Commentary

Kovalchuk wins six-handed title

Updated: June 20, 2011, 12:07 PM ET
By Andrew Feldman | ESPN.com

It's not often that there has been a heads-up battle between Ukrainian and Romanian players on U.S. soil, but in the $2,500 six-handed Event 26, the World Series of Poker continued to prove that poker, and the attraction to participate in its prestigious event, is a global phenomenon. Oleksii Kovalchuk, a 21-year-old professional poker player, emerged out of the 1,378-player field to earn his first WSOP bracelet. Kovalchuk defeated Ionel Anton heads-up and joined Eugene Katchalov as the only Ukranian-born players to win at the WSOP, both this year. Katchalov became the first when he won Event 5 during the first week of the Series.

Kovalchuck
PokerNews/WSOPOleksii Kovalchuk defeated one of the largest six-handed fields in WSOP history

Kovalchuk learned to play poker from his father in 2007. This was his first trip to Vegas and the WSOP and, so far, he's put up great results with three cashes thus far in 2011.

"I feel very happy," he said. "I do not know what to say. I do not think about the money. The money is second to me. I wanted the gold bracelet and to win."

First place paid $689,739, the fourth-highest top prize so far at the 2011 WSOP.

Anton's 2011 has also been rather impressive. In January, he played extremely tight and conservative poker at the final table of the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure main event (which was aired on ESPN2) to finish third for $1.3 million. He earned $428,140 for his runner-up finish in this event, the second-largest score of his career. Six-handed events are typically extremely aggressive and Anton adjusted in kind to make a deep run in this event.

Finishing in third was Chris Moorman, the No. 1 rated online poker player, according to PocketFives. Since his discovery of the online game, Moorman has accumulated more than $7 million in tournament earnings. His live game has also produced success with 11 WSOP cashes over the past four years. This was Moorman's first WSOP final table and his second major one of the year, as he finished seventh at the Aussie Millions main event in January.

Fourth-placed belonged to tournament regular Dan O'Brien. The $179,162 put O'Brien over the $1 million live career earnings mark. O'Brien has been playing at the WSOP since 2006 with 11 cashes and two final tables. As impressive as fourth out of 1,378 players may be, O'Brien best WSOP result came in 2008 when he finished third in a $2,000 buy-in no-limit hold 'em event to earn $198,132.

The event in general was a huge success, especially due to the turnout. The surge of attendance continues to be a major story in 2011 and this event offered a 10.6 percent increase year-over-year. This was the largest six-handed tournament in WSOP history at the $2,500 buy-in.

Other notable finishers include Will Failla (seventh), David "Bakes" Baker (24th), Olivier Busquet (33rd) and two previous 2011 WSOP-bracelet winners, Allen Bari (83rd) and Jake Cody (125th).

Below are the complete results of Event 26 at the 2011 World Series of Poker:

Event 26: Six-handed no-limit hold 'em
Buy-in: $2,500
Entries: 1,378
Prize pool: $3,134,950
Players in the money: 126

1. Oleksii Kovalchuk ($689,739)
2. Ionel Anton ($428,140)
3. Chris Moorman ($271,800)
4. Dan O'Brien ($179,162)
5. Mazin Khoury ($121,416)
6. Anthony Ruberto ($84,549)
7. Will Failla ($60,473)
8. Eric Hettinga ($60,473)
9. Benjamin Pollak ($44,390)
10. Antony Lellouche ($44,390)
11. Jesse James ($33,418)
12. Daniel Morgan ($33,418)
13. Christian Kohl ($25,769)
14. Samuel Grafton ($25,769)
15. Michael Finstein ($25,769)
16. Jesse Cohen ($25,769)
17. Tyler Cornell ($25,769)
18. Rupert Elder ($25,769)
19. Timothy Finne ($20,377)
20. Peter Gilmore ($20,377)
21. Christian Jeppsson ($20,377)
22. Davidi Kitai ($20,377)
23. Alex Fitzgerald ($20,377)
24. David "Bakes" Baker ($20,377)
25. Sebastian Marquardt ($16,489)
26. Steve McNally ($16,489)
27. Vladimir Mefodichev ($16,489)
28. Gabriel Nassif ($16,489)
29. Joshua Mullen ($16,489)
30. Randy Mckay ($16,489)
31. Tuan Le ($13,637)
32. Kevin Vandersmissen ($13,637)
33. Olivier Busquet ($13,637)
34. Kevin Grubisic ($13,637)
35. Jared Vengrin ($13,637)
36. Daniel Johnson ($13,637)
37. Andrew Owens ($11,536)
38. Gabor Szamosi ($11,536)
39. Dale Scruggs ($11,536)
40. Scott Sitron ($11,536)
41. Bradley Howard ($11,536)
42. Stanislav Barshak ($11,536)
43. Joseph Serock ($9,969)
44. Valdemar Kwaysser ($9,969)
45. Sean Grover ($9,969)
46. Ryan Patchell ($9,969)
47. Gylbert Drolet ($9,969)
48. Gordon Johnson ($9,969)
49. Nenad Medic ($8,809)
50. Gregory Merson ($8,809)
51. Scott Epstein ($8,809)
52. William Haydon ($8,809)
53. Dorian Rios ($8,809)
54. Mohsin Charania ($8,809)
55. Jonathan Prested ($7,962)
56. Lex Veldhuis ($7,962)
57. Jakob Tostesen ($7,962)
58. Rafal Lubczynski ($7,962)
59. Peter Akery ($7,962)
60. Sergey Konkin ($7,962)
61. Trevor Hackworth ($7,335)
62. Paul Lieu ($7,335)
63. Michael Benvenuti ($7,335)
64. Ted Lawson ($7,335)
65. Christina Lindley ($7,335)
66. John Hoang ($7,335)
67. Luke Netles ($6,740)
68. Alexander Schwartz ($6,740)
69. Jimmy Tran ($6,740)
70. Nicholas Grippo ($6,740)
71. Anthony Licastro ($6,740)
72. Darren Wong ($6,740)
73. Scott Lipshutz ($6,740)
74. Brett Schwertley ($6,740)
75. Alon Sahar ($6,740)
76. Melanie Weisner ($6,740)
77. Jacek Markowski ($6,740)
78. Victor Shuchleis ($6,740)
79. Ruslan Prydryk ($6,207)
80. Evins Cherfils ($6,207)
81. Shane Schleger ($6,207)
82. Neil Willerson ($6,207)
83. Allen Bari ($6,207)
84. Christopher Howard ($6,207)
85. Philip Tom ($6,207)
86. Ronan Collet ($6,207)
87. Michael Michnik ($6,207)
88. Jerry Atkins ($6,207)
89. Jesse Rockowitz ($6,207)
90. Charles Sizemore ($6,207)
91. Ashley Mason ($5,705)
92. Hugo Almeida ($5,705)
93. Tibor Farkas ($5,705)
94. Massimiliano Martinez ($5,705)
95. Corey Thompson ($5,705)
96. Pascal LeFrancois ($5,705)
97. Sorel Mizzi ($5,705)
98. Franco Cupello ($5,705)
99. John Scavo ($5,705)
100. Jerry Wong ($5,705)
101. Jean-Robert Bellande ($5,705)
102. Kenn Wittock ($5,705)
103. Michael Ferrell ($5,705)
104. Adel Jo ($5,705)
105. Andrew Hoechstetter ($5,705)
106. Deric Williams ($5,705)
107. Yi Cheng ($5,705)
108. Erion Islamay ($5,705)
109. Ayaz Mahmood ($5,235)
110. Preecha Taepakdee ($5,235)
111. Alex Bolotin ($5,235)
112. Jason Sackler ($5,235)
113. Nicholas Phillips ($5,235)
114. John Campbell ($5,235)
115. Alexander Ivarsson ($5,235)
116. Robert Mathis ($5,235)
117. Christian Pereira ($5,235)
118. Christopher Orourke ($5,235)
119. Benjamin Volpe ($5,235)
120. Rene Angelil ($5,235)
121. Radwan Khuri ($5,235)
122. Markus Gonsalves ($5,235)
123. Ludovic Riehl ($5,235)
124. Daniel Frischman ($5,235)
125. Jake Cody ($5,235)
126. Andrew Cradock ($5,235)

Andrew Feldman is ESPN.com's Poker Editor. He is the host of the Poker Edge Podcast and co-host of ESPN Inside Deal. Andrew has covered the poker industry for ESPN since 2004.

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