Originally a competitive gamer, Russian’s Maxim Lykov came across poker like many of his generation did – whilst at university in 2005. He has since turned the $40 that he deposited to play online into millions of dollars in winnings, a PokerStars sponsorship along with financial and locational freedom.
The Moscow native has balanced playing both live and online since 2009 and has managed to accumulate well over $8 million in tournament earnings in total. It was evident from his success that came when he first stepped onto the live scene that Lykov had already honed his skills by playing on the virtual felt online. In just his fourth live cash, Max made it down to the final table of the 2009 WSOP $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Shootout event. While he finished just two places short of the gold, the Russian competed against and conquered the rest of his final table which included eighth-place finisher Phil Ivey. Lykov earned $145,062 for the deep run.
Any disappointment he was feeling from the near-bracelet finish was quickly ended by a huge live tournament victory that came just two months later. Lykov became an EPT champion after winning the €5,000 Kiev Main Event for a massive $468,504.
Two years on, he earned his second piece of poker’s Triple Crown when he took down the $1,000 No Limit Hold’em event at the 2011 WSOP. Triumphing over a large field that consisted of more than 4,500 runners, Lykov caught his lifetime biggest score of $648,880.
In addition to the $3.3 million+ he’s accrued on the live circuit, Lykov’s online MTT results total more than $5,000,000. He’s earned the most money on PokerStars as ‘$uperdecay’, where his achievements were recognised in 2013 when he was recruited to join PokerStars Team Pro. His biggest online wins include a Sunday Warm-Up title and multiple FTOPS and MiniFTOPS events.