Russian Lakhitov Takes First Bracelet and POY Lead

Mikhail Lakhitov WSOP Winner2
Lakhitov's first bracelet and second for Russia in 2011.

Defeating 1,734 players, Mikhail Lakhitov won the $2,500 No-Limit Hold’em event at the WSOP Friday, earning $749,610 and overtaking Phil Hellmuth in the 2011 Player of the Year race.

A former officer in the Russian Army, Lakhitov has been playing poker professionally both online and live for the past five years.

This is Lakhitov’s second year playing at the World Series of Poker. He has seven cashes, five of which earned in 2011.

Before traveling to Las Vegas he vowed to his wife he would return with a gold bracelet.

“I promised this bracelet to my wife and it means a lot to me now that I have it,” Lakhitov told

Joining Viacheslav Zhukov as the second Russian bracelet winner of 2011, Lakhitov represents a growing community of skilled poker players we’re beginning to see more of at the World Series.

“It’s true that Russians make good poker players,” said Lakhitov.

“But for me I just love the game of poker and that’s why I’m able to continue improving,” he added.

Lakhitov was born in Cheboksary and was stationed in Moscow while enlisted in the Russian military.

He defeated Hassan Babjane of Boston, Massachusetts heads-up.

For all the action from Las Vegas follow our 2011 WSOP Live Coverage section, brought to you by Party Poker.

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