Russian Max Lykov entered the final day of the $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event at the World Series of Poker (WSOP) in Las Vegas as chip leader and never gave that position up as he collected the gold bracelet and $648,880 for his victory.
The 23-year-old poker pro from Moscow started the fourth and final day of event #54 with close to one-third of the chips in play to eventually see off Dror Michaelo in heads-up play to leave the American with $401,296 as runner-up.
Team PokerStars Pro Lykov – who became the third Russian to win a WSOP title this summer, following on from Viacheslav Zhukov and Arkadiy Tsinis – is now closing in on a triple crown, having already secured a European Poker Tour (EPT) title in Kiev.
Britain’s Warren Wooldridge ($288,946) came in third, while Canada’s Ren Ho Zhang ($213,539) and Norwegian Harald Olsen ($159,134) completed the top five from a tournament that had started with 4,576 entries to create a $4,118,400 prize pool.
Just nine players remained as play began last night at the Rio All-Suite Hotel & Casino, with another Russian, Stanislav Alehkin, hitting an early double-up when holding A♥ 9♣ against the A♣ 5♦ of Texas player Joshua Evans.
Quebec’s Sebastien Roy was the first to hit the rail, however, when he re-raised all-in with 8c-8s against Lykov’s K♥ Q♥, only for the Russian to river a broadway to send the Canadian out in ninth for $53,333.
Evans, who had been left crippled after doubling-up Alekhin, was out in eighth soon after for $69,230. He pushed all-in with J♦ 9♦ to find Malibu’s Michaelo holding K♠ K♣. Michaelo did, though, get something of a sweat on when the board showed 8♥ 5♦ 2♣ 3♠ – just avoiding the flush draw that would have doubled-up Evans.
Michaelo and Lykov now held the majority of the table’s chips, so Buffalo’s Douglas MacKinnon decided to go all-in with Q♠ 7♦, only to be faced by the Russian’s 7♥ 7♣. The American needed a queen, but the board came K♣ 9♦ 6♥ 2♥ 3♠ and MacKinnon was out in seventh for $90,604 as Lykov increased his chip lead.
Edmonton’s Ren Ho Zhang took down a huge pot in a coinflip showdown with Alekhin, before then dispatching the short stack in sixth for $119,598, when the Muscovite held K♦ Q♠ against the North American’s A♦ Q♥. No king came to leave us with just one Russian at the final table.
It was around this time that England’s Warren Wooldridge began to make his move, doubling through Lykov, before knocking out Bergen’s Olsen in fifth. Olsen, in the small blind, pushed with Q♥ 9♦ and London’s Wooldridge called with A♠ J♣. Neither player hit on a board of 10♣ 3♦ 7♠ 10♦ 5♦ as Wooldridge moved second in chips.
Ren Ho Zhang was out in fourth when Lykov called his all-in bluff on a missed straight draw. The former held 10♠ 9♥ to be up against the latter’s K♣ 6♣. The board came 8♥ 7♣ 4♣ K♠ 8♣ to give Lykov a king-high flush.
Wooldridge was eliminated in third after some tough three-handed play. The Brit got all his chips in the middle with A♣ J♦ to be faced by Lykov’s A♦ 9♦. The Englishman was well in front, but Lykov flopped a nine that held to give him a 2 to 1 chip lead over Michaelo as heads-up play began.
This match-up didn’t last long, however, with the Russian being paid off when he flopped the nut straight, before quickly dispatching the American when he got him all-in with his A♥ K♠ against his opponent’s K♣ 5♦.
Michaelo, on the button, had raised to 250,000, only for Lykov to slide in a re-raise of approximately 700,000. Michaelo announced all-in and Lykov snap-called.
Michaelo was, of course, well behind and needed some help to avoid busting out. The flop showed A♣ Q♣ Q♦ to make Lykov’s hand stronger and leave Michaelo drawing slim. The 9♠ turn sealed Michaelo’s fate, with the 7♠ river changing nothing.
The pair shared a friendly handshake before Lykov ran to his rail to hug his friends and celebrate his incredible victory.
Top 10 placings and payouts from the WSOP 2011 $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em event:
1. Maxim Lykov (Russia) – $648,880
2. Dror Michaelo (USA) – $401,296
3. Warren Wooldridge (UK) – $288,946
4. Ren Ho Zhang (Canada) – $213,539
5. Harald Olsen (Norway) – $159,134
6. Stanislav Alekhin (Russia) – $119,598
7. Douglas MacKinnon (USA) – $90,604
8. Joshua Evans (USA) – $69,230
9. Sebastien Roy (Canada) – $53,333
10. Mario Doria (Australia) – $41,389