Backgammon Giant Arkadiy Tsinis Wins WSOP Bracelet

Arkadiy Tsinis wins the third bracelet for the Ukraine so far in 2011.

Competitive chess and backgammon player turned poker pro Arkadiy Tsinis defeated a field 2,192 today in Las Vegas to win his first WSOP bracelet and $540,136.

The third Ukrainian bracelet winner of 2011, Tsinis had cashed ten times at the World Series of Poker before his win today.

Representing a growing group of players from other mind sports making the transition to poker, Tsinis followed his best friend Ylon Schwartz’s lead and dedicated himself to poker instead of continuing with the less profitable games he had played previously.

Ylon Schwartz made the November Nine in 2008 and finished fourth for $3.89 million.

Tsinis says experience in games like chess and backgammon laid the groundwork for his success as a poker player.

“Backgammon is a gambling game and just being a gambler gives you a huge advantage over the typical poker player,” Tsinis told in Las Vegas.

Tsinis comes from a white-collar background and when he chose a less traditional path after graduating college, his parents were skeptical.

“My mother is a doctor and my father is an engineer and they weren’t happy when I gave up my regular job to do this,” he said.

But half-million dollar scores can do wonders for people’s attitudes towards playing poker for a living.

“They’ve been glued to the computer through all of this,” Tsinis said of his parents who have been following his progress from the East Coast.

Tsinis points to poker’s lucrative potential when explaining the increasingly popular decision of playing professionally.

“There’s no way to make this kind of money working a regular job so 18-year-olds and people even younger are putting their minds and resources together and winning left and right,” he said simply.

Originally from Ukraine, Tsinis now lives in New York. He defeated Michael Blanovsky to win Event 38, $1,500 No-Limit Hold’em.

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