Day Four of the bwin sponsored WPT Merit Cyprus Classic has reached it’s dramatic conclusion, and only six players remain in contention for the $258,000 first prize and a place in the coveted WPT Champions Club.Alexey Rybin was the chip leader back on Day 1A, he was the chip leader at the end of Day 2, he was there again at the end of Day 3 and he will start the final table in the very same position. It’s not the first time that someone has gone wire-to-wire in a WPT event, but that doesn’t make the achievement any less spectacular. If Rybin could win this thing it would go down as one of the most dominant performances in WPT history.
Rybin is one of three Russians seated at this final table. One of them – Sergey Rybachenko – was eliminated from this competition by Rybin in the very last hand on Day 1A. It was an elimination that saw Rybin take the chip lead for the very first time, and cost Rybachenko a further €4,400 to re-enter on Day 1B. Rybachenko is one of Rybin’s main contenders and is by far the most experienced live tournament pro left in the field, with over one million in earnings spanning an eight-year career.
The third Russian is Andrei Nikonov, who has cashed in a WPT event for the second time in his career after reaching the money in WPT Prague last season. Nikonov became a force in this competition when he became one of the only players to catch Rybin with his hand in the cookie jar. It happened at the end of Day Three and if it wasn’t for the fact that Nikonov kept losing flips against the short stacks, yesterday, he would have been in a much stronger position than the one he finds himself in. Credit is due though, because despite doubling up those shorties he still comes into the final table third in chips.
The man closest to Rybin is the young Lebanese player Albert Daher. The young man is on fire after coming second in the Merit World Cup for $137,299 just a few weeks ago; an event that was held in this very casino. He is also the man responsible for the elimination of the former WPT Diamond Championship winner Natalya Nikitina, after out-flipping her TT v AQ during the 21st level of play yesterday. If anyone can topple the beass that is Rybin then it’s Daher.
Nobody has played more hands than Kayhan Tugrul at this final table. The man from Turkey is extremely fortunate to make the final table after getting his chips all in more than any other player at the final table, including all in JJ v QQ against Alexey Rybin when the board ran out for a perfect wheel to end the hand with a split pot. Quite unfortunate for the dealer as Rybin had promised her a $400 tip if she dealt a board that put Tugrul out of the competition. Tugrul is also the man responsible for breaking the heart of the PartyPoker Qualifier, Max Droege, after out flipping him in a blind battle with pocket eights versus ace-ten of diamonds. Sergey Rybachenko swooping in to pick the bones of that one when he crushed Droege’s pocket deuces with pocket tens to send the Canadian out of the contest at the final table bubble.
That leaves Pierre Sayegh, who at 54 years of age is the eldest player to make the final table. Sayegh will start as the short stack and don’t expect too much action from him. He is the most patient man on the final table and won’t be moving that stack into the middle unless he has a premium hand. Nobody plays fewer pots than Sayegh, but then again nobody has a better success rate either.
So that’s the final six players of the bwin sponsored WPT Merit Cyprus Classic. The final table will start at 13:00 (local time) and the all of the action can be found at WPT.com.