table finished out in his latest bracelet win:

1. Oleksii Kovalchuk – $228,041
2. George Danzer – $140,825
3. Mark Gregorich – $90,829
4. Danny Ratigan – $65,812
5. Yuval Bronshtein – $48,347
6. Norman Chad – $36,093
7. Wing Wong – $27,313
8. Tim Burt – $20,966