Aleksandr ‘NoPlanB’ Mordvinov Grinds His Way to an MPLB Title


Aleksandr ‘NoPlanB’ Mordvinov talks about grinding his way to his first PocketFives Monthly Leaderboard title

Although grinding online poker games can be draining, it can also be extremely rewarding. For successful, +EV players, volume will invariably lead to deep runs and big scores. It’s just a numbers game: the more you play, the more chances you have to hit it big.

Case in point: Aleksandr ‘NoPlanB’ Mordvinov, who won last month’s Monthly PocketFives Leaderboard (MPLB) with 3,899 points.

It was Mordvinov’s first MPLB win and just the third ever for his home nation of Russia. He had 52 in the money finishes in tournaments that PocketFives tracks last month for over $300,000 total. The stanza also included two of his five biggest wins all-time.

“May was a long month and a ninth place finish in the Spring Championship of Online Poker Main Event was somewhat disappointing, so the victory in the leaderboard was a little bonus for me,” he said.

His SCOOP Main Event ninth place finish was worth $104,000, the richest score of his online poker career and his second six-figure cash all-time. Three weeks earlier on the very first day of May, the Russian took second in the PokerStars Sunday Grand and booked a $63,000 payday, his fifth largest score all-time. Those two cashes represented half of his take last month.

“May was a pretty good month,” Mordvinov said. “I began it with a second place in the $1,050 Sunday Grand and finished it with a $104,000 score in the SCOOP Main Event. Between that were a few $10,000+ scores. So, in general, I can’t complain. I made a good profit.”

Mordvinov added that May was a “tough month” because of the added stress that comes with grinding for hours on end during SCOOP. Hour after hour, tournament after tournament means a few opportunities for big scores, which made his ninth place exit from the Main Event all the more difficult. At #10 in the world, Mordvinov was the highest-ranking PocketFiver to cash in it.

“Months like May are always tough because there’s a lot of stress during SCOOPs,” he said. “Also, I had a couple of giant score opportunities and unfortunately it didn’t work out too well in the end, so that was also stressful.”

The high-stakes SCOOP Main Event, which Mordvinov made the final table of, was a monster. There were 824 entrants at $10,000 a pop, which meant a prize pool of just over $8 million. PocketFivers walked away with 27% of it and players from Russia cashed for 6%.

“The tournament went pretty well from the end of Day 1,” he said. “I was lucky several times. I won flips and ran well. And I guess I was patient enough when two tables were left and managed not to bust out until the final table.”

Mordvinov made it through three orbits at the final table, but his hands were largely tied behind his back since he was nursing a short stack. “The bustout hand was pretty standard,” he said.

In the final hand, the Russian, playing under the handle ‘EvnomiYa‘, 3bet all-in before the flop for 2.2 million over the top of a raise by Scott Seiver, who insta-called and showed aces. Mordvinov had pocket sevens and no drama ensued, sending him to the rail in ninth place for $104,000.

“I’m a little disappointed because I wanted to play longer at the final table and have the opportunity to play some interesting hands,” he said. “It didn’t work out this time, but it was a great experience.”

And so ended a long month of May, but he’s now the top-ranked online poker player in Russia and was ranked as high as #6 in the world earlier this year. It’s certainly well-deserved, as during the series, he played five or six days a week. He tried to take at least one day off in order to clear his head and tried to walk and get the blood pumping every day.

Two of Mordvinov’s five largest career cashes came in May

“During big series like WCOOP or SCOOP, my priority is to play, and also have enough sleep and physical activity at the same time,” he said. “Consequently, my girlfriend doesn’t get much of my attention, but that’s inevitable. During regular months, it’s much easier to spend time with her, exercise, and play.”

Speaking of a “regular” month devoid of larger tournament series, Mordvinov typically plays on Sunday, Tuesday, and one or two other days a week. Some of his tricks to keeping his torrid pace throughout the year and win awards like the MPLB: “No alcohol, go for a walk every day after my session, go to the gym regularly, and focus only on poker. All of those small things add up to the ability to grind effectively during big poker series.”

He just passed $2 million in career scores on PokerStars alone and, also in May, won his second career PocketFives Triple Crown. Now the big question is can he take that momentum from May and parlay it into his first top-five run in the rankings?