You probably wouldn’t be too fearful if Tatiana Barausova sat down at your table – assuming you hadn’t played against her before, that is. Barausova is diminutive of stature and silent of demeanour and she is – it’s difficult not to notice – female.
According to the Russian poker commentator Ilya Gorodetskiy, that last fact is crucial, but had previously been in dispute. Although a player named Mysters_Y on PokerStars had an avatar picture of a woman, it had been assumed that anyone playing the kind of style “she” played must have a flood of testosterone coursing the veins.
“She was making crazy bluffs and playing huge pots,” Gorodetskiy said, adding that Mysters_Y had been killing the mid-to-high stakes cash games for several years. Poker is regrettably still considered a man’s game in just about every territory around the world, and it goes doubly so in Russia. This “she” could only be a “he”.
But late last year, Team PokerStars Online announced that it had signed Mysters_Y to its prestigious ranks, and suddenly the face below was permanently attached to that name. Female. There’s no two ways about it.
“She is the Russian woman Isildur, said Gorodetskiy, ie, shy and retiring in person but a beast at the tables. “She is the real deal.” Gorodetskiy said that even before she came out into the open, Barausova had the respect of many of her peers, who know poker talent when they see it regardless of gender.
Barausova is not comfortable talking in depth in English, but was happy to confirm at the first break in today’s play that she is thoroughly enjoying her first trip to Monaco for the EPT Grand Final. She made her debut on the EPT in Prague earlier this season, and then finished 46th in the main event during her first visit to the PCA.
“It was important she made a deep run and made money in the Bahamas,” Gorodetskiy said. It proved once and for all that Barausova was a force to be reckoned with.
Barausova does not have a huge string of tournament results to her name, either online or off. But she has hit Supernova Elite status on PokerStars several times, racking up the VPPs at the cash tables, often playing eight at a time. (She told an interviewer recently that she can lose concentration when playing 12.)
She has also played in Las Vegas and Macau, almost always successfully, and even though she says that opponents tend to play more aggressively against her than they would a male opponent, one suspects it stops pretty quickly.
Barausova’s bite is far, far worse than her bark.
A quick note on how to follow our coverage of the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo® Casino European Poker Tour Grand Final. Head to the main EPT Monaco page, where you will find hand-by-hand coverage from the tables in the panel at the top of the page, which also includes current chip counts.