My WSOP: Why One New Jersey Poker Player Is About To Blast Off

Sean Chaffin July 10, 2019 775 Reads

A quick Day 2 exit from the WSOP Main Event can be devastating. For a person only in their second World Series, it could be absolutely crushing. However, for poker player Vladimir Alexandrov, it’s all part of life in the galaxy.

When the New Jersey resident is not playing poker, Alexandrov donates his time to the New Jersey Astronomical Association. The group offers public events to discuss astronomy and help attendees with their telescopes.

He also enjoys astrophotography, which is the practice of taking pictures of planets, galaxies and nebulae. Alexandrov also enjoys hiking and has climbed some of North America’s tallest peaks.

He has the freedom to pursue these lofty endeavors thanks to his day job. He’s been playing poker professionally online for several years.

“I am still mostly an online player, simply because of convenience to play from home,” he said. “I play the highest stakes multi-table tournaments available and some cash games on occasion.”

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The WSOP and the pace of live poker

One of the great things about online poker is its speed. Players can play numerous events at one time with rapid-fire hands keeping the action going.

That pace can make for a difficult transition to live play. There are so many more opportunities to let one’s mind wander in a physical setting.

“I definitely need to work on focus more when playing live tournaments,” the 39-year-old poker pro said. “Especially in Vegas, it’s pretty easy to lose focus after just a couple of events because of so many distractions.”

Alexandrov’s first WSOP experience came in 2018. He got his feet wet with a few events toward the end of the series. He had a couple of small cashes, but nothing noteworthy.

This year, however, his first deep run came early. He finished 17th in the Marathon, netting him $16,970. 

The finish was his best WSOP score at the time, but he pushed much higher than that mere weeks later.

Back in the more familiar environment of WSOP.com, Alexandrov went deep in the $3,200 WSOP.com Online High Roller. He took third place for $173,241.

“It was super exciting and tiring,” Alexandrov said. “It was a tough event; maybe one of the toughest fields I’ve ever played in. Live WSOP events (with) under $5,000 buy-ins are relatively soft, but that one was tough from level one.

“I wish I could have gone all the way, and there are a couple (of) spots I would have played differently. But overall, it was one of the most memorable poker experiences I’ve had.”

To infinity and beyond

His performance at this year’s WSOP was, by no means, a fluke. He scored two six-digit wins at Borgata earlier in 2019. Now, with more than $377,000 in live tournament winnings, Alexandrov hopes to have the confidence that leads to more big finishes. 

And yet, he still loves the game.

“I remember the first time I sat down at a poker game at my friend’s house,” he said. “I had no idea what I was doing, but I loved it. And I am not the type that picks up a new game quickly.”

Perhaps something astronomical is still in the cards at this year’s WSOP. He is heading home to New Jersey but has his sights set the final online event.

Closing out the summer with a bracelet would make this poker player’s career blast off.

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