Back in 2011, when Andrey Pateychuk just missed making the WSOP November Nine and then took down EPT and WPT titles within a matter of weeks, all eyes in the poker world were on him.
These days, as the poker series that made him semi-famous is underway again in Las Vegas, Pateychuk couldn't be physically much further from the spotlight.
Spending most of his time grinding online from his home in Moscow Pateychuk took a short break this week to "get some fresh air" at the first-ever WPT Kazahstan.
Russians Love Holiday Resorts
PokerListings reporter Dirk Oetzmann also happens to be in Kazakhstan this week and sat down with him to talk about high-stakes games in Moscow, big losses in staking and high expectations for his return to Vegas this summer.
PokerListings: Since your amazing run in 2011 all your live results are from countries like Cyprus, Ukraine, Kazakhstan and the WSOP. Are you having trouble getting visas to other countries?
These days Moscow suits Pateychuk just fine.
Andrey Pateychuk: No, the visas are not the problem. I can get a visa for any country within seven days. I used to travel a lot. I was away at least one week every month.
The main reasons why I’m not doing that now are that I want to spend more time with my girlfriend, and I prefer to play online because it’s easier to make money there than live.
PL: Really? These days, many players tell us it’s easier to make money live.
AP: Admittedly, it’s not a simple issue. It depends a lot on the size of your bankroll. If you have a seven-digit bankroll, you can play the highest tournaments all over the world.
But, even with an ROI of 20%, if you pay one million in buy-ins over the year you make a profit of only $200,000. And that’s without travel costs.
If your bankroll is smaller, it’s even more difficult to make a profit. Very generously speaking, you might be able to play 250 live events per year. It is very easily possible to have negative results for five years in a row.
Poker is a job, though, and in your job, you have to make money every year.
It’s easier doing that playing online. I play 700 to 800 tournaments per month and with that I can make at least $10k to $15k.
PL: So, it doesn’t bother you that Russia and the Ukraine are temporarily off the map?
Russian pros like Kravchenko would flock to Sochi.
AP: I live in Moscow, so I don’t really need to go anywhere to play. But I grind a lot and I need a bit of fresh air now and again. That’s why I go to events like this one here in Kazakhstan. It’s not the money, it’s the change.
PL: Can “Eurasia” still be a future market for live poker?
AP: I believe it can. There are regions with a lot of potential. In Russia, for example, the best place for this is Sochi where they are already getting prepared.
They are building a lot of hotels that could host casinos. The area is becoming a big holiday resort.
I'm sure that we can build a Russian Las Vegas there, even if not on the same scale. The Russians, and other people in the region, love to travel to those holiday resorts.
Moscow could be a big poker place, too, but Sochi is geographically in a better position.
PL: And what do you think about this place here?
AP: I like this place. I think it's a great place for poker tournaments. But it has one big problem, and that's the location. There are not many people living in the region that could just drop in on the weekend.
If this was only a few kilometers away from Astana, they could get a lot more traffic.
PL: When you say you don’t need to go anywhere, because you live in Moscow what does that mean? There is no official casino.
AP: I meant that I play online. But of course, there are still a lot of poker clubs in Moscow. However I hardly ever go there because there are a lot of good players, and even the bad players have been around for so long they’ve become pretty good.
So it’s really tough to make money in Muscovite live poker. No matter where you go, you always see the same faces.
PL: Would Moscow be a good place for a big tournament, if poker was regulated?
Tournament fields in Moscow would be biggest on EPT, Pateychuk says.
AP: It would be the best place in Europe. Tournaments could be bigger even than the biggest EPT events in Sanremo.
There would also be a huge High Roller field. There are a lot of rich people in Moscow, and a lot them love to play.
In fact, the biggest cash game worldwide is supposed to be in Moscow. It is kept extremely private and the professionals have no chance to play in it.
PL: What are the stakes?
AP: They play $3k/$6k at least. At the very least. No-Limit Hold’em, PLO, Stud and a lot of mixed games.
PL: You used to get staked by a high-end professional investor?
AP: Yes, and then I tried to do it myself. With very bad results.
PL: We were just going to ask you what the secret of profitable staking is.
AP: Who knows. I can only tell you that one year at the WSOP I had at least 20% shares from at least 22 players in every single tournament.
Another go at WSOP glory coming this summer.
I chose my players carefully, and I still ended up down about $250k. That also includes the money I won after I won a $5k side event.
PL: So are you ever going back to Vegas?
AP: Yes, I will. After this WPT in Kazakhstan I have two big goals for the summer. One is to finally win a bracelet and the other one is to marry my girlfriend.
Actually my girlfriend loves Las Vegas, too. We went there together twice, and we might even spend the honeymoon there.
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