Alexander Lakhov successfully navigated a field of nearly 250 players (including re-entries) in July and took home the title in the $2,2200 WPT National Merit Cyprus Main Event. That victory was good for $124,000, but it wasn’t enough for the 42-year-old Russian.
Back to Back
Lakhov came back for more as he registered for the WPT Merit Classic North Cyprus Main Event, contributing to the overall pool of 404 players who created just shy of $1.5 million in prize money. Once again, Lakhov dominated the field and ended up with all the chips in his possession – a bounty he exchanged for $310,000 in cold, hard cash together with a $15,400 ticket for the World Poker Tour World Championship at Borgata.
Outlasting the Four
The Russian player started the final table in very good shape, holding eighty big blinds in his stack. It was smooth sailing for him all the way to the heads-up stage. His compatriot, Igor Devkin, was first to depart in sixth place ($62,000), followed by Israeli player Ori Miler ($77,000) and Toby Lewis of UK ($102,820).
At this point, Nicolas Chouity of Lebanon and another Russian, Dmitry Gromov, were in the lead, while Lakhov was waiting for his chance. He wouldn’t wait long as Gromov opted for a bluff on a board reading #9h#kh#5s#3s. He check-raised all-in with nothing but a pair of deuces and when Chouity made the call holding #ks#qs, Gromov was left with just one out from the entire deck of cards.
But once again, poker demonstrated its cruel side as the dealer peeled #2d on the river, delivering the one-outer and sending the Lebanese player to the rail with $140,000 in prize money.
Heads Up Miracle
It was time for the two Russians to face the music and Gromov had a huge chip lead over his countryman. However, it was clearly Gromov’s tournament to lose, as his pocket Aces could not hold up against the Ace-Jack of Lakhov and that’s how his comeback started.
Lakhov continued to grind down his opponent and was eventually able to strike the finishing blow when his pocket Jacks held up against Gromov’s Ace-Deuce. The runner-up took home $215,000 for his efforts, which is nothing to be ashamed off – but Alexander Lakhov was the man of the hour as he successfully pulled back to back runs in Cyprus and will be battling it out with other winners at Borgata at the end of the season.