WSOP 2021: Brazil’s Yuri Dzivielevski endures pandemic quarantine to attend series

Haley Hintze
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Posted on 10/06/2021

The World Series of Poker has truly become a “world” event, though so far in 2021, the series has seen a few less international players than in previous years. Many would-be attendees have faced tough choices as the COVID-19 pandemic rolls on. Should they attend and invest an extra two weeks or more in dealing with the U.S.’ mandatory quarantine for most global travelers? Or should they sit this one out? For rising Brazilian star Yuri Dzivielevski, it’s no choice at all: he wants to play.

Yuri Dzivielevski Event 11 Day 2 (Image: Haley Hintze)
Yuri Dzivielevski competes on Day 2 of Event 11 at the 2021 WSOP. (Image: Haley Hintze)

Dzivielevski’s been on a roll of late, too. He’s won several major online tourneys in the past six months, including the ultra-rare feat of taking down two PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) events in a single day. He also joined partypoker’s brand ambassador team, reflecting both his own success and the surge of poker interest in Brazil and South America.

WInning WSOP gold, though, is its own special achievement. Dzivielevski already owns two bracelets, and he wants more. 2021 marks his eighth trip to the Rio. Getting here, however, was an experience like no other.

14-day quarantine in Costa Rica

During an unscheduled break at the WSOP on Wednesday due to technical issues, Dzivielevski visited with Poker.org about the difficulties in playing this year’s series. “I had to stay 14 days quarantine in another country because I’m Brazilian, and I’m not allowed to come straight to the U.S.,” he explained. (Brazil suffered a severe coronavirus outbreak earlier this year and remains, as a country, on the U.S.’ must-quarantine list.)

“Plus, I’m with my family. They changed their plans to stay with me, so for 70 days we are traveling together. My son is not at school so I love staying with them, but it’s not easy to take them out of their comfort zone.”

For Dzivielevski, that meant spending two weeks in Costa Rica. But it wasn’t what one would call a vacation. “You can’t, like, live a normal life. You have to just stay in another country that’s not Brazil, basically a country that is border-free. I really appreciate what [my family is] doing for me, and I’m going to do my best to honor these things they’re doing.”

Mixed-games high on WSOP bucket list

Though Dzivielevski’s largest scores have come in no-limit tourneys, he admitted he’s here for the mixed-games action. And, of course, everything else. “I’m going to play everything. Everything that is available. I’m going to play day by day. I’m not going to choose as if I’m always thinking about the ROI, the return on investment.”

Dzivielevski also has some Brazilian pride to consider. Perhaps no country has enjoyed greater relative success in online poker in 2021 than Brazil. At the WSOP, the country always brings one of the loudest, most raucous contingents to the series, rooting from the rail whenever one of their countrymen makes a final table.

This year promises to be different, but only somewhat. “This year we are not going to be as [numerous] as before, but we are going to be loud.” Wherever there’s such a congregation, Dzivielevski’s likely to be part of it, whether he’s railing or at the table himself.

“Right now it’s so good,” he added, of finally being able to play again at the WSOP. “I’m just super stoked, super excited to play a lot. Yesterday I registered in three tournaments the same day. It shows that I’m here to fight really, really hard for the bracelets, and I’ve got to do this until the end.”

Featured image source: Haley Hintze