Forget The Olympics: Russia Making Impact in the World of Poker

Written by:
Ace King
Published on:

Russia may be listed among the countries likely to receive the most gold medals at the 2008 Olympics (+1400 or 14/1 odds at SBG Global), they have even better odds to win another big world even this coming November - The World Series of Poker.

That's because Russia's Ivan Demidov was listed with +425 odds at to win the 2008 World Series of Poker. Demidov had the second largest number of chips coming into the delayed final.

According to poker player Daniel Negreanu, The World Series of Poker has always attracted a competitive international field. Interestingly, this year's WSOP featured more players from Russia than ever before.

Negreanu, who was named among the top 10 sexiest professional poker playersby's own Jenny Woo, believes Demidov has got a good shot at bringing the title to his Russian homeland when play resumes in November.

And Demidov was not the only Russian poker player to make an impact on this year's World Series of Poker.

Vitaly Lunkin won a no-limit Hold'em event and Svetlana Gromenkova won the Ladies Championship while Nikolay Evdakov broke the WSOP record for most cashes in a single year with an astonishing ten cashes. Another Russian player, Kiril Gerasimov reached two final tables and cashed in four times for over $400,000.

Negreanu believes he knows why Russia has become a breeding ground of sorts for Russian poker players.

"Poker's popularity is surging in Russia. You can expect to see more Russian names winning on the European Poker Tour and other major international tournaments in coming years.

"Why are so many talented Russian players suddenly bursting on the poker scene? Maybe it's because of the game of chess. Many years ago, Russian masters dominated their American counterparts in a different game of skill.

"That game, of course, was chess. The battles between Bobby Fischer and Boris Spassky were epic. And while poker isn't quite at that point, we're definitely headed in that direction."

It should come as no surprise that all of's sponsored online poker sites have reported an increase in the number of Russian poker players.


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