Nine days into 2011, Eugene Katchalov made a big statement by winning the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure Super High Roller event. Little did we know that win would be the start of a phenomenal year for the Team PokerStars Pro, with over $2.5 million in earnings, final table appearances on the EPT, NAPT, and at the WSOP, and his first WSOP gold bracelet. Those efforts earned Katchalov more than just money. They also garnered him the 2011 BLUFF Player of the Year title, sponsored by Aria Resort and Casino.
“When we changed the Player of the Year scoring system prior to this year, we hoped it would properly recognize the player who had the best year and give poker fans a better race,” explains BLUFF’s Editor-in-Chief Lance Bradely. “I think we can call it a success that Eugene Katchalov and Bertrand Grospellier were both battling right down to the end of the year in the closest race we’ve ever had. We congratulate Eugene on reaching the pinnacle of success that every poker player is striving for — Player of the Year.”
Bradley is correct that Katchalov had some tough competition from Grospellier, who was as close as eight points from overtaking the lead as recently as November. Even with Grospellier and others breathing down his neck, Katchalov held on to the top spot, finishing his year with a deep run in the WPT Prague Main Event.
“It’s really an incredible feeling to win the Bluff Magazine POY, because I feel that all the hard work that I’ve put into poker is really paying off,” says Katchalov. “It is a title that I will always be proud of and something that will stay with me for the rest of my life. It’s really not something I even imagined before this summer as it is so difficult to achieve, but as time drew closer and closer and it looked like I had a real chance, I really went out of my way to play as much as I can to try and lock it up.”
What is exceptionally impressive about Katchalov’s 2011 results is just how many games and formats he excelled in. In addition to defeating the elite group in the Super High Roller, Katchalov also thrived in big field events, finishing third at EPT Barcelona. A cash in the NBC National Heads-Up Championship and runner-up finishes in both the NAPT Mohegan Sun Bounty Shootout and the PCA Turbo No Limit Hold’em Six Max event indicate how he can thrive in all sorts of formats of No Limit Hold’em. His skills extend beyond No Limit though. His bracelet win came in Seven Card Stud and he also final tabled the WSOP $1,500 Limit Hold’em Shootout event less than a month later.
This wide array of continued success throughout the year gives Katchalov one of the most coveted titles in poker. In addition to the Player of the Year title, Katchalov will also be featured on the cover of BLUFF in the coming months. In just a couple of days, Katchalov will return to Bahamas where it all began and try to repeat the same success in 2012.
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