From Russia, on Ukraine and Vienna

March 14, 2014

I am in Moscow at the moment, where I have been for about the last month or so taking care of various business having to do with documents and visas. Not too much to report from here — same big city, with lots of traffic and so on.

The Olympics were quite exciting, of course, while they were going on over in Sochi. I watched quite a lot of it on television while I was playing online, and of course the games were the big topic of conversation among everyone.

I was happy that Russia won in the medal race, ending up with the most gold medals and the most total medals. It was a bit disappointing, though, that the men’s ice hockey team didn’t fare better than they did.

Of course, the last few days of the Olympics were overshadowed somewhat by the events in Kiev, Ukraine, which have been distressing. I have played poker there many times and know lots of people there, so it is disheartening to see the trouble and I hope it gets resolved soon.

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Soon I’ll be flying to Vienna to play some cash games, then will be there the entire EPT Vienna festival. I’m quite excited about going and getting back to live poker since I really haven’t had a chance to play live for the last month while in Moscow.

Here in Russia poker is banned and so it really isn’t worth trying to play in live games — not only are they not legal, the rake is always huge and you never know if the game is clean. That’s why I just take a break from live poker while I’m here, but like I say I’m very much looking forward to the trip to Vienna.

After that I’ll continue on to EPT Sanremo and EPT Monte Carlo, which are both places I enjoy a lot and so am really looking forward to returning. I also plan to play in Bregenz, Austria this spring. That will be my first time there, and so I’m anxious to see what the games are like.

After that it will finally be on to the WSOP in Las Vegas. I’ll be getting there a week early, in fact, and plan to be there for the entire series. The WSOP is always a great time, and of course it’s a special place for me ever since 2007 when I won a bracelet in the $1,500 Omaha Hi/Lo event and then made the final table in the Main Event where I finished fourth.

It hasn’t been too bad taking the time off, but now I’m more ready than ever to play.

Alex Kravchenko is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

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