Eugene Katchalov – world’s best No Limit tournament player? [Editorial]

Eugene Katchalov – world’s best No Limit tournament player? [Editorial]

Tuesday, 11 January 2011

Christian “charder30” Harder, a man himself renowned for his prowess (and millions of dollars earned) in multi-table tournaments both live and online, had this to say about Eugene Katchalov: “Each time [I play him] I come away more impressed. His instincts and controlled aggression are matched only by Ivey and ‘ElkY’. He is the best tournament player in the world.”

Well, you may think, even someone like “charder30” can succumb to results-orientated thinking every now and then. It’s only natural to overestimate someone’s skill when they win a $100,000 tournament for a $1,500,000 score. Well, Mr. Harder wrote that in November 2009, a full fourteen months before Katchalov beat Daniel Negreanu heads-up in the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Super High Roller event. Before his latest score and after the aforementioned statement by Harder, Katchalov had the following big results:

A final table at the 2010 WSOP Omaha 8 $10,000 event for $75,000; a third place finish in the $10,000 H.O.R.S.E. the next week for $250,000; the final table of the $25,000 6-max championship the week after worth $200,000. He also won a $535 World Championship of Online Poker event and made approximately five metric tons of cashes. Looking back at his results including those three WSOP final tables, we see a pattern – a lot of final tables and top three finishes since his $2.5m WPT win in 2007 at the Doyle Brunson Five Diamond Classic. A few cards different, and Katchalov would be challenging Daniel Negreanu for the top spot in the all-time money list.

His $1.5m win at the PCA is his second-biggest live cash after the Doyle Brunson Classic in 2007, taking his lifetime tournament winnings to just under $6m. But what impresses most about Katchalov is that “fundamentally as strong as anyone. He is top five in the world in NL... he just doesn’t make mistakes. No weaknesses in Eugene’s game”, says Matt Glantz. “I was far more uncomfortable with him to my right than Jason Mercier to my left.”
Doesn’t tilt... doesn’t make mistakes... terrifies opponents. Remind you of anyone? The Phil Ivey comparison has been made by charder30 in the aforementioned quote but it’s worth saying again. Here we have a man widely respected by his peers as a tilt-free, perfect poker machine. He may be rated top five in the world for NL but his H.O.R.S.E. and Omaha 8 results prove he’s no easy ride at the mixed games.

So can we expect more from Eugene Katchalov? Almost certainly. His five-year tournament career is peppered with five-figure cashes, six-figure final tables and seven-figure victories. Even after taxes and buy-ins you have to think he’s paying the rent alright.

Tags: Poker News, Eugene, Katchalov, , world’s, best, No, Limit, tournament, player?, [Editorial]