When this very writer sat down with Sergey Rybachenko at the World Poker Tour (WPT) stop in Cyprus, a fortnight ago, he said that Russian poker players were amongst the very best in the world.
Since that statement we have seen Alexey Rybin win the WPT Merit Cyprus Classic, and now Vitaly Lunkin has followed up that success with victory in the €48,000 No-Limit Hold’em Super High Roller at EPT10 Barcelona; a victory that has earned him €771,300 in prize money.
“I’m really happy. Until this summer, I hadn’t really played any big tournaments for about three years, but I decided to play the World Series and finished 46th in the Main Event. This helped me regain some confidence in my game so I sold some shares to friends – and came to Barcelona in a very good mood. I respect Erik a lot – we’ve known each other for many years.” Lunkin told the PokerStars blog shortly after his win.
It’s well documented that World Series of Poker (WSOP) November Niner’s continue their streak whilst they twiddle their thumbs waiting for the big day. JC Tran earned half a million as the runner-up to Steven Silverman at the inaugural WPT Alpha8 Super High Roller event held in Florida last week, and Amir Lehavot made a deep run in the $10,000,000 Guaranteed Championship held in the same arena.
David Benefield made it three WSOP November Nine deep runs when he made the final table of the EPT10 Super High Roller, and he doubled up through Ole Schemion in one of the first few hands of the day. It was a cooler with pocket aces holding up against the ace-king-suited of the German and Raptor avoided a rather expensive bubble.
Timothy Adams was not so fortunate when he moved all-in from the hijack holding [Ks] [9s]. Erik Seidel looking down at pocket queens, in the big blind, and a very quick called followed. Adams eyes lit up when a king on the flop gave him a 87% chance of winning the hand, only to see the board run out with a club four flush to hand Seidel the win as he was holding the [Qc]. Adams was the bubble boy.
No Super High Roller would be the same without a member of the Reinkemeier gang in tow, and this time it was Fabian Quoss who was representing the team of High Rollers. Quoss would have to settle for seventh place, and €128,515, after he moved all-in over a Mike ‘Timex’ McDonald raise holding king-queen-suited, and Timex called with the dominating ace-king-suited – an ace on the river condemning Quoss to defeat.
German then followed German as the impressive Ole Schemion departed in sixth spot for €159,200. Pocket fours running into the might of pocket aces and the EPT9 Grand Final winner, Steve, O’Dwyer, to halt Schemion’s meteoric rise.
Benefield was out in fifth when he moved his last few shillings into the middle holding [Ad] [6d] and the cool, calm Russian, Vitaly Lunkin, made the call holding ace-ten. The kicker played and Benefield was pocketing €208,150 as he headed to the rail.
The dangerous Timex was out in fourth in very unfortunate circumstances. The former EPT champion opened the action holding [Kd] [Qd], Lunkin called in the small blind with pocket sixes and O’Dwyer did likewise in the big holding [Kh] [Js]. The dealer gave them a flop of [Qh] [Qs] [6d] and you can guess the rest from there. All the money went in on a turn card of [8s], by which time O’Dwyer was safely out of the hand. Timex picked up €269,400 and Lunkin was building a head of steam.
The EPT9 Grand Final Champion was out in third spot. O’Dwyer calling a three-bet from position holding [Ts] [9s] in a hand against Seidel, and then catching enough of the board to see him stake all of his chips on his hand. The flop was [Jd] [Td] [4c] and with Seidel holding aces he was going nowhere. O’Dwyer earned €355,100 for that finish and his chips gave Seidel a 9m to 3.8m chip advantage as he entered the heads-up phase against Lunkin.
Lunkin needed some luck and he got it within the first sequences of action. Lunkin making a move with [Ah] [7s] and Seidel was ready and waiting with his pocket queens. An ace on the flop turning the tables and suddenly we were level. Lunkin worked his momentum to his benefit andit wasn’t long before he was hammering away at the Seidel stack until the American open shipped king-queen and Lunkin found the call with ace-five. An ace on the flop sending Seidel out in second place for €557,000 and Lunkin was victorious.