Kravchenko Konversation: Talk With the No-Fussin' Russian

That may change. If Kravchenko keeps playing the way he has been - keeping a top-twenty chip count throughout Day 5 of the Main Event - the world may soon need to hear what he has to say. PokerListings.com talked to Kravchenko today, so we already know.

Let's start with today - how's it been?

Today - like all the days before - has been good for me. I've been lucky - not that I've gotten lucky in pots - but I consider myself lucky not to have been outdrawn. My good cards have won the big pots.

Alex Kravchenko
Not to Be Outdrawn.

Can you tell us about your stack swings throughout the Main Event?

After the second day I was a little less than average; but all the other days I finished above average.

Have you been playing better since the second day - or have the cards just been better?

I have had enough good cards; and they have been pot winners. I was lucky yesterday in two big pots - I was paid the maximum when I had the cards. I won $400,000 when I had aces against tens, and then I won $1,000,000 with a nut flush on the river. I bet around $800,000 on the river, so I was lucky to be paid.

We saw you last night at the World Poker Tour Bellagio Cup III. We were afraid you had busted out of the Main Event.

Alex Kravchenko
Rumors of Bust Greatly Exaggerated.

I had just gone to see some of my friends playing. They were doing good yesterday, but now one is out. The second is still playing. I know a few people in the Main Event, but none are close friends.

How has the World Series been for you overall?

It has been good for me. I played as many events as I could, I won one bracelet and I cashed five times. This is my sixth cash, so it has been good.

I caught a cough - I have been coughing now for a month, with this air conditioning system - and they always bring the drinks with ice. [Laughs.] That's bad for me.

You should drink tea.

Yeah, I think so.

How has it been playing after winning a bracelet?

Alexander Kravchenko
Alex Elated.

I've been a little bit down. I cashed two times - but not for much - so I've been down; but still good. Now I'm at the highest point.

You always look so serious - is that you, or just your table image?

I think it's just the table image. I'm serious when I don't know anybody. When I know people quite well, I'm not serious - I'm laughing; but when I don't know anybody, I behave conservatively.

That's how I was taught: if you don't know someone - and you're starting to play with them - don't talk too much. At first, just look.

You warm up once you get to know players?

When I know people well, I talk a lot. When I play the cash game in Moscow with people who know me, it's very funny. We laugh a lot, talk a lot and joke a lot.

How do the Moscow games compare to your experience here?

Alex Kravchenko
Not Always Frowning.

There are many more Limit games here. I like Limit games; and mixed games. In Europe it's bad - there are almost no tournaments like this. I really like these tournaments: Hi-Lo Split, Stud, Stud Eight-or-Better, H.O.R.S.E. - just I'd like the structures to be better.

I think the structures here this year were not good. It was too slow in the beginning and too fast on the second day.

In Europe, the difference is it's almost only No-Limit Hold'em. I would like it to be more mixed, with different games. I think people play well, both here and in Europe - I don't see any big difference. The structures here are just better, so there's more play. There are more flops; and there is more play.

That's the difference - generally the structures are much better than in Europe. I mean with No-Limit events - I can't compare the Limit events, because there are no Limit events in Europe; but if I compare No-Limit Hold'em events, the structures are better here.

Alex Kravchenko
Not Thinking About Money.

Have you noticed any other differences in poker culture?

Of course, there are differences. Poker has been played here much longer than in Europe - in Europe it is still young.

It doesn't seem to have been a problem for you to play both continents.

No problem.

Do you have any plans heading back into play today - or into tomorrow?

No, no plans - I just play. I'm not thinking about money or places - I'm just trying to play well.

You're completely focused on the hand?

I'm thinking about how the people are playing; but I'm not thinking about places or money; because I think that isn't good. I'm just thinking about how to play better at my table.

* * * * * * * * * * *

We believe him. Even if it looks like Kravchenko is thinking about the ways he can crush your spine, he clearly saves brain capacity for poker. Stick with PokerListings.com to find out just how far Kravchenko's conservative countenance will carry him.

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