Gold for Russia: Talking with Vitaly Lunkin

He has played recreationally for the past five years, but found himself sliding a little Alex Kravchenko said, "The $1,500 tournament is for you. You must play." Alex Kravchenko is the No. 1 player in Russia so I said of course I will play and I got lucky.

What are you going to do with the cash?

Vitaly Lunkin
Hold the gold!

One part I need to give to my partners who sent me here. But the other part now I can play a lot. I [had] money, but not enough to play a lot of tournaments like other poker players. Now I have a chance to play a lot. It's great. I am happy.

What did you think of the competition here in this event?

On the one hand this is such a big tournament with almost 3,000 people - it's such a big field. Then on the other side you see others playing Omaha and only strong people play there. The best players are there and there are a lot of strong players here, of course, but not as many.

Did you feel you were the best player here at the final table?

I played very good poker and my best game is heads-up so I felt good.

Did you ever get frustrated, particularly in that one hand where you got it all-in with the nut straight and three diamonds on the flop, only to see Brett Kimes call with second pair and suck out the chop when two more diamonds came?

No ... maybe a little. But you will not win unless you are the best player and I just continued to play.

Congratulations Vitaly. Any other thoughts?

Yes, I met a lot of great people here in America. I love America and I love poker.

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Lunkin had the chip lead throughout the final stages of this event and was clearly the class of the field. Once he got heads-up it was clear to most the win was inevitable. With his bankroll sitting at over $600k (or at least a good chunk thereof) and his plans to play a lot more poker, there may be no stopping him now.

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