Russian Beats World's Best in WSOPPublished June 3, 2009 by OCR Editor
Vitaly Lunkin claims $1.89m, the biggest prize pool outside of the Main Event.
Russian Vitaly Lunkin beat 200 of the world's best players to win a special World Series of Poker commemorative event in Las Vegas on Monday.
Lunkin, a 37-year-old poker professional, walked away with his second gold bracelet and $1.89 million after beating 23-year-old Las Vegas pro Isacc Haxton to win the 2009 World Series of Poker Special 40th Annual $40,000 No Limit Hold em tournament.
The battle between Lunkin and Haxton lasted 54 hands a more than three hours.
The Russian won the final hand with pocket aces to claim the biggest WSOP prize pool outside of a Main Event, beating a cast that included former WSOP Main Event winners Scotty Nguyen and Doyle Brunson and many of the world's top poker players.
"Every player at the table was a star and I knew about then, but now I saw them in a real tournament and I'm very happy that I had this chance to battle with them," Lunkin told reporters via a translator following the victory. "It was the most difficult poker tournament of my life."
This year's World Series of Poker runs from May 27 to July 15, including 57 bracelet events and culminating in the $10,000 No-Limit Hold'em Main Event.