Alexander Kuzmin, the top Russian professional poker player, ended up participating in the World Poker Tour’s (WPT) Southern Poker Championship, which is being held at the Beau Rivage, because of a brief delay in his flight back to Russia. The flight delay turned out to be more than lucky for the poker pro, who added a whopping sum of $575,969 to his already swollen poker bankroll—an oversized compensation indeed for an ordinary flight delay!
The WPT Southern Poker Championship is a 5-day event with a buy-in of $10,000 and in which 214 talented poker players participated; yet Kuzmin defeated them all and won the WPT’s first championship of this year. When Kuzmin reached the final table, he was the chip leader; however, five hands later, his opponent Allan Carter became the chip leader. Allen Carter was aiming at becoming the first player to win a WPT title twice. When there were five players left at the table, Leif Force got a flush that swept away Pat Mahoney’s collection of kings. Mahoney, a poker pro of Lakeland in Tennessee, finished fifth and swept up a prize of $113,208. Shannon Shorr of Birmingham in Alabama, whose stack of chips had reached a dangerously low level, finished fourth and walked away with a cool prize of $144,985.
Carter, who was the chip leader at this point of the game, lost his position to Leif Force. However, when Carter raised $100k, Force folded, after which Kuzmin re-raised $275k and Carter pushed all in for $1,425,000. Kuzmin thought he was finished, but called because he had quite a few outs and any queen, diamond, or ace could make his fortune. When Kuzmin got the 10 of diamonds on the river, Carter found himself knocked off the table with just $218,471 in his pocket. This left Kuzmin and Force at the table; but Force was caught in a bad bluff, after which Kuzmin moved all in with K-4 and Force had to leave the table with $315,790. Kuzmin collected his colossal winnings of $575,969 and took a late flight back home to Russia.
Terming Kuzmin’s poker style as “terrific,” Mike Sexton, the member of the Poker Hall of Fame and WPT announcer, said that Kuzmin started the game as a chip leader, lost many of them, looked as if he was beaten, and then suddenly changed gears and played such as terrific game that he definitely deserves the title.

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