Igor Kurganov played some of his first televised poker game since the pandemic began last week.
Other than a few WSOP events, we haven’t seen much of Kurganov in the poker world lately. The last few years have seen him devote more and more time to his charitable work and it wasn’t clear if poker would become a priority for him again.
So, it was delightful to see the Russian pro buy into a high-stakes live-streamed cash game put on by The Lodge in Austin. Unusually, for a high-profile table lineup at The Lodge, Doug Polk did not join the stream. However, enough other Poker at The Lodge regulars joined the stream to maintain continuity.
The game in question was a $50/$100 game, with extra action driven by $100 standard ante. That put $950 in the pot before the first bet is made. This high-ante format made for some fast-paced action in a game where everyone is in with $25k to $50k stacks.
Kurganov played a good game but the cards were not in his favor. He finished up the session down $23,900.
“Mr. Dr. Batman” was the biggest beneficiary of Kurganov’s (and the rest of the table’s) misfortune. They finished up the session with a $100,375 profit.
Back on the baize
Kurganov has been tied up with work outside of the poker world for the last few years.
In 2014, Kurganov founded Raising For Effective giving with Liv Boeree.
His charitable efforts — and Boeree’s friendship with Elon Musk’s then-wife Claire “Grimes” Boucher — put the couple into the eccentric orbit of Musk. Kurganov even served as Musk’s charity point man for a while, until court machinations saw him sidelined. This and the pandemic took him off the baize for a while.
However, before Kurganov was Musk’s charity maven, he was a bracelet-winning poker pro with an $18 million Hendon Mob page, a laid-back persona, and a killer instinct for cards. Now he seems to be coming back to the game.
With any luck, this appearance marks a permanent return to poker for Kurganov. After all, he’s got to fund his trips to Burning Man somehow.
You can watch the full stream on The Lodge’s Youtube channel.
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Featured image source: The World Poker Tour, used under CC license.