Timofey “Trueteller” Kuznetsov gave an interview earlier this year detailing his rise to stardom from humble beginnings.
The Russian superstar is thought to be the toughest NL cash game opponent around these days and his fellow elite players have no problem admitting that he is the man to beat.
Kunetsov’s Rise to Stardom
A person’s ambitions tell a lot about their character. It says a lot about Kuznetsov when as a green 19-year-old he set a target of making more than $10 million within three years of taking up the game.
Most people would think this is insane, but on closer examination it is easy to see the calibre of mind we are dealing with here.
Growing up in Novosibirsk, Siberia, Kuznetsov was the eldest of three children and it was obvious earlier just how smart the young man was.
At the age of 17 Kuznetsov relocated to Moscow to study mathematics and applied theory of probabilities at Moscow State University, with both parents in tow.
How Kuznetsov Transformed into a World-Beater
So when did poker arrive in his life?
“A friend won $7k playing online poker in a few months. I thought that was pretty cool, and as I am competitive, love playing games, and there was money to be won, I thought, why not give it a go?”
As a candidate for the most talented young mathematician in Russia he probably had a lot of support for his idea.
How did it all go to start with?
Like many other players it all began with a $25 deposit on partypoker but unlike 99.9% of players Kuznetsov turned his $25 into more than $10,000 with seemingly little effort, in less than six months.
Still at university, he then decided that poker would be how he made his way in this world, but was confronted with resistance from his parents. As a massively intelligent kid they thought he was giving up too much.
With the bankroll now up to $40,000 his parents at least relented on him giving up his summer place at KPMG.
What was the first real challenge?
$5/$10 NL was the first real stumbling block, but fortunately this led to increased effort. The good fortune of finding Phil Galfond’s old NL videos made a huge difference in perfecting the thought process.
The timing was perfect though, because it was exam season and there was no time for poker.
“My subconscious finally had a break to decompress, analyse and properly encompass the missing parts of the puzzle I’d received from Phil’s videos.”
“IIt was the second year of my poker career, and I thought it couldn’t go any better, but turned out I was wrong.”
Kuznetsov Hits the Top
The return to action marked a period of success that shocked even the young man. Starting with $40,000 he doubled his bankroll with $70,000 showing on the EV graph for the month.
Next month there was another $100,000 in the kitty, and the same the month after.
By the end of the year Kuznetsov’s bankroll was a crazy $1.7 million. He had finally arrived.
There was, of course, the mandatory bump in the road. The first visits to Bobby’s Room at the Bellagio didn’t go well.
Furkat Rakhimov explained,
“It’s the toughest poker game by far in the world. The difference of this mix is that limit games turn into pot-limit games, which makes it way more complicated. Timofey had no experience in those games at all,”
Now though, it all looks to be plain sailing. Kuznetsov is destroying the $1,000/$2,000 high stakes games on
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