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Five Russian Live Poker Tournament Superstars
The 2021 World Series of Poker (WSOP) begins on September 30 and you can bet your bottom dollar scores of Russian grinders will flock to Las Vegas to attempt winning a bracelet. The five biggest winning Russian live tournament players have $48,915,105 in combined winnings. That is a mightily impressive total.
Look out for the following five Russian stars if you are heading to Vegas for the 2021 WSOP.
Igor Kurganov Tops the Russian Money List
Igor Kurganov is arguably the most famous Russian poker player thanks, in part, to his long-term partner Liv Boeree. Kurganov and Boeree won a WSOP bracelet together in 2017 when they won the $10,000 Tag Team Championship.
Kurganov was born in St. Petersburg but resides in London, his base for crushing online poker and live poker tournaments. $18,706,719 in winnings places Kurganov at the top of the Russian all-time money listings, and by some margin.
Four of Kurganov’s 95 live cashes weigh in at seven figures. The €1,128,300 ($1,559,373) he collected for a third-place finish in the €100,000 EPT Grand Final Super High Roller is still Kurganov’s largest prize.
He is one of the co-founders of the Raising for Effective Giving (REG) charity. REG members pledge 2% of their annual earnings to charitable causes.
Timofey Kuznetsov is a Russian Online Star
Timofey Kuznetsov is not only one of the best Russian poker players, but also one of the best on the planet. Kuznetsov is known as “Trueteller” in the online poker world, his alias when crushing the highest stakes cash games. Estimates have Kuznetsov on approximately $4.5 million profit.
The online star is no slouch in the live tournament arena. His $8,784,080 in earnings are a testament to that. Kuznetsov only has ten recorded cashes on his Hendon Mob profile, but four of those are for more than $1 million! The largest of those is worth $2,150,000, Kuznetsov’s rewarded for finishing fourth in the 2015 $500,000 buy-in Super High Roller Bowl.
Vladimir Troyanovskiy the High-Stakes Specialist
Vladimir Troyanovskiy’s $7,936,608 in winnings place him third on the Russian leaderboard. Troyanovskiy is something of a high-stakes specialist. There was a time Troyanovskiy was one of the first names on entry lists of events with $10,000+ buy-ins. However, the 48-year-old has not cashed in a live event since December 2019.
His “retirement” came only four months after he locked in his best ever result. He finished second in a €100,000 buy-in event in Rozvadoz, Czech Republic for €844,063 ($945,845).
We would have expected to see the “vovtroy” online alias at the tables, but he is currently missing.
Ivan Demidov Almost Won the WSOP Main Event
Ivan Demidov was the first Russian to become a member of the now-defunct “November Nine.” That was a concept where the WSOP Main Event final table paused until November, a concept scrapped in 2017.
Demidov was the runner-up to Denmark’s Peter Eastgate in the 2008 WSOP Main Event. The second-place finish came with a $5,809,595 payday. This prize makes up the bulk of Demidov’s $6,900,800 earnings. However, a story broke in 2015 where Demidov claimed to have never seen a penny of that prize because his backer stiffed him.
Demidov finished third in the WSOP Europe Main Event for an additional £334,850 ($608,995) only two months after his WSOP Main Event second-place finish. he failed to live up to expectations and never cashed for more than $57,000 again. Demidov cashed in the 2018 WSOP Main Event, three years after his last result. He has not cashed since.
Anatoly Gurtovy Frequents the Nosebleed Stakes
Anatoly Gurtovy is probably the only Russian on this list you have not heard of, which is surprising considering his $6,586,898 in winnings. Gurtovy is a rich recreational player who made his money in drinks distribution in his native Russia. Poker is his hobby albeit one that yields vast sums of money.
Gurtovy stepped away from the poker scene in 2016 following a gargantuan score. He finished second to Elton Tsang in the €1,000,000 Big One For One One Drop in Monte Carlo. The result netted him €5,247,781 ($5,983,597).