Friday, 2nd December 2022 18:51
Home / Uncategorized / EPT Kyiv: The enigma of Alex Kravchenko

It’s an enduring mystery among the writers of PokerStars blog: How does Alexander Kravchenko do it? We’ve followed the Russian Team PokerStars Pro across the whole continent and to the United States for more than two years now, and I don’t think any one of us has ever seen him play a hand.

But he must. He simply must. Kravchenko’s tournament record is as good as any player in this part of the world. After winning his first WSOP bracelet in 2007, he followed up with a final table and a fourth place in the Main Event, the sixth and largest of that series. He then final tabled the HORSE event at the World Series Europe, picked up four cashes on the EPT, before returning to Vegas for another six World Series cashes this year, and one final table. It’s a sensational record for someone who never seems to play a pot.


Alex Kravchenko

Actually, that’s not necessarily true. I think what I’m really trying to say is that I’ve never seen Kravchenko play a big pot, and I’ve also never seen him lose one. Which, I suppose, answers my own question: Kravchenko is simply a terrific reader of the game, who knows how to stay out of trouble and apply the heat at the precise time when his opponents are most vulnerable. That, probably, is how Alexander Kravchenko does it.

That and the stare, of course. Yesterday, the Sunset+Vine television crew, who provide the edited highlights of the EPT on countless channels across the world, arranged a “staring contest” between Kravchenko and his Team PokerStars Pro colleague, Luca Pagano. Pagano can stare, don’t get me wrong, but I don’t think there’s anyone in the world who can really hope to match Kravchenko glare-for-glare. Pagano ended up yielding when he found that he’d have to blink. “Blinking is for wimps,” Kravchenko didn’t say, but probably should, as the Italian scraped the fur from his retinas.

Pagano is long defeated in this tournament, but Kravchenko remains staring into the future. He’s sitting behind his trademark mirrored aviator shades at the moment, and behind about 45,000 chips. That’s a little less than average, but if there’s something Kravchenko knows all about, it’s the long haul. He’s just getting started.


Francesco Ciriani was looking at a flop of 1028 and an all in bet of 30,000 from Sebastian Panny. He was also looking at the tournament official Alen Babic who was counting down a one-minute clock on him. Babic explained the rules — that he had one minute to make a decision or his hand was dead — and Ciriani took 50 of those seconds before getting a 10-second warning, sliding his headphones off his ears, and repeating: “I fold, fold, fold, fold” with a shrug, shoving his cards forward. “Did you have a set,” another player asked Panny. “Yes,” was the simple reply.


Priit Turner’s “Bjorn in Estonia” headband.

The one with Dragan Galic (250,000), Viktor Ivanov (140,000) and Kirill Boydachenko (140,000).

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