Lee Davy sits down with Sergey Rybachenko shortly after busting from the Main Event to talk about his past experience when he played in what he believes to be the biggest game in the world.Ask anybody where the biggest game in the world is played and you will be told Macau. Before that you might have been told Bobby’s Room. But that’s not the answer you get when you talk to the Russian Sergey Rybachenko.
He is a cross between Ivan Drago and Wall-E. You know he can swat the life out of you, with one flick of the wrist, but he would much rather cuddle you and buy you a drink of cocoa.
So how as the series been going for Rybachenko?
“I didn’t play many tournaments. I played most of the $10K’s and the $50K. I ran very deep in five of the events and finished seventh place in the 2-7 so lot’s of deep runs but no big results.”
But you are more interested in cash games right?
“Not cash games so much. I like to play Pineapple Open Face Chinese, where we are playing for $500 a point.”
I believe you used to play in some huge games, is that right?
“I used to play for huge stakes. A few years ago when I sponsored all of the Russians when Ivan Demidov got second place in the Main Event I was his sponsor but then I went almost broke. I am on my way back now…but these are not like the games I used to play in before.
“In Russia, we had the game that I am sure was the biggest game in the world at the time. We played $5K ante Pot Limit Stud. Every pot was like $1–$1.5 million and it was a huge game. There were so many pots where you are squeezing the last card, and there is between $2-3 million in the pot. Now it’s like a dream and I can’t believe it happened. I remember having $15m and it was huge money, I can’t believe it and that was just 5 years ago.”
$15 million to broke – that’s quite a fall. How did that feel?
“I don’t care much about money. I just need money for food and travel. I don’t need a plane or an island. Even when I was broke—three years ago—I didn’t have food to celebrate New Year but I was still very happy.
“When I play the huge games in Vegas—in Bobby’s Room for example—I used to play $2K/$4K and it was a small game for me, now I understand it’s a big game. It’s never money…it’s always chips for me. When I play in Moscow I don’t bet and think it’s an apartment in Moscow or an expensive car. I never think of it this way…they are just chips to me.”
So money doesn’t matter that much for Rybachenko, but the swings must affect his relationships? I noticed his partner playing Pineapple in Cyprus a year ago, what’s her perspective on this?
“She is always with me. She plays Pineapple better than me because she is always winning. I tell her that she is lucky but she always wins at pineapple and nobody will play with her. I am playing $300 or $500 a point and she plays $25 or $50 a point. I tell her to play higher but she says she’s comfortable doing what she does.
“I am very lucky that she is a gambler like me. She always wants to gamble. Take the World Cup, for example, she is watching every game with me because we have lots of action on the games. When I play cash games, sometimes I play 30-hour session and she will always be with me. Even now I bust the Main Event and will head to Bobby’s Room. I may play for 24 hours and she will be there by my side. I am a very lucky man.”
That could well be the understatement of the century.