Poker and eSports seem to be strangely intertwined. Just recently, we reported on the World Poker Tour (WPT) decision to sign up with the Las Vegas Esports Arena and host the final tables of Season 16.
Now, Ukraine-born poker player Eugene Katchalov has decided to shift his interest and make a mess of his lucrative hobby for something he even holds dearer – eSports. Before we explain this barmy hobby Mr Katchalov has, let’s try to add a few strokes that will complete his portrait.
The Man and eSports Fan
Mr Katchalov has managed to amass a respectable sum from his experience as a player, generating $9.2 million in net profits. Following his success, he began stepping down from mainstream competitions and focusing on his hobbies, which in light of the recent announcement, means he’s been spending quite a bit of time playing video games.
He last participated in the WSOPE NLHE High roller for One Drop in November 2017 and managed quite the respectable 13 place in the overall standing. Mr Katchalov didn’t shun an opportunity to hobnob with his fellow poker pros at the WSOP Crazy Eights tournament which he attended.
Even though he dropped out without making any money, he seemed to be positively upbeat. WSOP bracelet and WPT champion.
Video Games – What a Hobby!
Poker has been a lifelong passion but it seems to be elbowed out by the love for video games. In a LinkedIn post, Mr Katchalov explained the significance of both aspects of his life. But social media was not the only medium via which he communicated his life-long adoration of the pixelated fun.
Following his participation in the Crazy Eights tournament, he spoke to PokerNews, sharing his future plans and intentions. He admitted that he had been working on his eSports career. He was also inspired by Luca Pagano, another poker-buff-cum-eSports-enthusiast.
Mr Katchalov doesn’t dismiss eSports as the mere pastime of no goods and social no-no’s. He believes that the level of tactical thought and skill required by both poker and video games played competitively is sufficient to qualify both as a sort of sport. The psychological element is also there, he believes.
Into the Eye of the Storm
And so Mr Katchalov and Mr Pagano have been swapping pro tips while attending some of the largest eSports pow-wows together. Now that he has chosen his new calling, Mr Katchalov has said that he truly doesn’t have the time to be as involved with poker as he used to be. He still feels strongly about poker, but he will be moving towards the new hobby.
Of course, Mr Katchalov entry in the world of esports is just as challenging as his attempts to stay on top of poker. Esports have a steep learning curve. Players spend thousands of hours learning how to master the game. If Mr Katchalov manages to enter and sign up with a professional squad, that would be a great feat worthy of admiration.
Still, with his capital, he may soon be running his eSports squad or an organization related to the field. With poke on the backburner, Mr Katchalov welcomes the future.