Image from: PokerNews.com
Russian poker player Alexander Lakhov won back-to-back partypoker World Poker Tour Merit Classic National & Main Event titles at the Merit Crystal Cover Hotel & Casino in Northern Cyprus.
Winning one World Poker Tour (WPT) event is special. Winning two inside the space of a few months, that’s quite extraordinary.
In July, the partypoker crew headed to the Merit Crystal Cove Hotel & Casino to host the $2,200 WPT National Merit Cyprus Main Event. 153 unique entries & 95 re-entries created a total prize pool of $631,120, and Alexander Lakhov beat them all to take the $124,161 first prize.
Fast forward to Sep and Lakhov was one of 404 entrants who contributed to the $1.48 million prize pool in the WPT Merit Classic North Cyprus Main Event. It was a step up in class but one that Lakhov made to once again top the field and take the title.
Lakhov’s victory comes two years after finishing runner-up to Marcin Wydrowski at the Season XI WPT Main Event in Prague. There were 567 of the very best players in the world in that event. Lakhov knows how to play poker.
The 42-year-old father of one, entered the final table with nearly 80bb, and there was only one point in the entire session that he needed help from the deck to save his skin.
That came during heads-up when facing a 3:1 chip deficit he found himself on the wrong end of an all-in against the WPT Champions Club member, Dmitry Gromov.
Gromov was holding pocket aces, and Lakhov [As] [Js] with five community cards stopping him from enduring another defeat whilst so close to the title. Fortunately, a jack on the flop, and a second jack on the river, gave Lakhov a lifeline; he grabbed it and never let go.
Gromov will be disappointed not to join the two-time WPT Champions club, but he will also be acutely aware how fortunate he was to be even facing Lakhov for the title.
When play was three-handed, Gromov made a critical error when he check-raised jammed in a hand against Nicolas Chouity on a board of [Kh] [9h] [5c] [3s] holding nothing but a pair of deuces.
Chouity made the call – holding [Ks] [Qs] – meaning only the [2d] could save Gromov from being crippled. The one outer duly arrived, the dangerous Chouity was ousted in third and Gromov got his chance to repeat his success of WPT Vienna back in Season IX.
Chouity was devastated with the loss. He started the day as the chip leader, and he was also responsible for the first two exits, after eliminating both Igor Devkin and Ori Miller.
By that time, if people were running a book, Chouity’s name would have been at the top of the page. That was until he met Gromov, and the story of the one outer.
Chouity was one of two former European Poker Tour (EPT) champions in the field, the other being Toby Lewis. You always get a good showing with Lewis, and he played great as usual, his play just lacking that little bit of luck that the deck seem to reserve for the two tall Russians.
Dmitry Gromov opened up the small blind, Toby Lewis jammed from the big blind holding ace-ten, and he was called, and beaten, by ace-jack. Pretty standard. Lewis had been there before, and he will be there again.
Congratulations to Alexander Lakhov.
The newest member of the WPT Champions club.
The tour now switches to the other side of the Atlantic for the WPT Borgata Poker Open Sep 14-19.