King’s Casino boss and high stakes player Leon Tsoukernik, has been singled out for praise after an incredible act of generosity in housing 400 refugees fleeing the Russian invasion of Ukraine…
— Eugene Katchalov (@EugeneKatchalov) March 13, 2022
The Moscow-born 48-year-old casino mogul, who also owns the King’s at Prague Hilton currently playing host to EPT Prague, has also paid for legal advice and medical insurance.
“Loose Leon” as he is often known in the poker world has even and offered jobs to those caught up in one of the worst humanitarian crises Europe has seen.
The spotlight was shone on Tsoukernik’s efforts by Ukraine’s most successful poker player, Eugene Katchalov, who fled the war-torn country recently with his wife, escaping the invading Russian forces in a well-chronicled Twitter thread, as we reported last week.
Katchalov, who has close to $10million in tournament earnings and was a former PokerStars team pro, left Ukraine as a child and is now a US citizen. All non-Ukraine citizens were warned to flee the nation when the February 24th military offensive began.
This week he shared Tsoukernik’s humanitarian exploits via Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospelier:
“Update…on where I am and where many of my wife’s friends and family and so many others that have reached out to us have now settled thanks to the incredible generosity of one man – Leon Tsoukernik of @PokerroomKings.
“Last week, my close friend @elkypoker told me that Leon was setting up facilities to fully support ~500 refugees (already full). He was personally renting multiple hotels in Marianske Lázně, Czechia where everyone could stay for free with breakfast, lunch and dinner fully covered.”
Katchalov, who is renting an Airbnb nearby with his wife in the Czech town (also known in German as Marienbad) as he doesn’t require the help himself, added: “Additionally he has provided legal support for refugee status and the best medical insurance for all. He also promised a job for everyone who is interested.”
The United Nations have estimated the number of Ukrainians to have fled the advancing Russian armies at 2.6million, with millions more expected to follow in the wake of reported bombing of civilian targets.
Katchalov, who has had to watch swathes of his country besieged and laid to waste, expressed his gratitude to Tsoukernik: “We’ve been here for 4 days now and everyone is simply beyond grateful to Leon for doing this.
“I’m honestly speechless and can’t thank Leon enough for helping so many people during such extraordinarily times. Especially now when everyone is seeing so much destruction back home, psychologically it hasn’t been easy to say the least.”
Tony G, aka Antanas Guoga in non-poker life, is another who has been doing his level best to help out the masses of ordinary Ukrainian citizens forced to leave their homeland, their homes and their lives behind.
Just days after the Russian invasion began, the CoinPoker founder and televised highstakes regular opened the doors of his “TonyResort” in Lithuania to refugees crossing the border into the Baltic nation.
Guoga stated: “It’s time for everyone to help the people of Ukraine. My resort is open to those families that are seeking refuge. The first family just arrived today. Let’s all think of ways we can help. If u have people that need help please contact email@example.com.”
Help Ukrainians seeking asylum settle safely in Lithuania. 🇺🇦🇱🇹 https://t.co/QcNILZLVcW
— Tony G (@TonyGuoga) February 28, 2022
A week later and 70 people were being looked after courtesy of the former politician and basketball club owner, with women, children and even pets included.
Meanwhile, PokerStars is among thousands of companies who are refusing to provide goods and services to Russia in the wake of what Vladimir Putin has described as a “special military operation”.
Important update: we are suspending all our services in Russia.
— PokerStars (@PokerStars) March 9, 2022
With the majority of the rest of the world calling it “an invasion”, PokerStars not only cancelled their upcoming EPT stop in Sochi – stating, “No tournament will be held in Sochi until it is safe for players and staff to do so and is fit to do so” – but also its online poker operations in Russia…