It’s not an easy job tracking down the hottest name in poker right now, but PokeStars’ detectives in Russia have found their man and they can confirm that the winner of this year’s WCOOP Main Event is Marat ‘Maratik’ Sharafutdinov. Speaking to PokerStars, the young Russian micro-stakes grinder revealed how he started his epic run with only 40 FPPs and following multiple Mega-Path FPP satellite victories he earned himself a WCOOP Main Event ticket worth $5,200 and the rest as they say is history.
Sharafutdinov, who becomes the first-ever Russian to win the WCOOP Main Event did a truly remarkable job considering the mountain of obstacles standing in his way. Mainly 1,825 of the games greatest online players, there was also the deal brokering once play got down to six-handed and arguably the toughest challenge of all was right at the end when ‘Maratik’ had to turn around a five-to-one chip deficit to claim the $1 million first prize.
Until now, Sharafutdinov’s only previous major late-game experience came in a nightly $150 tourney. At one point he was chip leader, but when it got close to the bubble he couldn’t decide if he should play to get to the final table or just to cash. “I played aggressively in one hand but at the point where I had to go all-in I checked and lost half of my stack. After that I promised myself that if I was in an important tourney again, I wouldn’t be afraid” he said.
It turned out this experience would prove invaluable in the Main Event. “There was a hand where I had QQ and the big blind three-bet me and then bet all three streets. It was not far from the money and I understood that it was a regular who was trying to push out a micro-limits player. He thought I would be afraid of elimination, but I called without much doubt. He had bluffed and after that sat out for some time.” After that Sharafutdinov tightened up his game and played almost no hands over the next four hours, he then started making full use of his tight image. Before he new it his new strategy had paid off and the rookie from Russia was heads-up for online poker’s biggest prize.
Speaking about his poker career up until now as a micro-stakes grinder Sharafutdinov remarked “for some time I played six-max $6.50 Sit & Go’s with a stable ROI of 11%, and $4.40 180-man Sit & Go’s with an ROI of around 80%. At that time I had problems with my internet connection and had constant disconnects. One time I registered in 40 $5 tournaments and got disconnected for 45 minutes. As result I lost one-third of my bankroll and stopped developing as a player. After that I played $3 and $1 Sit & Go’s even when I had a bankroll for $6 games and higher… I know the value of money!”
With his winnings Sharafutdinov revealed that he plans on travelling to South America to watch some football and also to take a holiday in the Bahamas.