The Italian, Antonio Buonanno, goes into the penultimate day of action at the partypoker World Poker Tour Merit Classic North Cyprus as the only player to bag more than a million chips with just 30-players remaining.Who is going to win the partypoker World Poker Tour Merit Classic North Cyprus?
With just 30 players remaining, I think it’s time to have a punt.
For large stretches of Day 3, I thought the Everest Team Pro, Sam Trickett, was going to be a good value. Despite the money he has won during his career, the big three titles continue to elude him and when he found the luck he needed to overpower Alexander Lakhov, in a crucial pot, he also had momentum.
With blinds at 2,500/5,000 A500, Lakhov opened the action and Trickett called in position. The flop was [Ks] [Th] [9d], Lakhov bet 25,500 and Trickett once again called.
The turn card was the [Ac] and Lakhov – who had Trickett covered – moved all-in, and Trickett snap called. Lakhov held [Qs] [Jh] for Broadway, and Trickett held [Kc] [Kd] for a well-disguised set. Trickett was looking for some help and it arrived in the form of the [9h], to hand Trickett a boat.
That hand gave Trickett half a million chips and everyone who knows Trickett knows that he normally goes very deep when he has a stack. Unfortunately, after losing crucial pots to Nicolas Chouity and Yuri Salikaev, Trickett was eliminated by Lakhov KQ<AJ for a 31st place finish.
Toby Lewis also impressed me today.
In the run up to the bubble Lewis won a huge pot against Ali Hassan to take the chip lead, but at least six players would overtake him during the race to the end of the day.
Lewis is a magician. He has so many ways to win a pot that you never quite know where you are with the man, which is exactly why he is so bloody good. He is also a former EPT Champion. He knows how to get over the finishing line and that will surely help him as we start to get deep into the business end of the tournament.
Nicolas Chouity is another player who knows how to win a major title and just like Buonanno, Chouity did it in one of the biggest tournaments in the game – the EPT6 Grand Final for over $2.2m and change.
Chouity is not afraid to tangle with anyone, trusts in his game, and always seems to be involved in the major pots; one reason why his stack was up and down like a kangaroo on a trampoline today.
So is it going to be Lewis or Chouity?
I think both players definitely have the ability to win it, and are great bets to make the final table, but I am going to look no further than the man who has led both Day 2 & 3 – Antonio Buonanno.
Last year, we saw Alexey Rybin go wire-to-wire, and although Buonanno didn’t end Day 1 with the chip lead, it’s an incredible achievement to remain in command from 200+ players down to 30.
The man doesn’t seem to lose a pot, but most importantly he is on fire. His recent victory at the Grand Final has filled his blood with belief. He used to think he was a businessman who played poker as a hobby but today he believes he is a poker player who runs clothes shops as a hobby.
He already has a chip stack worthy of the final six and he will definitely make the final table, by which time it’s all down to how the luck rolls, and I think it’s going to roll the way of the green, white and red.
Day 4 of the partypoker World Poker Tour Merit Classic North Cyprus begins at 13:00 (CET) Tuesday, where we will play down to a final table of six. You can follow all the live updates, written by yours truly, on the WPT blog.