Venice, Italy

Russian financial trader Rinat Bogdanov took the 2012 World Poker Tour Venice Grand Prix, beating a field of 155 players to claim a very tidy $302,065 prize and a seat in the WPT World Championship at the Bellagio this May. Bogdonov entered the "unofficial" nine-handed final table as one of the short stacks, but dug out of a hole and was near the top of the leaderboard as the "real" final table was reached Thursday night. The man he was going after, Andrea Dato, secured his second straight seat at a WPT Venice final table and was the chip leader with nearly 1.6 million. Simon Ravnsbaek was second with 922,000, and Bodgonov was lurking with 907,000.

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Bogdanov was quiet during the early stages of the final table, but he gained some steam with a timely double-up courtesy of Dato. Dato raised to 60,000 on the button and Bogdanov moved all-in for 515,000 from the big blind. With Dato out of the way, Bogdanov faced down Alesando Longobardi in a lightning-fast final round, eventually winning with a full house after cleverly letting his opponent go all-in on a hunch.

The over-$300,000 he took home was the largest score of Bogdanov's career, while Longobiardi earned a very respectable $146,826.

Las Vegas

The Nevada Control Board has ordered the Palms Casino Resort to pay $18,500 to Michael DeVita, the man who lost his Epic Poker League Main Event seat taken from him because he was a registered sex offender. In light of his criminal past, DeVita was barred from playing in the $20,000 Epic Poker League Main Event that he qualified for this past September. He was refunded his $1,500 buy-in for the Pro-Am event. DeVita, however, felt he was still owed the remaining value of the $20,000 seat. He then took the matter up with the Nevada Gambling Control Board on Oct. 4, 2011. The Palms did not appeal the decision by the NGCB.

Russia

The poker world was shaken last Tuesday by the death of Russian high-stakes cash player Nikolay Evdakov, who passed away at 47. Evdakov's death was made public by his wife, Nataliya, who posted the news on a popular Russian poker forum. The funeral was held on Wednesday, Feb. 8 at the Troekurov Cemetery in Moscow.

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You might know Evdakov's name from the 2008 World Series of Poker, where he cashed ten times during the sees, breaking the earlier record of eight held by Phil Hellmuth, Humberto Brenes, Chad Brown and Michael Binger. He still holds the record as of this writing.