VIP-Grinders.com: Hello Nickolai and thank you very much for taking the time. Would you please introduce yourself to the people that don’t know you yet?
Nickolai Voskoboynikov: I am 29 years old and was born in Vitebsk, the cultural capital of Belarus, but living in Moscow now. I started playing poker 10 years ago.
VG: 2015 was a very good year for you with 8 cashes and a 3rd place finish in the €10,300 High Roller at the 2015 EPT Malta for €204,500. Can you sum up the last year from your perspective?
NK: Last year was really good for me. I had a couple of big wins at the Russian and Belarus Poker Tour and a 3rd place in the EPT Malta High Roller. I also won the award from the Belarusian Federation of Poker for “Best Poker Player on the International Circuit 2015”.
VG: Now you are back in Malta at the place of your biggest success. What tournaments are you planning on playing this year?
NK: I will play the EPT Malta Main Event, the €10,200 Single Day High Roller and the €10,300 EPT High Roller.
VG: You are living in Moscow, but were born in Belarus. Can you please describe both poker scenes and compare them to each other?
NK: Poker is growing in Belarus as it is completely legal to play live and online. Compared to the Ukrainian and Russian market where some poker rooms recently left the country. That’s why a lot of people from Russia and Ukraine come to Belarus to play live poker in one of the casinos.
In Russia online poker was banned 6 years ago. However, you can still play online poker and find ways around it. You will have problems to visit poker or gambling sites though as most of them are blocked by the Russian government. There are some live games, but they are illegal and you can be taken to prison or having to pay a huge amount of money for organizing and playing in those games.
VG: I had an interview with Russian poker pro Anatoly Filatov, where he said that he thinks poker is going to be legalized in Russia soon. However, a couple of online poker rooms recently left the country due to the unclear legal situation. Can you give us an update on the current situation?
NK: A lot of people say that poker will be legalized in Russia. I think it is only a matter of time until the Russian government realizes how much money is to be made from poker.
Nevertheless, there are already massive problems with gambling in Russia as 50% of the population is involved in some kind of gambling and they are probably afraid of that.
VG: You are sponsored for the EPT Malta by VIP-Grinders.com, but you are also a Good Day 4 Play Team Pro. Tell us something about this upcoming poker room.
NK: That’s correct. I am a Good Day 4 Play Pro. GDFplay.com is a relatively young and very promising online poker room with great rakeback and promotions and soft games. I am very thankful for their support and highly recommend you guys to check the site out.
VG: Thank you very much for the interview and best of luck for the tournaments!