A 21-year-old Russian pro became the European Poker Tour's first Russian champion over the weekend when he took down the Euro 5 000 buy-in PokerStars EPT Kiev and claimed the main prize of Euro 330 000. Maxim Lykov survived an entry field of 296 players from 33 countries before facing Ukrainian Alexander Dovzhenko in the heads up.
It was an exciting run, with Lykov generally mastering the field from Day 2 and dominating much of the action through to the brief heads up. The win brings the young Russian's career winnings up to Euro 600 000.
Lykov intends entering many more EPT events with his expanded bankroll, providing more talent and daring for the railbirds in future events.
In a tournament that exhibited plenty of Slavic audacity and frequent all-ins, Vadim Markushevski from Belarus was the first casualty about an hour into the hectic action, bundled out by Dovzhenko. About half-an-hour later he was followed by German player Torsten Tent, who was sent home in 7th place with Euro 45 000 for his time and trouble after tangling with Lykov.
Lykov went on to take out Dutchman Ad Schaap, who's sixth placing was worth Euro 60 000. Play settled down for several hours before the next elimination, that of Lucasz Plichta of Poland, who was busted out by Vitaly Tolokonnikov in fifth place for Euro 80 000. Fourth place elimination was Arthur Simonyan – another victim of Dovzhenko who picked up a Euro 100 000 cheque for the 4th spot.
Following the dinner break the three handed action really fired up, with Tolokonnikov taken out by Lykov for a third place reward of Euro 140 000, clearing the way to the Lykov vs. Dovzhenko heads up, with Lykov holding a 2 to 1 chip advantage.
That chip stack superiority and a bold, aggressive style of play overwhelmed Dovzhenko despite a determined resistance, giving the title, an entry into the Grand Final in Monte Carlo, the trophy and the Euro 330 000 to Lykov, and leaving his Ukrainian opponent with a second placing.