– Hi, Olya! How are you doing?
– I have a day off today, I planned to sleep until noon, but life rarely goes to plan, so I woke up at seven in the morning.
How many days off did you have this summer?
You could say that it didn't happen at all. True, in mid-June, I went on a cruise for five days. In December, at the WPT, I was presented with a ticket for second place in the women's tournament, they were given to a lot of people at that series. The deadline was just in June, but I still couldn’t get myself together, and now, finally, I decided. It turns out that I still had five days off, slept enough. But while I was in Vegas, I played every day.
What kind of cruise?
– Miami – Dominican Republic – Bahamas. This is a Virgin Voyages cruise, by the way, they are going to do a poker cruise next March, there should be a lot of tournaments. A lot of friends are going, but I'm still thinking.
– It seems not bad – I woke up and you can immediately sit down at the table.
– Well, yes, the main thing is not to jump off the ship after moving. It would be an epic bad beat.
Where did you live during the series?
– My friends and I rented a house. This is not the first time we live together for the series.
– How many WSOP's so far?
– Already the sixth.
– And just this year you reached a final table for the first time. How does it feel?
– To be honest, I have not been grinding the WSOP so actively before, I came for several weeks. Last year I was here for a month and a half, but I missed a lot, as I managed to get sick three times.
– What did you feel when you went to the final table?
I can’t say that I was very worried. For me, the main goal was not to bust out in tenth place. That would be a fiasco. I had a difficult summer, a lot of deep runs in small events, every time it seemed that big win was close, but then nothing. So I'm happy with the result.
– Tell me more about the shootout. Do you remember key hands?
– I remember all the hands from each tournament. I upload all the most important ones to my telegram channel. I did not plan to play this tournament at all, it was not in the package that I was selling. Shareholders said that I can play whatever I want. Everyone was discussing what a great format it is – you just need to beat two tables, and you are in the finals, beat three tables – you get a bracelet.
On the first day, I was very lucky with the table. I knew one person and wanted to exchange 5-10% with him, but he busted out the very first, so I didn’t have time.
I'll talk about two key hands from the first table:
4-handed, blinds 400/800. A rather nitty player opens at 2,500 on the button. SB call, I also called in the big blind with 8c4c. Board Qxx with my flush draw. All check. The turn is a king and I hit a flush. I bet 4,100 into a pot of about 6,000. The button folds, the SB raises to 12,100, and I call. The river was an offsuit jack, the small blind again bets 12,100. I have about 60k behind me, so I was choosing between raising and calling – if he bet a lot, I would just call, but after such a bet it was obvious to me that I was better. I decided to shove and got an insta-call from KQ for two pair.
I won a very big pot, and after the hand, it was the last hand before the break and everyone wanted to leave quickly, I played this:
The blinds are still 400/800 and I raise to 2,000 with 6s5s on the button. SB reg, strongest left, very active and often squeezing, raise to 9,300, I call. The flop is 7h6d3h, Villain bets a lot, 12,000. So-so spot, to be honest. I call, it's 2h, flush comes in. The SB bets all-in for 33,000.
This line seemed like a bluff to me. I convinced myself that he would often kick me out of the pot, I thought that there were practically no flushes there, and on courage, after winning the previous hand, I decided to call. I looked at a couple of queens, but the saving 6 or 5 fell on the river, I don’t even remember.
So I became a huge chip leader. We fought a little in 3-max, but heads-up I went out with a four-one advantage and quickly dealt with my opponent. The tournament started at 10 AM, and at 3 PM I was already free and rested all day.
We started the second table at 2,000/4,000 with stacks from the previous day.
– It turns out that not everyone had the same stacks?
– Some had less, as some played 10-max, and some 9-max.
I thought, “Oh, what a great tournament. Won my table and immediately got a big pay jump.” The buy-in was $1,500 and everyone at the second table was guaranteed $5,700.
The second day also started at 10 AM, which, of course, was a little annoying. I looked at the seating, I knew some of the players.
I didn't target players on Hendon Mob on purpose. Sometimes I see that one of the opponents has won a lot of things and then I think that he will play better than me, and this affects my mood.
The second day was already more difficult because all the players won the first table. In general, the game was very viscous, no one took off for a long time. I sat in position on Simeon Spasov, a strong Bulgarian. I also wanted to offer him to change, and then I think: "Here he will look at me and ask – who are you, girl, so that I would marry you." In general, I was embarrassed. He played super-aggressively, never folded the SB, and always defended the BB.
Now, looking back at the entire tournament, I understand that this table was the most difficult, including because of the format – you have to beat everyone at your table. It doesn't matter when you get out, second or tenth, there are no pay jumps in this format, you only have to play to win. In 4-max, I stopped writing updates in telegram and focused on the situation at the table. As a result, Simeon and I went heads-up, played for half an hour, and I managed to advance.
Pay jumps returned at the final table, the tournament continued as usual, it was possible to relax a little and stop fighting for the first place. The line-up was not the most pleasant, in addition to the obvious top regs, it should be taken into account that all the guys have already won two tables and passed a serious test.
When the 10th person busted out, it became easier, you could exhale that you were not the first out. I also sat in the fifth seat, and in 10-max it always seemed to me that the neighbors could see my cards from the side.
The table didn't work for me at the beginning. It was an interesting hand: Allan Mello opened to my BB with a big stack, I defended KJ, the flop came AQx with a flush draw, check-called. The turn came 8, and we checked. The river was a 9, hit the flush. I have a blocker on the straight and a blocker on the flush, I bet big, about 475k into a 600k pot. He moved all-in. Unpleasant, but what to do – I had to throw it away.
Then I doubled up against the chip leader. Knocked out Friedman with AJ against 88. Dzivilevski, apparently, didn't get anything, and he almost didn't play. The vicious game started again, and then everything started spinning very quickly, I didn’t even have time to realize how I ended up in 3-max.
There was no stack at all to match Jaka, I had to knock out the other shorty and then double up against him. If they had given me some cards at the end, then it would have been possible to fight, but the miracle did not happen.
I think that for the first final table at the WSOP, this is more than a good result, especially in such a tournament. Usually, you can hide, and wait out the pay jumps, but when you play a shootout, you won’t be able to sit out. If you want to go further, you have to work and play only to win.
– You had six deep runs on this series, which one did you have the most hope for?
I was very upset when I busted out of the Colossus. Very. Moved on the second day with a top 10 stack; then made day 3, albeit with a short stack. It was very disappointing, KJ to KJ, the opponent made a flush with one card. It was insanely disappointing – a huge field, almost 16,000 players, you are already so close to big money ... Then there was another chance in Lucky 777, there I also had a big stack on the final day, I was the chip leader of the table. Another deep run in the tournament with excellent prize money, but it didn't work out.
But I didn’t really count on a shootout, I play quite tight, and in such tournaments, a different strategy seems to be needed.
– In addition to the deep runs at the WSOP, you won the women's tournament at the Orleans. How do you estimate your ROI in such tournaments?
– Hard to say. Naturally, in women's events, I perform better than in general. But if you think about it, they are not so easy to play. It would seem that the women's tournament should be fun for girls, where you can meet new friends and have a good time. But there is such a massacre going on! Vegas had a whole week of women's tournaments in different casinos. In Aria, I remember the case – I 3-bet a girl, put a continuation bet and she gave up on the flop. I showed her top pair, and she said to me: “I don’t need you to show your cards, I already know what you have.” I was just blown away by this response. I showed her my hand solely because I had won many pots before without a showdown, and decided to show once that I was playing with a card. Of course, I did not expect such a reaction at all.
Then another mini skirmish happened with the same girl – we had big stacks, I called her bluff and won a very large pot. And she says: “Well, at least now you can smile?” I wanted to answer her that I'm just sitting here and freaking out from what is happening at the table, from their disrespectful lines. It seemed that we were not playing poker here, but we're fighting not for life, but to death.
What do you mean by "disrespectful lines"?
It's just that a person is willing to do anything to win the hand. She just tries to bet until the chips go to her. And she doesn't give a damn about my hand and the draw. Even in ordinary tournaments, no one tells me how badly I played my hand, but in women's tournaments, I often come across this.
– I saw you have a lot of cashes in other casinos on this series. How do you find energy for something outside of the WSOP?
– Once I played four tournaments in one day. Now I rarely get out on the series, not like before. While in Vegas, I enjoy every day and moment. I play to the maximum, if I have the strength and ability. Here you can find a tournament with any buy-in at any time, at least for $1k, some for $10k. I heard that there are even live tournaments for $20 somewhere.
– And what helps you to reboot and rest between tournaments?
The guys got me hooked on a massage. Plus we go to restaurants and parties for the players, well, we drink sometimes.
I was at GGParty and I met Espen Jorstad at a 4th of July party. Actually, I'm not a fan of parties, but sometimes you need to switch it up.
– How was the GGPoker party?
– Elky invites me there every year. Once I missed because of illness, the second time I was sick again, but it was inconvenient to refuse, so I came in a mask, wandered around for 10 minutes, and left.
This year, thank God, I was healthy. It's a regular party for players where people discuss their deep runs and cashes. The party went until 2:30, they started to kick us out, so we moved to Bellagio and continued with a rather diverse line-up – Frenchman Antoine Saut, Diego Ventura from Peru, Jacob from Mexico, and one of my friends, with whom we were at the final table in Panama, Tulio. I was told that Diego and Jakob started playing poker after my LAPT finals. Turns out it was a big event and I'm quite famous in their community. I will have to come there again, win something and organize a new poker boom in Latin America.
And then we went to play Ultimate poker. I also play Buffalo sometimes. I was always in the red there, but this year I hit two small jackpots, so it went to about zero.
– And how did the Main turn out for you this year?
– To be honest, I don’t really like the main and how everyone views it. For me, it's just a good tournament with a great structure and table lineups. And that's it. I don't have much hope for it. Maybe because this is my fifth main without cashing. It so happened that I was dealt several setups – the nut straight against a full house, and then a set against a straight, I was already a little on edge and could not cope with the fold. In general, I played sub-optimally and busted out on the first day. The most offensive thing is that I wrote about the departure and everyone began to sympathize and feel sorry for me. Everyone was so sympathetic to my grief, and I wanted to say: “Well, come on, this is just one tournament, most of the players will not live to see the money.” And there is nothing wrong with that. If there hadn't been such strong tension around the main, then the relegation would have been easier to accept. Well, I busted out, and went to other tournaments to play.
– Have you been somewhere other than the casino?
– I went to Adele and was delighted. I only know five songs and she sang them all, and the concert was just super. I also saw the Michael Jackson show, not for the first time. In my opinion, this is the best show in Vegas, especially if you love his music. The rest of the time I devoted to grinding.
What are your plans after Vegas?
– I plan to go home, now I live in Kyiv. Perhaps I will go to a series in Cyprus. But in general, I decided to tie up with trips to the series and leave only the WSOP. Although in December I will also go to the WPT, also to Vegas. I'm going to spend more time online. I am currently playing low-limit MTTs, ABI $30, hopefully, I will improve.
I also really want to win the fantasy draft in my category. I hope that those who chose me will be satisfied.