WSOP 2011: Lykov leads Team Pros latest bracelet winners into Day 1B

wsop2011-thumb-blog.pngThe 2011 World Series of Poker boasted 58 events. Team PokerStars Pro won five of them. That's nearly nine percent of the WSOP bracelets awarded this year on the wrists of PokerStars' worldwide cabal of poker talent.

We here at the PokerStars Blog don't deny a little home team bias. We make our bread following around the big red spade and writing about the people who live their lives under the Stars flag. We'd be silly to pretend like we don't have a vested interest in seeing our folks perform well.

But, holy hell. Five bracelets for Team Pro in one series is no small accomplishment, alright? So, cut us a little slack.

Since this WSOP began a few weeks back, Eugene Katchalov, Jason Mercier, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier, Andre Akkari, and Max Lykov have all picked up bracelets. Combined they won nearly $2.4 million for their first place wins.

The latest of these was Lykov. Once an engineering student in Moscow, the Russian started playing online five years ago, Since depositing $80 online, he's become one of the biggest names in Russian poker. Since then, he's put up 25 live cashes. Among those are five first place finishes, including an European Poker Tour victory and his brand new WSOP bracelet. In total, he's picked up more than $2.5 million in live earnings since 2009.

Wednesday night as we prepared our bodies for the long main event run, Lykov took down a $1,000 no-limit hold'em event for nearly $650,000. To do it, he beat out more than 4,500 people.

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Lykov and friends celebrate his bracelet

Among the five Team Pro bracelet winners of 2011, three are in the field today. Katchalov, Akkari, and Lykov all have Day 1B tickets. The early action has seen Lykov drop down to about 2/3 his starting the stack after falling victim to an opponent's semi-bluff that got there on the river. Now down below 20,000, he's got some catching up to do in Level 2.

Players are now on a 20-minute break and will be back soon for Level 2 action.

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IN CONTEXT QUOTE OF THE HOUR
"I want to know where all these people find ten grand..."

EXPLANATION OF THE HOUR
Johnny Lodden explains how he went from 130,000 to 30,000 at the end of Day 1A.

RANDOM FACT FROM THE OFFICIAL MEDIA GUIDE OF THE HOUR
The $8,944,310 won by World Champion Jonathan Duhamel last year was more than three times the average Major League Baseball salary of $2.9 million for 2010.

iOVERKILL OF THE HOUR
A table in the purple section sees two players on their iPad and three more twiddling with their iPhones. Whatever happened to good, old-fashioned conversation?

CORPORATE ADDITION OF THE HOUR
A stall has been squeezed into the Amazon Room for thirsty players to buy their favourite beer of the WSOP. "Bet the taste," a sign implores them.

HAPPY ARGENTINE OF THE HOUR
Team PokerStars Pro Leo Fernandez, who us up to nearly 40,000 after his pot-sized 7,200 bet on a 8♣8♠5♦K♥J♥ board was called. Fernandez had A♣K♠ to take it down.