WCOOP 2011: One heckuva signup bonus for Tat0chka

wcoop2009-thumb.jpgPokerStars players could be forgiven if they saw the screen name "Tat0chka" as the winner of WCOOP Event #14 and said, "Wait. Who?" After all the young lady behind the account started playing on PokerStars less than two weeks ago.

"I wanted to take part in WCOOP," she said. So, she signed up and got her sign-up bonus worth up to $600. And then she won $110,609.

It happened in the $265 NLHE 6-max KO event, a tourney that pulled in a whopping 3,568 players, and an event won by a lady who was still learning to use the PokerStars software.

In this day and age, everyone keeps a pretty close eye on online poker names and people who come out of nowhere to win major events. We're the same, so we asked Tat0chka, in effect, "Are you for real?"

Her answer looks something like this:

tatiana_ryzhkova_wcoop.jpg

Tatiana Ryzhkova, aka Tat0chka

That is Tatiana Ryzhkova, aka Tat0chka. She's been playing poker for about four years, but only signed up for PokerStars nine days ago. In that time, she's managed to pick up her first WCOOP bracelet. She barely believed it herself.

"That was unreal," she said. "To final table in such a tournament is a very good result and the first place is a great result for me. It was hard to believe I won it!"

Living in Moscow, Ryzhkova doesn't have much of a chance to play live. Like many poker players, she's slowly building her own playing style and philosophy. For now, it's pretty basic.

"My philosophy is to play my a-game and not to be nervous because of badbeats and down streaks," she said.

Still, we wanted to know more. Like, how did she end up playing cards in the first place. First answer: Her boyfriend plays and taught her the basics. After that, she found herself wanting to play on her own. Second answer: What else is there to do?

"To tell the truth, at first I didn't want to play poker professionally," she said. "I graduated from the university and didn't find the job I wanted, so I began to play and haven't worked until now."

Beyond that, Ryzhkova keeps her personal life close to her vest. I asked her to introduce herself to me as if she were just meeting me in a bar. Her response: "I don't speak to strangers in bars."

It was said as a cute joke, but one that would have to suffice. For now, we must be content to know that Tat0chka is for real as a person, as a poker player, and as one of WCOOP's newest bracelet winners.

Congrats, Tatiana. And welcome to PokerStars.

Brad Willis
@BradWillis in WCOOP