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The latest World Series of Poker competition to conclude – event 36: $2,500 No-Limit Hold'em – required four days to decide, with Russian player Mikhail Lakhitov walking away with his first bracelet and $749,610 after besting an original field of 1,734, a tough final table and the eventual heads up with second-placed Hassan Babajane.
The 30-year-old Russian pro entered the heads up with a massive 9 million chip lead, despatching his opponent in just two levels at level 32 on the fourth day of a true endurance test of an event.
Lakhitov battled to survive on the third day as the field was whittled down to a hard-nosed final table and then to just five players when play halted after ten levels.
On the fourth day – Friday – the Russian pro returned to the felt with Thomas Middleton (chipleader),Thomas Miller, Eddy Sabat and Hasan Babajane.
Perhaps sensing that it was now or never, Lakhitov ignited on the fourth day to sweep all before him Friday night, enhancing both his reputation and career earnings, which now top a million dollars.
The big win also means that Lakhitov has supplanted Phil Hellmuth on this year's WSOP Player of the Year leaderboard. The Russian has achieved five cashes at this summer’s Series, and previously made a final table in the $5,000 NLHE event.
Babajane's runner up prize was a cool $463,480.