Duhamel and Katchalov Talk Re-Entry, Robbery at WPT Prague

duhamel katchalov
Duhamel and Katchalov at WPT Prague.

PokerStars Team Pros Eugene Katchalov and Jonathan Duhamel were just two of the marquee names at the felt today for Day 1b of WPT Prague.

Despite the stacked field, both managed to save themselves the trouble of having to fire another bullet tomorrow by bagging up chips at the end of the night - Duhamel about 62,000 and Katchalov about 40,000.

On a break in the action our colleague at PokerListings Germany, Dirk Oetzmann, caught up with the two superstars for a quick chat about the good and bad of re-entry tournaments and the inherent risk of robbery as a poker pro.

PokerListings: Why did you rather come here to Prague than go to the Bellagio for the Five Diamond?

Eugene Katchalov: Well, I was here in Europe, anyway. Also, I’m going to play the EPT, too. There are a lot of tournaments within only two weeks, so it just makes more sense to play here.

Two major events are better than one. And the fields are bigger, too.

Jonathan Duhamel: I just love coming to Europe. I come here all the time. Of course, back-to-back big events are important to me, but it’s also always a lot of fun.

PL: Is this the future of live poker? To have less, but way bigger events with lots of tournaments?

Duhamel: It seems like something like the Prague poker festivals with back-to-back big events and then some additional ones mark a trend, so I guess we will see more of this in the future.

Eugene Katchalov
Katchalov: Two major events better than one.

Katchalov: If you look back five or six years, the big events had much higher buy-ins, but then the number of players decreased more and more. Organizers had to respond to that and do something about it.

Lowering the buy-ins was one of them, and another step was to introduce the re-entry possibility. Since then the fields are getting bigger again, so I think it’s a good development.

PL: You busted yesterday, and now you’re back in [the WPT main event], Jon, so I guess you appreciate the re-entry format, too.

Duhamel: Yes, but I am not sure if it’s the best thing for tournament longevity. It might not be the best thing for all the players here.

For me, of course it’s good, because the re-entry chance gives you the possibility to play a little more aggressive. All the good players appreciate the chance to re-enter.

PL: So what do you think are the disadvantages?

Duhamel: It’s mostly about the casual players. As the professionals take a second start into account, the amateurs often can’t, because even the smaller buy-in of, say, €3000 is still a lot of money for them.

With the re-entry, taking part in major events becomes more expensive overall so in the long run they might not be able to afford it. The professionals usually have a bigger bankroll.

PL: Did you hear about what happened to Theo Jørgensen yesterday? What do you think, having first-hand experience.

Duhamel: People apparently think that we keep really big money at home, which we don’t, and I think it’s just really sad that things like this happen.

I’m really sad for Theo and I wish him all the best.

PL: How can you protect yourself from something like this?

Duhamel: There is not much you can do. You can take some precautions and make sure to not have much money at home, you can set up alarms, but there is no guaranteed security.

Jon Duhamel
First-hand experience of a poker misconception.

Not too much you can do about it.

PL: Was it a bit like a flashback for you when you heard about it?

Duhamel: Yes, it really brought me down. I know what it feels like when something like that happens, and it made me feel really sad. All I can do now is hope that these guys get caught.

PL: Eugene, how do you deal with the potential danger there?

Katchalov: I think there is a general misconception about how poker players live and how much money they keep at home. People just see the huge amounts of cash on television, and then they think we have that cash lying at home on the dinner table. That’s just generally a completely wrong conception.

I wish that all these guys get caught like in Jonathan’s case, and that that sends out the message that you can’t get away with doing something like this.

PL: It seems like the guys in Denmark were professionals, doesn’t it? Shooting somebody in the leg to put pressure on him?

Katchalov: Shooting him in the leg doesn’t necessarily mean they were professionals. It depends on other things, like the preparations. Actually, I don’t know how much money they robbed.

PL: About 5000 euro.

Katchalov: Then they can’t have been professionals, because professionals would only go to a house when they are sure that there is a lot of money in it. So, I think these have to be amateurs.

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