PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino®: Hopping from High Rollers with Igor Kurganov

Igor Kurganov is no stranger to High Roller tournaments, and he's acquainted himself with a few more here in Monaco this week. Already No 1 on Russia's all-time money list with over $12 million in live cashes to his name, the recent addition to Team PokerStars Pro spoke to us about how things have been going during the PokerStars Championship presented by Monte-Carlo Casino® here this week.

"Interesting," Kurganov said, before clarifying. "Usually great, this time good."

It was an understandable response from someone who ran queens into kings to be eliminated from the €25,750 High Roller in 24th place earlier today, but the timing of the knockout presented a silver lining. When Kurganov lost the last of his chips there was still 30 seconds left of late registration in the deep-stack €25,500 High Roller.

"I bought in very last second," Kurganov said. "That was the good thing about my big bust in the other 25k."

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Igor Kurganov - Focusing on upgrading this trip from good to great

The Salle des Etoiles in Monaco holds good memories for Kurganov. His first major live tournament win was here in Monte Carlo when he overcame the man who would become his team-mate a few years later, Daniel Negreanu, in the EPT Season 8 High Roller for €1,080,000. Despite the super late registration today, Kurganov is chipping up and could find another big score in this city.

"I slowly went up to two and a half start stacks now," Kurganov said, only a matter of a level or so after hopping in. "It's nice, very nice."

After jumping from High Roller to High Roller here in Monaco, Kurganov has rostered a little time away from the grind with partner and another Team Pro Liv Boeree.

"We're going to London for SCOOP, and a little bit of a Scotland vacation with the family," Kurganov said. "We're getting Liv's and my family to meet. For a few days only though. A little bit of mountains, a little bit of nature, and then more poker."

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Not long until Kurganov can let his hair down

That "more poker" in the not so distant future includes the PokerStars Championship trip to Sochi from May 20-31. The stop in Kurganov's homeland has him excited to get back to the tables before he's even left - and he has a feeling the fields will make for a great value trip.

"I'm really looking forward to Sochi," Kurganov said. "I think there will be relatively few international professionals, so it should be quite a good field."

Sochi is set to feature a High Roller and Super High Roller as well as a $5,590 Main Event and side events for Kurganov to enter.

For now though it's back to the €25,500 High Roller right here where Kurganov will have a tough time ahead of him before he can lift the trophy and claim another title. The field is riddled with top international pros including Ole Schemion, Steve O'Dwyer, Mikita Badziakouski, Rainer Kempe, Ike Haxton, Sam Greenwood, Nick Petrangelo, Mike Watson, Jack Salter, Justin Bonomo, David Peters, Dan Smith, Sergio Aido and Team Pro Jason Mercier to name a few.

Time will tell if Kurganov can take it down and change his review of this trip from "good" to the "usually great" he has become accustomed to.




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Brad Kain is a freelance contributor to the PokerStars Blog.


Brad Kain
@PokerStars in Monte Carlo