How Alexey 'LuckyGump' Makarov AKA 'NoPasaran' Won $2Million Playing Online Poker

In the world of poker, a graph can convey more than a thousand words, and there are few more unusual and interesting than those belonging to Russian highstakes pro Alexey Makarov – aka LuckyGump and NoPasaran.

By: Andrew Burnett

That half-year heater above is, in common parlance, a beast of a winning chart – looking more like The Wall in Game of Thrones than any poker graph we’ve ever seen.

It belongs to Makarov’s Full Tilt nickname NoPasaran – from the Spanish meaning ‘They shall not pass’ – and for that 7 months or so it’s clear nobody could pass Makarov.

If we look at the run-up to, and just beyond, poker’s Black Friday of April 2011, we can see exactly how well Makarov ran in his favourite nosebleed PLO cash games

Close enough to $2million to not worry about paying the rent, and a $37.81 average win across almost 50k hands.

There is a curious element to this, though, that shows up when you look at his top 5 biggest winning hands at the heads-up PLO tables.

Gus Hansen is in there, as is Ilari 'Ziigmund' Sahamies, but three of them were against a player named XWINK

That name might mean nothing to most players nowadays, but a decade ago XWINK on Full Tilt, and XBLINK on Ultimate Bet made the headlines for claiming to run up $4k to $2million in just 4 days.

Here’s what the graph of XWINK looked like on Full Tilt…

The anonymous player from Vancouver in Canada, whose real identity remains unknown to this day, disappeared just as quickly as he or she appeared…as far as we know that is.

Makarov, aka NoPasaran, did much the same on Full Tilt - through no fault of his own of course.

But he still had the big games on PokerStars to turn too – Makarov a former member of the PS Team Online for a year - and that proved less successful.

Playing as LuckyGump, it looked at least twice as though Makarov was going to emulate his huge heater from the Full Tilt tables - close to $1million up on both occasions.

The variance and swings that he had evaded on FT caught up with him on PokerStars. Note too that 2013, a relatively horrible year, was mostly played at the 8-Game tables.

Finnish beast Sahamies, playing under his Ilari FIN moniker, was a regular foe on PokerStars as well, but in this next hand he was an onlooker as Makarov took a chunk from Paul 'patpatman' Phua

With a reputation as an excellent highstakes live cash game player as well, and notable successes in online MTTs, Makarov is definitely one of poker’s unsung heroes. NoPasaran!


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