A terrific week of poker in beautiful Kyiv, Ukraine is in the books. Kyiv's own Alexander Dovzhenko made a valiant effort, but came up just shy of taking the trophy, falling in the end to the man who ended each day with the chip lead since Day 2, Russia's Maxim Lykov.
Lykov -- one of three Russians to make the eight-handed table -- carried a huge advantage into play today, his almost 2.6 million chips putting him nearly a million ahead of Vadim Markushevski of Belarus and Dovzhenko. All that changed quickly following a huge hand early on between Markushevski and Dovzhenko in which the Ukrainian picked up aces against Markushevski's kings. The aces held, and Markushevki was out in 8th. Suddenly Dovzhenko had seized the chip lead with over 3.8 million, a lead he'd keep the rest of the afternoon until after the dinner break.
A couple of short stacks soon followed Markushevski to the rail -- Torsten Tent (Germany) in 7th, Adrian Schaap (Holland) in 6th -- followed later in the afternoon by a couple more chip-depleted players, Lucasz Plichta (Poland) in 5th and Arthur Simonyan (Russia) in 4th.
When players returned from the dinner break, the gap between Dovzhenko and his two remaining competitors, Lykov and Vitaly Tolokonnikov (Russia), had closed considerably, with all three near the three million-chip mark. That changed quickly, however, when a preflop raising war got most of Lykov's stack in the middle and all of Tolokonnikov's. Lykov was racing with
against Tolokonnikov's pocket sevens. An ace turned, no seven saved Tolokonnikov, and they were down to two.
Lykov was the clear aggressor during the two dozen hands or so of heads-up play, claiming most hands with raises (or reraises) before the flop. Finally the Ukrainian picked a spot to push all of his chips in the middle with
on a jack-high board. Unfortunately for him, there were two fours on board as well, fitting all too well with the four in Lykov's hand. The river blanked out, and Lykov won the first EPT trophy of season six, plus that nifty €330,000 first prize.
Thanks for following our coverage this week from Kyiv, Ukraine. And kudos to the tournament staff for pulling together a fantastic, memorable event on such short notice. Farewell from Kyiv! Next stop, Barcelona!