In the latest PokerNews Podcast, Chad Holloway chats with Eugene Katchalov, Ukraine’s all-time money leader, about his harrowing escape from Kyiv as Russia invaded. The World Series of Poker (WSOP) bracelet winner and World Poker Tour (WPT) champ documented his experience in real-time via Twitter, which gave his followers a glimpse into civilian life during war.
“Feels surreal, like being inside of a war movie. Don’t know anyone who expected it to get this bad,” Katchalov tweeted.
He also informed his Twitter followers that he found a few hotel rooms in a local village and “will likely spend at least a few days” there. Later in the day, he decided to change up his plans and head toward the border, which he crossed after being stuck in “massive traffic and hoping there will be gas to fill up along the way.”
Katchalov spoke to PokerNews about what he and his wife experienced, as well as what they’re doing now to help family, friends, and other refugees looking to get out of Ukraine.
Katchalov, who retired from poker in 2018 to switch to E-Sports, is Ukraine’s all-time winningest tournament player with $9.2 million in cashes while Yevgeniy Timoshenko is in second place with just over $7.8 million.
While this is a poker podcast, the topic discussed is much bigger than the game.
|00:24||Welcome to the PokerNews Podcast|
|01:00||Eugene Katchalov joins the show|
|01:44||When did you decide to flee Kyiv?|
|03:15||Preparing for the worst|
|04:40||It’s go time|
|05:50||Panic in the streets|
|08:15||Decision to head to the border|
|10:40||Trying to syphon gasoline|
|11:42||Did your poker status put you in jeopardy?|
|13:08||What inspired you to document the experience?|
|14:25||Was the response from the community helpful?|
|15:30||Seeing a massive explosion|
|16:17||Eugene’s thoughts on Ukraine/Russia tension|
|18:06||Thoughts on Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelensky|
|19:51||Any fear of being conscripted?|
|21:00||Wife’s business near missile strike|
|22:10||International Rescue Committee|
|23:35||The poker community’s support can do a lot of good|
|24:16||Will you return to the United States?|
|26:00||Why now is a critical time|
|27:50||How you can help|
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