Russian Vitaly Lunkin Named European Poker Player of the Year 2009February 15, 2010 12:17 pm
Last Friday at the European Poker Awards in Paris, Russian pro Vitaly Lunkin was honoured by being named the European ‘Poker Player of the Year’ .
Each year, the toast of the European poker scene arrive at Paris’s celebrated Aviation Club to acknowledged the player’s achievements in various categories, including Europe’s Leading Lady, Rookie of the Year, Outstanding Tournament Performance of the Year, Internet Player of the Year, Poker Staff Person of the Year.
In its ninth year, it was the Moscow pro who had his successes recognised at the glitzy ceremony, in the awards top category of ‘Player of the Year’. Vitaly Lunkin now join a pantheon of former winners, which includes 2001 Marcel Lüske, 2002 Garry Bush, 2003 Dave Colclough, 2004 Marcel Lüske, 2005 Rob Hollink, 2006 Roland De Wolfe, 2007 Alexander Kravchenko, and 2008 Bertrand Grospellier.
Vitaly Lunkin was originally a backgammon and Renju player who made the switch to poker and made his first tournament cash at the Moscow Open in 2003. By 2008, he had picked up a WSOP bracelet in the $1.5K NLHE event earning $629,417 for his efforts. However, it was 2009 which would prove to be Lunkin’s golden year to date, as he picked up $2,743,441 from live tournament wins including another WSOP bracelet, taking his life time career earnings to $3,369,230.
Lunkin’s incredible 2009 saw him cash six times at the WSOP, winning the WSOP $40,000 NLHE 40th Anniversary event for $1,891,012, finishing 2nd in the WSOP $10,000 World Championship PLO event for $419,832 and coming 4th in the WSOP $50,000 World Championship H.O.R.S.E. for $368,812.
Other player’s picking up awards for 2009 included Patrik Antonius for Internet Player of the Year, Antoine Saout for Rookie of the Year, Jeff Lisandro for Outstanding Tournament Performance of the Year, Sandra Naujoks for Europe’s Leading Lady and Edgar Stuchly for Poker Staff Person of the Year.