The Littlewoods Poker World Heads-Up Poker Championship title this year goes to Cyprus with Bambos Xanthos easing his way to victory. Three matches yesterday would confirm the 2009 champ and in the end the Cypriot pro outshone his opponents and took home the £65,000 top prize.First up Russian Victor Ilyukhin took on Xanthos and appeared very confident, saying, “I know how Bambos plays”. His lucky pink shirt that he had been wearing all week was no help to him however as throughout their two-hour match, Xanthos maintained the lead despite some swings. Finally, on a Q 10 9 flop, the two were all in, Xanthos holding J 9 and Ilyukhin with 9 6 . No diamonds came and the first match of the day went to Xanthos.In their post-match interviews Ilyukhin said, “For most of the match I think I really out-played him. He’s very tight and needed the cards.” And Xanthos said, “I decided I’m going to play tight. He played open, so when I played a hand I gave the impression I had a good hand. If I have a mediocre hand I decide I’m just going to call him and let him bluff off his chips to me. I kept him lopsided.”The second semi-final match also took two hours. This time it was between friends Laurence Houghton and James Mitchell. The two analysed their play throughout the rollercoaster heads up and finally Houghton was crippled when Mitchell paired his ace on the river with Houghton holding pocket jacks and Mitchell holding A-2. This left Houghton with 5,000 in chips and when he pushed with 8-6 from the button, Mitchell made the call with A-9. Houghton hit an eight and doubled up. He then pushed again with K-3 and Mitchell made the call with K-9. The better hand won and Mitchell secured his place in the final opposite Xanthos.It was a cracker of a heads-up match between the young Brit and the older Cypriot. The two tangoed back and forth until Xanthos gained a 3 to 1 chip lead and things slowed down. In the ultimate hand, Xanthos check-raised on an A 10 4 flop and Mitchell moved all in. Mitchell held 10 7 for middle pair but Xanthos held an ace, and went on to hit trips on the river, winning the championship in style.The final payouts were:Bambos Xanthos (Cyprus) £65,000 James Mitchell (England) £30,000 Victor V. Ilyukhin (Russia) £15,500 Laurence Houghton (England) £15,500Excerpts from the live webcast will soon be available to view at PokerinEurope.com .
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