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Main Event

Event Info

Prize Pool $1,000,000
Players 262

Level Info

Level 28
Blinds 30,000 / 60,000
Ante 10,000
Main Event
Day 5 Completed

Alexey Rybin Wins the bwin WPT Merit Cyprus Classic! ($258,000)

Homer • Level 28: 30,000-60,000, 10,000 ante
Alexey Rybin, 2013 bwin WPT Merit Cyprus Classic Champion
Alexey Rybin, 2013 bwin WPT Merit Cyprus Classic Champion

The 2013 bwin WPT Merit Cyprus Classic lasted six days at the Merit Crystal Cove Hotel and Casino. Alexey Rybin led the way after each one of them. The Russian businessman, who missed a big meeting in Monte Carlo to play the final table in Cyprus, endured the toughest day of his tournament on Wednesday but still managed to claim victory and the top prize of $258,000.

Rybin started off the final table unusually passive and almost out of sorts compared to how aggressively he'd played the earlier days. However, a late rally three-handed saw him cooler compatriot Andrei Nikonov with ace-queen against ace-jack to take back the chip lead going into a heads up battle against Albert Daher, who finished runner-up for $160,200.

Lebanese player Pierre Sayegh was the first player to be eliminated on Wednesday. The oldest player in the tournament was also both the shortest stack and considered the tightest player left. Sergey Rybachenko had opened preflop with Daher calling before Sayegh squeezed all in. The Russian folded but Daher called with {7-Hearts}{7-Diamonds} and won the flip against Sayegh's {A-Clubs}{9-Clubs} on a {J-Hearts}{2-Hearts}{K-Diamonds}{J-Hearts}{J-Spades} board.

Sergey Rybachenko, the most experienced of the three Russians on the final table, managed an early double up through Daher and for a moment the young Lebanese player could no longer afford to be the most aggressive player at the table. Rybachenko meanwhile couldn't hold onto his newly won chips and ended up five-bet folding {K-Clubs}{10-Clubs} into Andrei Nikonov's aces.

Eventually, Daher got his chips back from Rybachenko in a huge pot but he was very lucky to do so. Rybachenko was crippled by this and barely a couple of hands later he was all in with {10-Diamonds}{10-Clubs} against Daher's {K-Clubs}{K-Diamonds} and couldn't spike on the {8-Clubs}{Q-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{K-Hearts}{9-Diamonds} board.

After losing with {A-Spades}{10-Hearts} to Rybin's {A-Hearts}{K-Diamonds}, Turkish player Kayhan Tugrul was left nursing a microstack. Tugrul was all in with {Q-Clubs}{J-Spades} against Nikonov's {K-Diamonds}{J-Hearts} and Rybin's {3-Spades}{3-Diamonds} and the latter made a boat on the {4-Spades}{7-Hearts}{4-Diamonds}{3-Hearts}{5-Clubs} board to leave us with two Russians and a Lebanese player left.

Three-handed play lasted a while, as Daher and Nikonov exchanged the chip lead a couple of times while Rybin saw his stack drop down to only 12 big blinds at one stage. But after Rybin won successive big pots, including a double up, the stacks became much more even.

Rybin's ascent and eventual victory came down to two big pots, firstly he coolered Nikonov in a pot that also gave him back the chip lead for the heads-up battle against Daher.

The second saw a three-bet pot where Daher flopped top pair with {A-Spades}{3-Diamonds} on a {K-Hearts}{A-Diamonds}{J-Hearts} board but Rybin had a monster in {A-Hearts}{K-Diamonds}. When Rybin instantly moved all in on the {2-Diamonds} turn, Daher found himself levelled into calling and was drawing dead. Left with just six big blinds, Daher managed to double up twice and there looked like a genuine chance that he could pull off some sort of amazing comeback. But the third time was the charm for Rybin, his ace-five besting Daher's king-nine for the $258,000 first prize, the seat at the WPT Championship next year, and most importantly the WPT title.

2013 WPT Cyprus Merit Classic Final Table Payouts

1Alexey Rybin$258,000*Russia
2Albert Daher$160,200Lebanon
3Andrei Nikonov$103,700Russia
4Kayhan Tugrul$75,600Turkey
5Sergey Rybachenko$56,600Russia
6Pierre Sayegh$46,000Lebanon

*Includes $25,000 seat at the WPT Championship

We'll leave you with an interview with the man himself, WPT Champion Alexey Rybin talking to PokerNews' Laura Cornelius.

Photo courtesy of the WPT

Tags: Alexey RybinWPT Cyprus Final Table

Albert Daher Eliminated in 2nd Place ($160,200)

Yardley • Level 28: 30,000-60,000, 10,000 ante
Alexey Rybin and Albert Daher embrace.
Alexey Rybin and Albert Daher embrace.

Albert Daher opened for 120,000 on the button with {k-Spades}{9-Clubs}, Alexey Rybin moved all in from the big blind with {a-Spades}{5-Hearts} and Daher made the call. The flop came {10-Hearts}{7-Spades}{a-Hearts}{7-Clubs}{2-Clubs} and Daher’s hopes were ended. We had a new WPT Cyprus champion in Alexey Rybin.

Perhaps Daher’s call with the {k-Spades}{9-Clubs} was a reflection of the frustration at how the last half hour had played out. He had made a hero call with top pair against Rybin’s turn shove earlier and that was the key pot heads up. The main story will rightly be about Rybin leading the tournament all the way, but huge credit must go to Daher for the way he has played throughout the tournament and some of the amazing decisions he made in marginal spots.

Congratulations on second place Daher.

Alexey Rybin ru 7,860,000 700,000
Albert Daher lb Busted

Daher Does it Again.

Yardley • Level 28: 30,000-60,000, 10,000 ante
Albert Daher
Albert Daher

Alexey Rybin raised from the button with {a-Hearts}{6-Hearts} Albert Daher shoved with {2-Diamonds}{2-Spades}. Rybin called and we saw the board run out {5-Diamonds}{5-Diamonds}{8-Spades}{k-Spades}{3-Spades}. On the turn Rybin chanted “Ace, eight, six.” but it didn’t help. A little more wriggle room now for Daher. Can he force his way back into contention?

Rybin Doubles, Daher Crippled

Yardley • Level 28: 30,000-60,000, 10,000 ante

Albert Daher opened for 120,000 with {a-Spades}{3-Diamonds} and was raised by Alexey Rybin in the big blind with {a-Hearts}{k-Diamonds} to 400,000. Daher called and they saw a flop of {k-Hearts}{a-Diamonds}{j-Hearts}. Rybin bet 515,000 and Daher called. The turn was the {2-Diamonds} and Rybin quickly moved all in. Daher thought for a long time and made the call. The river was no help and Daher was crippled.

Alexey Rybin ru 7,460,000 3,360,000
Albert Daher lb 300,000 -3,450,000

Andrei Nikonov Eliminated in 3rd Place ($103,700)

Homer • Level 28: 30,000-60,000, 10,000 ante
Andrei Nikonov
Andrei Nikonov

Alexey Rybin raised to 125,000 preflop with {A-Diamonds}{Q-Spades}, Andrei Nikonov three-bet to 350,000 holding {A-Clubs}{J-Hearts}and Rybin moved all in. Nikonov quickly called.

The flop came {8-Diamonds}{6-Clubs}{10-Spades} which helped neither player, the {2-Spades} turn didn't offer anything else and the {3-Diamonds} river meant that Nikonov was out in third place.

Rybin's rehabilitation is complete, his stack dropped like a stone earlier today but the momentum in the last twenty minutes has all been his and he's now heads up for the title in the position he knows the best, the chip leader.

Alexey Rybin ru 4,100,000 1,425,000
Albert Daher lb 3,750,000 400,000
Andrei Nikonov RU Busted

Tags: Alexey RybinAndrei Nikonov

Gently Does It

Yardley • Level 28: 30,000-60,000, 10,000 ante

Three handed, and they are playing pretty cautiously now. Albert Daher is the most active player, raising consistently from the button, but they all have playable stacks and no one player is getting out of line. Alexey Rybin, interestingly, has shown the table nearly every hand he has won a pot with. Will this information he is giving away come back bite him?