Robert Varkonyi, the 2002 WSOP
Main Event winner, being interviewed by PokerListings.com.
Robert Varkonyi is the winner of the 2002 World Series of Poker Main Event. Robert is a semi-poker professional who thinks poker is great fun. He is also a representative of online poker room InterPoker. At the time of this writing, he was cheering on his wife Olga Varkonyi who was one of the chip leaders in Day 2 of the 2005 Main Event.
What have you been doing since you won the 2002 WSOP?
I have been involved in all sorts of different projects. For example, I developed a new casino game with a partner of mine, although it didn't become a success in the end. I made an instructional video called "Wise guys on Texas Hold'em" with some of the cast from the TV-show "the Sopranos." I was in a documentary called "Poker Kings," which featured Phil Hellmuth among others. And, I have also been involved in charity poker tournaments and given speeches on poker.
How have you been doing in this year's WSOP?
I have only played in the Main Event and went out on Day 1. I won small pots and lost big pots which is not the way you win a tournament.
How much poker do you play these days?
As much as I can. I've played 4-5 Professional Poker Tour events (Robert got a three year card because of his 2002 WSOP win), I also go to Foxwoods and Atlantic City on occasion.
What happened in 2002, how did you win it?
I was totally focused, played nearly perfect poker, and caught a few lucky breaks. I played very gutsy and with no fear. But today it's different; when I won it we were only 631 entrants. Now you need even more luck and also more endurance.
What's your deal with online poker room InterPoker?
They sponsor me in a few tournaments and I will also do some system consulting with them.
Your wife Olga is one of the chip leaders in Day 2 of the Main Event. Tell me a little bit about her?
I actually taught her how to play poker two weeks before I won the Main Event, but that was Seven-Card Stud. She is originally from Russia where she worked as a school teacher, teaching English. Here in the United States she has been working as a Russian/English translator and interpreter. I am going to watch her play until she wins it hopefully.
What does the future look like for you?
First, I am going to watch my wife win the Main Event. I am trying to live a balanced life that combines regular work and poker. I will continue to enjoy spending time with my family, especially my beautiful and amazing daughter Victoria. She has been the greatest experience of my life.