Find Out How This Georgian Poker Mastermind Won $150k at Merit in Cyprus

Find Out How This Georgian Poker Mastermind Won $150k at Merit in Cyprus

A total of 121 players took their shot at the Merit Poker Gangster Series $5,300 High Roller hosted at the Merit Crystal Cove Hotel. Day 3 saw 22 players return to battle it out and play down to a champion.

When the dust settled after 10 hours of play it was Giorgiy Skhulukhiya who came out with the victory after a little luck and a lot of power poker. He was seen three-betting light, putting in river raises with air, and opening wide with blind aggression.

At one point he had one foot out the door while he was all in and at risk with his heads-up opponent, Aleksandr Kirichenko. With just 9% equity going to the river, Skhulukhiya spiked top pair to get a pure double, and it was all uphill from there. The next time he was all in was for the win.

Final Table Results

PlaceNameCountryPrize
1Giorgiy SkhulukhiyaGeorgia$149,200
2Aleksandr KirichenkoRussia$104,500
3Dawid SmolkaPoland$67,200
4Guo Liang WeiChina$49,750
5Natan ChauskinBelarus$37,300
6Clement BonnantFrance$29,850
7Liwei SunChina$24,800
8Huseyin AkgulTurkey$19,850
9Leonid SidelkovskiyRussia$14,900

Winners Reaction

After winning the match, Skhulukhiya was interviewed by Merit Poker commentator Ali Nejad with the assistance of a translator. When asked by Nejad what he attributes his success to, Skhulukhiya immediately cooked up a playful response about taking chips and throwing them farther than the other players.

That set the tone for the interview, and when Nejad inquired further about the Georgian's unique play style that leaves some players confused, Skhulukhiya explained how he's able to get away with something not everyone would accept as "right".

"By sleeping, sleeping, sleeping, then waking up and putting it into third gear by running over my opponents," he said with the aid of a translator.

Merit's Poker Room at the Crystal Cove Casino in Cyprus has quickly built up a reputation in the poker world as one of the premier poker rooms to play the game. After a successful EPT stop earlier this year, Merit keeps luring players back to the island in the Mediterranean Sea, this time with the notable Merit Poker Gangster Series.

As an avid trophy collector who travels the world, what enticed Skhulukhiya to make the voyage to Cyprus? "From the servers, the dealers, the organizer. I love Merit with all my heart and believe this is the best place to play poker," he said.

In the end, Skhulukhiya remained humble even after winning, being extremely thankful to the staff, his family, and friends. He concluded the interview by simply saying, "The time to party is starting now!

Nejad presented him with the prestigious Merit Poker High Roller Trophy, and Skhulukhiya headed towards the cage to claim the spoils of his victory.

There's over $4 million in guarantees during Merit Poker Gangster Series

Final Table Action

The final nine players kicked off the final table with Leonid Sidelkovskiy being knocked out after he moved all in from under the gun with ace-jack and could not improve against the ace-queen of Huseyin Akgul.

For the next few hours, all eyes were on Liwei Sun, who was working off a sub-ten big blind stack. Before his chips were ever used, multiple players found a double. Eventually, he found a hand worth playing for all of his betting discs, and he would earn the double to stay alive.

That cautious strategy would prove correct for Sun as he made one ladder when Akgul misread a small button open from the chip leader, Aleksandr Kirichenko. He moved all in with ace-four suited and was not able to improve against the jacks of his opponent. Akgul hit the rail in eighth place.

It was then Sun who would fall in seventh place when his jam with king-queen suited got snapped off by the red kings of Clement Bonnant. However, back-to-back unfortunate hands were the demise of Bonnant who doubled up Skhulukhiya and then lost another all in the very next hand.

The double-up and subsequent knockout of Bonnant, who finished in sixth place, proved to be the turning point for Skhulukhiya in this event. Skhulukhiya continued with the momentum and eliminated Natan Chauskin a little later at the hands of a cold deck. Chauskin, who had gone all in while playing blind versus blind, was outdone by Skhulukhiya's kings in the big blind, which sent him packing in fifth place.

Guo Liang Wei then got cooled off to fall when he flopped trips and Kirichenko went runner-runner flush to eliminate him in fourth place.

Three-handed play would then be quiet, but only for Dawid Smolka, who sat back and watched his two opponents absolutely go at it. Skhulukhiya was not shy about putting in a squeeze or a light open with his newly acquired stack. Unfortunately for him, Kirichenko played right back.

After the elimination of Smolka in third place, Kirichenko went into heads-up play with a substantial chip lead. They battled all the way to up to a pivotal hand where Skhulukhiya moved all in from the button and was going to the river with just 9% equity. Lucky for him, the perfect river card was in order. He spiked top pair and never looked back. The next time he was all in was when he was eliminating Kirichenko for the win.

Make sure to tune into PokerNews live coverage from Merit Cyprus as the Merit Poker Gangster Series rolls on.

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