Poker is obviously a game played by individuals. You play for yourself, primarily.

That said, occasionally it will happen that you find yourself feeling as though you’re playing for others, too — friends, even your country. Such was what happened to Russia’s myIT4 earlier this week when he sat down to play WCOOP Event #47-M, the $55 buy-in pot-limit Omaha hi-low event.

Truth be told, the $55 PLO8 wasn’t originally the headline event of myIT4’s poker-playing schedule that evening.

“My main tournament that night was the $215 Triple Draw,” he explained when talking to PokerStars Blog. He also joined both the $5.50 and $55 pot-limit Omaha high-low events as a kind of “warm-up.”

“Everything went well and my stack slowly grew,” he explains. “Then a friend calls me who doesn’t understand poker at all but sometimes watches me play, and he asked if he could come over. I said no problem… come have some food and drinks.”

Soon after his buddy arrived, “everything went sharply against me,” myIT4 explains. He busted from the PLO8 events, and didn’t intend to re-enter, preferring to focus on the Triple Draw. But his guest insisted.

“Fight to the end!” he said, and so I re-entered. Soon he was out of the Triple Draw, then began “quite confidently building a stack” in the $55 PLO8. Once he got over the 500K-chip mark another friend called, and by the time he arrived to cheer myIT4 on he was nearing 1 million.

myIT4: All in for Russia!

“It was unbelievable,” says myIT4. “Every time I won a pot we rejoiced altogether as though our favorite football team had scored a goal! After all, the WCOOP isn’t any ordinary tournament series — it’s the World Cup, and I was representing Russia!”

Just before reaching the final table, myIT4 encountered difficulty from his fellow countryman “felix4444” who had position on him and a big stack. But myIT4 managed to win a big pot off of him and eventually both made the final table where felix4444 ended up exiting in seventh.

Then with six left a key hand arose in which myIT4 won a preflop all-in with A♣K♦5♥2♠ versus chip leader “vald990”‘s 6♠6♦4♠3♥. There had been a couple of short stacks when that hand occurred, and myIT4 says after consulting with some stronger players they suggested he might have avoided the risk due to ICM implications.

“But I won and the path to three-handed was open,” he explains. Indeed “aleshka79” soon busted in fifth with vlad990 following in fourth. At that point deal discussion arose, but “hustler1986” “eventually abandoned” those talks, then went out in third.

Soon after myIT4 and “ZekiSwe” of Sweden did strike a deal, and with a little money left on the side those two continued to battle.

To myIT4 the extra cash wasn’t of great concern. “For me it was important to win… the money was secondary.”

They battled a few hands, then myIT4 lost a big preflop all-in with A♦J♠6♦3♠ versus ZekiSwe’s A♥A♣K♠Q♥. myIT4 had been ahead on the turn as the board showed 7♠K♦A♠10♠ giving him a flush, but the K♥ river gave ZekiSwe a full house and suddenly myIT4 was down to less than one big blind.

But he managed to win a sequence of all-ins after that — five straight, in fact (four scoops and a chop) — to climb back out of the danger zone. From there he was able to get back even and then grind down ZekiSwe to claim the title and $9,454.28 in prize money after the deal.

That’s a shot of the final hand up top, one in which they got the last of ZekiSwe’s short stack in on the flop. ZekiSwe in fact turned a straight, but the river gave myIT4 a flush and with the winning low as well he scooped the pot and the title.

“This is a really big victory for me,” says myIT4, adding that he’d made two SCOOP final tables before, but had never quite broken through to win.

“I really wanted to win the title for myself and Russia! I’m glad I succeeded.” says myIT4. “Many thanks to everyone who believed in me!”

Well done, myIT4! Way to represent.

CHECK OUT MORE OF OUR WCOOP WINNER INTERVIEWS HERE:

Espen “_sennj_” Sandvik: “It’s my first win in an official tournament”
Rodrigo “guinHuuh” Freire: Brazilian’s roller coaster ride turns $11 into $13K
Patrick “prepstyle71” Serda: No more pizzas for the three-time winner
Jeffrey “Jefffrr8” Reardon: He wanted a five-figure score. He got one.
Maxime “Daghemuneguu” Chilaud: Malta-based Frenchman wins first WCOOP of the series
Norway’s “19_Kumite_79”: First two-day event, biggest field, biggest cash
Viktor “TsiTool” Kovács: Puts Hungary on the WCOOP map
Italo “sep_itl1914” Carandinas: Brazilian chooses his own adventure
Naoya “nkeyno” Kihara: Woken up by a kick from his 3-year-old, plays Razz and wins!
“snovalshik1”: first-timer, who turned $5.50 into $3,408
Rinat “Zapahzamazki” Lyapin: Won PLO while streaming live
Alex “dynoalot” Difelice: Second win, but “I feel I have a ways to go.”
Pedro “PaDiLhA SP” Padilha: Akkari’s acolyte, who sets the record straight
Shaun “shaundeeb” Deeb: Seventh title, surely not the last


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