Maxim Victorious

Maxim Lykov Wins First WSOP Gold Bracelet

New Champion Turns $1,000 Investment into $648,880

Lykov Becomes Third Russian Champion at 2011 WSOP

Full House at the 2011 WSOP -- Tournament Attendance Currently on a Record Pace

54 Gold Bracelets Won – Four More Events Still to Go

WSOP Main Event Championship Begins Thursday at Noon


Poker and history sometimes provide interesting comparisons.

Most of the poker players who entered the latest World Series of Poker tournament and were confronted by a relatively unknown Russian poker pro named Maxim Lykov had absolutely no idea who they were up against.  But over the course of the four-day battle, a select few out of the initial army that started off in the thousands became increasingly aware of what the type of adversary blockaded the path to victory. 

A more elite battalion of players who made it all the way to the final table gradually discovered just how stacked the odds were against them.  Those who survived the longest by overcoming 4,576 proverbial soldiers who began the campaign must have felt like Napoleon Bonaparte standing in the wintry streets of Moscow during the epic French invasion of Russia.

In September 1812, Napoleon and his conquering troops looked around the deserted Russian capital which had been theirs for the taking.  The Russians offered surprisingly little military resistance.  The big trouble for Napoleon and his massive million-man army was -- they thought the battle was over.  But in reality, the war was just beginning.  By year’s end, not only would Napoleon be far removed from the center of Moscow; all French troops would be entirely erased from the Russian heartland.  It was a stunning turnaround of epic proportions.  

That’s pretty much how things turned out for eight poker players named Dror Michaelo, Warren Wooldridge, Ren Ho Zhang, Harald Olsen, Stanislav Alekhin, Douglas MacKinnon, Joshua Evans and Sebastien Roy -- who ended up finishing in second- through ninth-place, respectively.  These players made it all the way to the final table -- a remarkable accomplishment.  They came out on top of the largest WSOP tournament field of the entire year.  But in end, victory was not just fleeting.  Defeat seemed inevitable.

The new Russian conqueror is Maxim Lykov.  He is a 23-year-old professional poker player from Moscow.  This marks the third year Lykov has attended the WSOP.  His victory in the $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament (Event #54) was as close to a foregone conclusion as is possible in a poker tournament.  During the final table, he was the chip leader from start to finish.

Lykov defeated all challengers, ultimately winning a whopping $648,880 in prize money – not bad for an initial investment of only $1,000.  He also received his first WSOP gold bracelet, the ultimate achievement in the game of poker.  Lykov became the third Russian WSOP champion at this year’s WSOP.  The previous winners were Viacheslav Zhukov and Arkadiy Tsinis.

Lykov took a businesslike approach to his conquest.  Afterward, he stated the prize money would go into his bankroll -- nothing more, nothing less.  To Lykov, victory was a foregone conclusion.

Some 199 years ago, the Napoleonic Wars ended.  Some might say that the final result was predictable.  The Russians won. 

Indeed, history does have a way of repeating itself.

For a comprehensive recap of Event #54, please visit the tournament portal page HERE.


The 2011 World Series of Poker $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em champion is Maxim Lykov, from Moscow, Russia.

Lykov is a 23-year-old professional poker player.

Lykov was born in Moscow.

Lykov studied engineering in college for three years before taking a break and deciding to play poker full time.

Lykov speaks both Russian and English fluently.

Lykov won the European Poker Tour’s championship in Kiev, held in 2009.

This marks the third straight year Lykov has attended the WSOP.

For his victory, Lykov collected $648,880 for first place.

According to official records, Lykov now has 1 win, 2 final table appearances and 6 in-the-money finishes at the WSOP. 

Lykov currently has $851,009 in career WSOP winnings.

Lykov is to be classified as a professional poker player (in WSOP records and stats).  He has been playing full-time for about two years.

Lykov is playing in the WSOP Main Event Championship.  He will play in Day 1-A, which begins the day after his victory.


On the feeling after winning his first WSOP gold bracelet:

“It’s amazing.  I think about the time when I first started to play poker.  It was my dream.  I am very glad to win.”

On his future goals:

“It’s very good to win.  I have more money.  But now, I need to win the Main Event (laughing).”

On Russians emerging as great poker players:

“We are all friends because we all started playing about the same time, five to six years ago.  Everybody is congratulating me.  We are very close.”

On what he expects will happen in Russia with regards to poker in the coming years:

“It’s a very difficult question to answer, because it all depends on the governments.  It’s up to them to decide how poker is going to be.”


The official final table was comprised of the top nine finishers. 

The final table contained no former gold bracelet winners.

Five different nations were represented at the final table – Canada (2 players), Great Britain (1 player), Norway (1 player), Russia (2 players) and the United States (3 players). 

The runner up was Israeli-born Dror Michaelo, who now lives in Malibu, CA.  He collected $401,296 in prize money.

Final table play began on Wednesday at 3:30 p.m.  Played concluded about 5 hours later (playing time wise) at 8:30 p.m. 

Action was streamed live over  Viewers can tune in and watch most of this year’s final tables.  Although hole cards are not shown, viewers can follow an overhead camera as well as a pan-shot of the table.  The floor announcer provides an official account of the action. 


The top 468 finishers collected prize money.  This was the largest number of players paid for any event held so far at the 2011 WSOP.

Tournament results are to be included in all official WSOP records.  Results are also to be included in the 2011 WSOP “Player of the Year” race.

“WSOP Player of the Year” standings can be found at HERE.


This tournament attracted 4,576 entries.

There were two starting days in order to accommodate the huge field size.  Day One was grouped into an A flight and a B flight.

This is the 946th gold bracelet awarded in World Series of Poker history.  This figure includes every official WSOP event ever played, including tournaments during the early years when there were no actual gold bracelets awarded.  It also includes the 16 gold bracelets awarded to date at WSOP Europe (2007-2010).  Moreover for the first time ever, one gold bracelet was awarded for this year’s winner of the WSOP Circuit National Championship.

The official WSOP gold bracelet ceremony takes place on the day following the winner’s victory (or some hours later when the tournament ends very late).  The ceremony takes place inside The Pavilion, which is the expansive main tournament room hosting all noon starts this year.  The ceremony begins at the conclusion of the first break of the noon tournament.  The ceremony usually starts around 2:20 p.m.  The national anthem of the winner’s nation is played.  The entire presentation is open to the public and media.  Video and photography is permitted by both the public and members of the media.

Lykov’s gold bracelet ceremony is set to take place on Saturday, July 9th.  The national anthem of Russia will be played in honor of his victory – which takes place during Day 1-C of the Main Event.


Through the conclusion of Event #54 the 2011 WSOP has attracted 64,938 combined total entries; $115,094,460 in prize money has been awarded to winners. 

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of nationality of gold bracelet winners has been:

United States (33)

Canada (5)

Ukraine (4)

France (4)

Great Britain (3)

Russia (3)

Brazil (1)

Pakistan (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the national origin (birthplace) of winners has been:

United States (29)

Canada (5)

Ukraine (4)

France (4)

Great Britain (3)

Russia (3)

Israel (1)

Honduras (1)

Indonesia (1)

Germany (1)

Brazil (1)

Pakistan (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the home-states of (American) winners have been:

California (6)

New York (6)

Nevada (5)

Texas (3)

Florida (2)

Illinois (2)

Connecticut (2)

New Jersey (1)

Tennessee (1)

Indiana (1)

Maryland (1)

Virginia (1)

Michigan (1)

North Dakota (1)

Washington (1)

Ohio (1)

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the breakdown of professional poker players to semi-pros and amateurs who won gold bracelets has been:

Professional Players (42):  Jake Cody, Cheech Barbaro, Eugene Katchalov, Allen Bari, Harrison Wilder, Matt Perrins, Sean Getzwiller, Viacheslav Zhukov, David Diaz, Andrew Badecker, Tyler Bonkowski, Brian Rast, John Juanda, Aaron Steury, Darren Woods, Jason Somerville, Bertrand Grospellier, John Monnette, Elie Payan, Mark Radoja, Chris Viox, Dan Idema, Andy Frankenberger, Chris Lee, Sam Stein, Mark Schmid, Jason Mercier, Mikhail Lakhitov, Fabrice Soulier, Mitch Schock, Matt Jarvis, Justin Pechie, Ben Lamb, Rep Porter, Andre Akkari, Joe Ebanks, Lenny Martin, Athanasios Polychronopoulos, Antonin Teisseire, Matt Matros, Marsha Wolak. Maxim Lykov

Semi-Pros (5):  Sean R. Drake, Amir Lehavot, Oleksii Kovalchuk, Eric Rosawig, Arkadiy Tsinis

Amateurs (7):  Geffrey Klein, Foster Hays, James Hess, Kirk Caldwell, Ken Griffin, Owais Ahmed, David Singontiko

Since tracking first started in 2005, this year’s WSOP has the greatest disparity of professionals winning over semi-pros and amateurs than any year recorded, so far – with 47 out of 54 events being won by pros or semi-pros.

Through the conclusion of this tournament, the victories of 11 of the 54 winners (20 percent) marked the first time the new champion had ever cashed at the WSOP.

Every WSOP held over the past 11 years has included at least one multiple gold bracelet champion (meaning two or more wins within the same year).  The last year the WSOP was comprised exclusively of single-event winners was back in 1999.  The record for most multiple gold bracelet winners within a single year was in 2009, when five players managed to win two or more titles.  So far this year, no player has yet won two gold bracelets.

The streak of consecutive male WSOP gold bracelet winners is currently at 210 consecutive events.  Aside from the annual Ladies Poker Championship, the last female player to win a WSOP tournament open to both sexes was Vanessa Selbst, in 2008.  The longest “cold” streak for female players occurred between years 1982 and 1996, when 221 consecutive open events passed without a female champion.

The highest finish by any female (open events) at this year’s WSOP was by two players.  Maria Ho finished second ($5,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em).  Kim Nguyen also finished as the runner up ($1,500 buy-in Six-Handed Limit Hold’em).

The highest finish by any defending champion at this year’s WSOP was by David Baker, who after winning the previous $10,000 buy-in No-Limit Deuce-to-Seven Draw Lowball World Championship finished in sixth place in defense of his title.

Reigning world poker champions rarely perform well the following year after their victory.  Chris “Jesus” Ferguson was the last world champion to win a gold bracelet the next year, which happened in 2001.  Perhaps it’s due to the increasing size of the fields.  But there’s also great pressure on the champions to do well.  What follows is a list of the only world champions in history to win a gold bracelet after winning the championship during the previous year:

Johnny Moss (1975)

Doyle Brunson (1977)

Bobby Baldwin (1979)

Stu Ungar (1981)

Johnny Chan (1988)

Hamid Dastmalchi (1993)

Chris “Jesus” Ferguson (2001)

By contrast, players who make it to the final table of the Main Event Championship (November Nine) one year tend to do quite well in subsequent WSOP years.  Consider that last year, three former Main Event finalists won gold bracelets – Eric Buchman, Tex Barch, and Scott Montgomery.  This year, Matt Jarvis won his first gold bracelet one year after making it to the November Nine in 2010.

New tournament records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

Biggest Heads-Up tournament prize pool in history ($3,040,000) – Event #2

Largest live Omaha High-Low Split Tournament in history (925 entries) – Event #3

Largest live Six-Handed tournament in poker history (1,920 entries) – Event #10

Biggest Deuce-to-Seven tournament prize pool in history ($1,184,400) – Event #16

Largest live $1,500 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3157 entries) – Event #18

Largest live $1,000 buy-in No-Limit Hold’em tournament in history with single day start (3175 entries) – Event #20

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,332 entries) – Event #18 and Event #20

Largest live Pot-Limit Omaha tournament in poker history (1,071 entries) – Event #22

Largest Mixed-Game (Eight-Game Mix) in poker history (489 entries) – Event #23

Largest Seniors tournament in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Biggest Seniors No-Limit Hold’em championship prize pool in history ($3,376,800) – Event #30

Largest single-day live tournament start in poker history (3,752 entries) – Event #30

Largest consecutive-days starting field sizes in poker history (combined 6,580 entries) – Event #30/Event #32 (broke Event #18/Event #20 record from earlier in 2011 WSOP)

Largest four-consecutive days field sizes in poker history (2,500+3,752+2,828+3,144 =12,224 entries) -- Events 28, 30, 32, 34, June 16-19, 2011

Largest Mixed Pot-Limit tournament in history (606 entries) – Event #39

Biggest Pot-Limit Omaha prize pool in live poker history ($3,393,400) – Event #42

New player records set at the 2011 WSOP (to date):

The 35-year span between Artie Cobb’s first cash in this event (1976) and most recent cash in the same event (2011) represents the longest time span in WSOP history.  He accomplished this in Seven-Card Stud High-Low Split (Event #25).

Phil Hellmuth Jr. added to his record as the individual all-time leader in cashes (83) and final table appearances (42).

Howard “Tahoe” Andrew added to his record as the player with the longest consecutive streak of WSOP appearances (entering at least one event), currently at 38 years and counting (1974 to present).