WPT Merit Cyprus Classic 2014

Alexandr Lakhov

lakhov newWPT Merit Cyprus Classic'14 (Sep 1st - Sep 11th, 2014)

The incredible back-to-back victory of the Russian poker player Alexander Lakhov of the World Poker Tour Merit Classic National & WPT Merit North Cyprus Classic’14 Main Event in the space of just a few months is simply extraordinary.
A 42-year old player Lakhov was one of 404 entrants in the $4,400 buy-in Main Event, which happens to be the largest-ever WPT Main Event held in Cyprus. He entered the final table second in chips but became not only a worthy winner during the 31st level played, but also the newest member of the WPT Champions club.

Have you ever thought that you could win two main events back-to-back in the same place?
No, of course, I have never imagined anything like this could have happened. Nobody would think I am sure. Even if a player joins the events in a certain place regularly and wins a main event once, he would never admit the second immediate victory possible.  This was an incredible chance!

Andrey Nikonov

andrey nikonovWPT Merit Cyprus Classic'14 (Sep 1st - Sep 11th, 2014)

Congratulations on your win! Would you, please, shortly introduce yourself?
I am 24 years old player from St. Petersburg, Russia. This is my seventh visit to Merit Poker during one year, so as you see, I am a very frequent visitor. Apart from Merit, I have been to various tournaments in Europe, like EPT in Barcelona and Prague; participated in different poker events in Kiev, Minsk and Odessa. I went to Italy, too.

How long have you been playing poker?
I started playing online poker when I was 19. After having gained some experience, I moved on playing live games, too. Now it is like 50/50 – I did not leave the online poker, in fact I enjoy both types. My live poker career began with small poker tournaments held in the nearest to Russia countries.

What was your biggest win during these years?
My biggest wins were first place at the RPT in Kiev, Ukraine, in 2012 and at the WPT Merit Classic in August 2013, where I came third in the Main Event.  This time I have won first place in WPT Super Hold’em and fifth place in Warm Up event of WPT Merit North Cyprus Classic’14.

Davidi Kitai

davidi kitaiWPT Merit Cyprus Classic'14 (Sep 1st - Sep 11th, 2014)

Congratulations on your third WSOP golden bracelet. How does it feel to be the first non-American player to win it this year?
Thank you, it feels great of course. I was the first European to win it this year and I was lucky to have won two bracelets in two years, so that is pretty amazing, too. Actually, the importance of it is not that I am a non-American, but that this is my third WSOP bracelet, which is a big accomplishment for me.

Was it a difficult task? How much effort did it cost you?
Yes, it was a difficult to win at the World Series of Poker six-handed no-limit Hold’em event, as there were more than 700 players competing. I think this was one of my best tournaments; I felt very confident during the three days of intensive competition and successfully completed the game with an amazing result.

What is your biggest motivator in poker?
I think it is the passion of the game – I really enjoy playing; I do not consider it a job, it is more like a hobby for me, this maybe the reason why it brings me so much satisfaction. The secret of success in life lies in a simple thing – love what you do to reach the top and to produce the best results. And this is exactly what I do, plus I work on myself and my game to improve and I learn a lot from my mistakes.

Dimitry Gromov

dimitry gromovWPT Merit Cyprus Classic'14 (Sep 1st - Sep 11th, 2014)

Our congratulations on your second place in WPT Merit North Cyprus Classic’14 Main Event! Would you, please, share your feelings with our readers?
Well, I am both happy and disappointed on winning the second place in the main event, it is normal reaction, I suppose. It was a tough game, several days of struggle left behind before I reached the final table, where I have lost with AA hand against AJ! This is an incredible misfortune.

How many times have you participated in Merit Poker events?
I started coming here from the beginning of the last year. This is my first visit this year, but ninth or even tenth time in total. My friends told me about this place, and I decided to play here too. As you can see, I really like it here. Merit Poker is run well, the service is perfect and in general, this is a beautiful place to have a holiday. All in one, so to speak.

Igor Devkin

igor devkin
WPT Merit Cyprus Classic'14 (Sep 1st - Sep 11th, 2014)

I am very happy to reach the final table of the WPT Merit North Cyprus Classic’14 and winning the 6th place at the event. As you know, I had the shortest stack on the table and was not lucky with hands, so although I have managed to double it up, when the bets raised, the right cards did not come and unfortunately lost all I had and had to leave the final table first. Nevertheless, it is perfect experience for me as a player. Anything can happen in poker - today you lose, tomorrow you will win. I played similar tournaments before, of course, but I have never been into money. That is why I am very pleased with myself this time.
I am 23 years old and have been playing for the last 5 years. I suppose being young helps me at the table. I can concentrate on the game and analyze the situation quicker and more sensibly.

Timofey Vekshin

timofey vekshinWPT Merit Cyprus Classic'14 (Sep 1st - Sep 11th, 2014)

I am 25 years old poker player from Russia. I started playing at 19, quite a long time ago, so I can say that I am an experienced poker player not a beginner any more. My poker career began with playing online games and then I switched to the live games, which I find more exciting. Most of the young players follow the same way in poker – they make their first steps by playing on the internet and only after having learnt and gained enough confidence, they move to the live poker tournaments. My first live poker tournament happened in Prague, Czech Republic and the next one in Lviv, Ukraine. The first tournament served me well in adopting to the peculiarities of the live gaming, so in Lviv I even won the Main Event. It was a really good start for my live poker career! I have not taken any lessons but studied quite a lot by reading about poker on the internet. There is no need for teachers or trainers any more, as there are loads of various types of information on the internet, so one can easily study and learn the game from different perspectives. Moreover, perhaps this is the reason why poker has become so popular nowadays. This is probably my 15th time in Merit Poker. I really like it and enjoy myself here. Compared to other places I have been to, the atmosphere is much friendlier here – the players are more like one big family; they mostly know each other and often gather after the game to discuss and share their experiences – the fact you cannot find anywhere else. I have a lot of friends and know many different people, visiting Merit Poker events – this is one of the reasons why I like to come here again and again.

Toby Lewis

toby levis
WPT Merit Cyprus Classic'14 (Sep 1st - Sep 11th, 2014)

Would you, please, introduce yourself shortly?
I am 24-years old poker player from London.

In your bio you said that you have started to play poker online and then moved to the live games. Which one do you prefer?
Well, I do not think I really have a preference. I like to play online games for some time and then it is nice to make a shift to the live ones and vice versa; it makes a change to play in turn.

What do you like the most in live poker and in online poker?
There is a lot more action in online poker, you can play many tables at the same time and it has more on the gaming aspect whereas the live poker is more a patience game, more strategic game, you have to get to know your opponents better rather than pay attention to the mathematical side of the strategies.  Live poker has to do a lot with psychology.

Do you get excited while playing online?
Yes, I do, surely.

William Dorey

william doreyWPT Merit Cyprus Classic'14 (Sep 1st - Sep 11th, 2014)

My name is William Dorey. I am 28 and live in London. I have been playing poker for 7 years already. It all started from playing online games and for the last three years, I have been playing live. Live poker is more exciting when you are getting hands but otherwise you have to be very patient, waiting for the right card to come. It is tough to say which of the games is more interesting, perhaps, live but only if you get the right hands, otherwise online has more action in it. The biggest motivator in poker for me is money and competition, equally.
My biggest win during these years, 47K, happened in Merit. It is actually my fifth time here. This is a wonderful place – the poker organization is perfect, the hotel with its beach and pool is very nice, one can have a good holiday here while playing the game. The atmosphere of Merit Poker is very friendly and relaxing. I have quite a few friends here, too.