It was all about Russia this weekend at the final table of the $80,000 888poker Sunday Challenge. The country that has produced talent like World Series of Poker Main Event runner-up Ivan Demidov and two-time bracelet winner Vitaly Lunkin dominated the $90 buy-in Sunday Challenge, which offers an optional $90 rebuy. A player from the Russian Federation also won the $20,000 Mega Dozen on 888poker on Sunday.

'whaler36' led the way. The Russian spent $90 to get in and another $90 to rebuy, putting his total investment at $180. In the end, he walked away with $15,892 for the win after a three-way deal, almost 90 times his investment. Not too shabby for an afternoon's work. This was his largest score on 888poker to date, besting a $1,400 haul for taking third in the $10,000 Saturday R&A last month.

Heads-up, 'whaler36' defeated fellow Russian player 'LetheGuard', who earned $11,752 after the three-way deal. Like the tournament's champion, 'LetheGuard' scored his largest cash in an 888poker tournament ever, a win in a $60,000 guaranteed version of the Sunday Challenge three weeks ago for $10,720. With a win and a runner-up finish in the Sunday Challenge in the last three weeks, 'LetheGuard' is certainly someone to keep an eye on this week.

The final member of the deal in Sunday's 888poker Sunday Challenge was 'G.S.P.888', who calls the United Kingdom home. He finished in third place and banked $13,677, the second largest amount given out in the deal.

'G.S.P.888' has had plenty of success on 888poker before. He won the $50,000 Volcano in August of last year and earned $17,803. In March of this year, six months ago, he finished third in the $85,000 Volcano and pocketed $13,144. His Sunday Challenge score over the weekend was his second largest tournament cash on 888poker all-time.

Uruguay's 'ArideontheRV' took fourth in the Sunday Challenge. He was the lone final table member from South America and recorded his largest online tournament cash to date on 888poker.

Fifth place went to poker pro 'random.chu', who plays on 888poker under the screen name 'poker_mom74'. According to PocketFives, he has $316,000 in lifetime cashes on 888poker, led by a $23,085 score for taking third in the $200,000 WHALE two years ago. He has won the 888poker Mega Deep multiple times, most recently at the end of August of last year for $22,479. He's also a former winner of the 888poker $50,000 TURBO Mega Deep and has $3.1 million in career online tournament winnings.

Here's how the final table cashed out in the $80,000 Sunday Challenge. Four of the nine final table players called Russia home:

1 whaler36 (Russia) ($15,192)
2 LetheGuard (Russia) ($11,752)
3 G.S.P.888 (United Kingdom) ($13,677)
4 ArideontheRV (Uruguay) ($7,444)
5 poker_mom74 (Australia) ($5,196)
6 SexyFunTimes (Netherlands) ($4,197)
7 SAMSCOTT3 (Canada) ($3,197)
8 qOFspades14 (Russia) ($2,198)
9 sweet_dr34ms (Russia) ($1,299)

Russia's 'VarVar7523' Wins $20,000 Mega Dozen

Also taking place on 888poker over the weekend was the $20,000 Mega Dozen, which gave players a chance to turn $12 (hence the name Mega Dozen) into meaningful money. And just like in the Sunday Challenge, a player from Russia came away with the win.

Russia's 'VarVar7523' turned $12 into $4,074, over 339 times his investment, in the Mega Dozen. The win resulted in his largest score on 888poker ever and he'll look to keep the string of impressive results going for Russia in the future.

Second place, and another hefty ROI, went to Australia's 'The_Hound', who turned $12 into $2,246. Just like 'VarVar7523', 'The_Hound' earned his largest cash on 888poker to date.

Finishing third in the Mega Dozen was the Netherlands' 'marconijssen', who banked $1,420. He too registered his largest online tournament cash on 888poker of his career, 118 times his buy-in.

Here were the top nine finishers in the $20,000 Mega Dozen:

1 'VarVar7523' (Russia) ($4,074)
2 'The_Hound' (Australia) ($2,246)
3 'marconijssen' (Netherlands) ($1,420)
4 Nabeninani (Latvia) ($1,107)
5 SAALAS (Iceland) ($898)
6 carioca550 (Finland) ($689)
7 KUSHorHAZE (Canada) ($532)
8 BEN_TIMOVER (Ireland) ($365)
9 Kubiszek (Poland) ($271)

Visit for the complete upcoming tournament schedule.

Super XL Series Starts September 17

In next week's weekend recap, we'll be talking about the kickoff events of the Super XL Series, which starts on September 17 and runs through September 25. There's $4 million in guaranteed prize money, up from $3 million in the last Super XL Series. There are 40 events total at a variety of buy-in levels, ensuring that players of any bankroll can be part of the action.

The centerpiece of the Super XL Series is the Main Event, which for the first time ever will carry a $1.5 million guarantee. The $1.5 Million Guaranteed Main Event has a $1,050 buy-in and runs alongside a Mini Main Event ($160 buy-in, $150,000 guaranteed), Micro Main Event ($5 buy-in, $15,000 guaranteed), Turbo Main Event ($109 buy-in, $30,000 guaranteed), and Super Turbo Main Event ($75 buy-in, $15,000 guaranteed).

Satellites are now available in the 888poker lobby.

About the Author
Chad Holloway is a 2013 WSOP Bracelet winner who has previously worked for PokerNews as a managing editor and live reporter
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