Gabriel Schoucair

schoucairMiddle East Tour ( Oct 30th - Nov 10th, 2014 )

Congratulations on your victory! Would you, please tell us about yourself.
My name is Gabriel Schoucair, I am twenty-six years old and my every trip is to Cyprus, to play Texas Hold’em in Merit. I have been playing poker just for 3-4 years but consider myself as a successful player.  I studied business management and graduated three years ago.

Did you take any poker lessons?
No, I did not take any lessons but I read a couple of books on poker and practiced; I play too much.  Although I play online poker too, it is not my favorite. I prefer the live game, cash game and tournaments. You can get bored easily online; it is too automatic, at least for me.

You have been very successful with Warm Up events. Is it the kind of luck you have, or is it a coincidence?
Well, I do not know what it is but definitely not luck. I just play a lot. I wish I won the Main Event. Last four tournaments in a row I played here in Merit Poker, I have won Warm Ups, it just happened this way.

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Makram Saber

saberMiddle East Tour ( Oct 30th - Nov 10th, 2014 )

Congratulations on your victory! Would you, please tell us about yourself? How long have you been playing poker?
I have been playing poker for five years exactly. I started playing the 5-card poker first and then I was introduced to Texas Hold’em. Everything began with small tournaments, but now I am retired and travel everywhere to join various poker events. This is my favorite hobby, which I do to enjoy, not to earn money.

How did you learn Texas Hold’em? Did you take any lessons?
Well, as I said I used to play poker and Texas Hold’em is very much the same. Once you know the strategies and peculiarities of poker, it is easy to learn another type of it. I just played with my friends first to get the practice; that is all.

When did you start coming here, to Merit Poker?
I have discovered Merit Poker in 2009, and have been coming here to play in the events since. I like it very much; it feels like home. The staff is very efficient and friendly and the President of Merit Poker, Ms. Songul welcomes us with all the warmth and most of the Lebanese players feel very comfortable here.

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Özgür Arda

ardaMiddle East Tour ( Oct 30th - Nov 10th, 2014 )

Congratulations on your second place in the Warm Up event. Would you, please tell us about yourself?
I started playing poker with my friends in 2009 and from the year 2010, I proceed to play professionally.  Apart from playing online poker, I join various poker tournaments held in Cyprus and Europe. This year I have played the live events more often as I have more time now. The last four years everything has been going smoothly. I come to Merit frequently; to be more exact, I came here for the first time five years ago as an amateur and since then I have hardly missed a tournament held here.

What other countries did you visit to play in the tournaments?
Last year I have played in almost all of the EPTs, except for Monte Carlo. If no problem arises, I am going to visit Prague one month later. I have been participating in all the EPT events for the last two years. Although I was not very successful apart from Barcelona, the results are still not bad. In two different events held on the same day in Barcelona, I have reached the final tables, and won the 3rdand the 7thplaces. This was fantastic; it was a very pleasant day. Becoming the ‘bubble’ after my return back here was very upsetting, though.

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Alexandr Lakhov

lakhow3Middle East Tour ( Oct 30th - Nov 10th, 2014 )

Congratulations on your victory! What do you feel?
I am incredibly happy and satisfied with myself. To win the first place is always important for a player, especially if the opponents are very good.

We know that you are a great fan of Merit Poker. Can you tell us why?
Yes, you are right, I just love it here. As soon as I discovered Merit Poker, I have been visiting Cyprus to join various poker events held in Crystal Cove. This is an incredible place – we are just like one big family, where everyone is friendly and charming. I have to say that Merit Poker is a unique place, too. A player has no worries here – where to eat, where to enjoy, how to spend his free time – everything is just right at his fingertips. We can meet with friends to discuss the events, we can watch football or play billiards – you name it. What else can a poker player wish? Nowhere else in Europe, you can find the opportunity to get everything, absolutely everything included in a package!

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Aleksey Arakelov

arekelovMerit Fall Open 888 Live 2014 (Oct 8th - Oct 14th, 2014)

Congratulations on your success! You are the winner of the Merit Fall Open 2014 Main Event. Would you, please shortly introduce yourself.  
My name is Aleksey Arakelov. I am a 38-years old poker player from Balashiha, Russia. I have been playing Texas Holde’em for the last eight years. As it often happens, once I went to casino in Moscow with my friends eight years ago, saw people playing Texas and decided to try, too. Although I always play something, Texas Hold’em became my favorite and at first, I spent at the poker table days and nights. Now the interest ceased but I play when the opportunity and time permit.  

When did you start coming to Merit Poker events and where else in the world did you play? What was your biggest win?
My first visit to Merit Poker events happened less than a month ago, this is my second time. I did not travel abroad much, did not have the chance to participate in poker tournaments around the world. I have been to London once in 2009, a couple of times in Kazakhstan and twice in Cyprus. This is my biggest win until now. In May this year, at the Main event of WPT National Kazakhstan, Astana we have divided the pot between the three of us.  I have played only 8 tournaments like this one. It all depends – some players actively participate in the events and play for years, sometimes without any visible result; others start winning straight away – it all depends on the chance and luck, even more than on your skills and knowledge.

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