Nicolas Chouity leads the final table of the partypoker World Poker Tour Merit Classic in North Cyprus, but he won’t have everything his own way with Champions Club member Dmitry Gromov and former EPT Champion Toby Lewis also in the mix.
The penultimate day of the partypoker World Poker Tour Merit Classic North Cyprus Main Event was a tale of two former European Poker Tour Grand Final winners who don’t shy away from big pots.
This modus operandi worked out for one of them, but not so good for the other.
That pattern did not repeat itself on Day 4, as the Italian’s penchant for playing huge pots eventually conspired to eliminate him from the event. Buonanno calling a tournament defining five-bet jam, for over a million chips, at the 15k/30k blind level, with just pocket jacks. Ori Miller turning over the pocket kings to cripple Buonanno. Igor Devkin took him out two hands later.
In 2010, Nicolas Chouity, was the EPT Grand Final winner for a sumptuous sum of $2.2 million. Chouity will come into the final table as the chip leader, after getting on the right side of another huge pot against Oliver Price.
The hand occurred with blinds at 10k/20k. Chouity had just three-bet to 105k, on the button, before Price four-bet to 240k from the blinds. Chouity – who was holding ace-king – decided it was time to go for broke, and Price – who was holding pocket queens – made the call.
We were witness to one of the most dramatic run downs of the day. With over 2m in chips, and the chip lead in the offing, the dealer fanned [Qd] [Td] [5d] on the flop to hand Price a set, and Chouity a Broadway straight draw. That straight draw would then complete as the [Jd] hit the turn, and with neither player holding a diamond, Chouity’s straight was good enough to eliminate Price, and the Lebanese all-time money earner never relinquished that lead from thereon in.
So who will be joining Chouity at the final table?
The headline act is Toby Lewis. The former EPT champion, former Global Poker Index UK No.1, former PocketFives UK No.1 player, and Internet Player of the Year at the recent European Poker Awards will start with 27bb.
It’s Lewis’s second WPT final table, after finishing sixth in the Season XI LAPC Main Event, and he is arguably one of the most creative players at the final table.
Joining Lewis are three Russians: Dmitry Gromov, Alexander Lakhov and Igor Devkin.
Gromov is a former WPT Champion, after winning the WPT Vienna Main Event in Season IX, and he is the speed merchant amongst the group. Everything Gromov does is at break neck pace, adding a liveliness about the game.
Lakhov is the recent winner of the partypoker WPT National Merit Cyprus Main Event, and he also finished second to Marcin Wydrowski in the WPT Prague Main Event, back in Season XI, and finished ninth in this event last year.
Devkin is the baby of the bunch. He is the youngest, he has the least experience and the fewest cashes. He is the real underdog at this final table, and that’s compounded by the fact that he starts as the short stack with just 11bb.
The final seat goes to Ori Miller. The Israeli who vanquished Buonanno. He seems to be the most relaxed of the final six players but perhaps that has a lot to do with the fact that he has been playing with a stomach bug for the past three days.
Six players, from four countries, with three major titles between them. Poker fans are in for a treat when the action kicks off at 13:00 (local time). There are two ways to follow the action. The first is the live updates at WPT.com, and the second is the live stream at the same URL (with a 30-min delay).
Seat 1: Ori Miller – 2,270,000 (57 bb)
Seat 2: Nicolas Chouity – 4,390,000 (110 bb)
Seat 3: Igor Devkin – 435,000 (11 bb)
Seat 4: Dmitry Gromov – 815,000 (20 bb)
Seat 5: Toby Lewis – 1,085,000 (27 bb)
Seat 6: Alexander Lakhov – 3,130,000 (78 bb)