Ivan Demidov on 2008 WSOP Main Event Cash: “My Backer Did Not Pay Me”

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The year 2008 was a turning point in the history of the World Series of Poker, as it was the first in which the final table of the Main Event was delayed until November. The winner of that year’s WSOP Main Event was Peter Eastgate, who nabbed a first prize of over $9 million. The runner-up in a fantastic heads-up match was Russia’s Ivan Demidov (pictured), who despite likely being disappointed that he came up one spot short of the bracelet, received a consolation prize of $5.8 million.

Or did he?

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According to an interview with All In Magazine, Demidov never received his windfall. It does not appear that it was the fault of Caesars or the World Series of Poker, though, but rather a raw deal with a backer.

Demidov did not give any details as to the situation, simply saying, “That second place has changed my life completely, but not because of the money I won, as I haven’t received any. That’s a long and dark story, but basically my backer did not pay me and I ended up not getting any prize money.”

He mentioned the problems in an article in Poker Player Magazine in August 2009, but again did not say exactly what the conflict was with his backer. He did give some insight into the staking arrangement, though.

As he was climbing the online poker ranks in 2007, he impressed a high-stakes Russian poker player who offered to back Demidov. In the deal,the backer would pay for all expenses and receive an 80% cut of Demidov’s winnings in return. Not the best deal for Demidov, by any means, but as he said, “It’s probably worse than average, but in Russia you either take this deal or have no deal at all. I always dreamed of going to Las Vegas to play in those big events. so I said yes straight away.”

In his first trip to Las Vegas in 2007, he lost $150,000 of his sponsor’s money and proceeded to take a break from poker for several months. He figured that was the end of the staking deal, but when he was ready to play again, the unnamed benefactor called him up and told him to get ready to play in the 2008 WSOP.

Demidov still didn’t do well at the WSOP, winning only $40,000 in the events leading up to the Main Event, but of course his fortunes turned dramatically in the big one. In the article, he again said that he was having problems with his backer, but at that point, he probably didn’t expect the issues to last as long as they had.

Demidov was the man of the end of 2008, as he also finished third in the WSOP Europe Main Event, cashing for over $600,000. Of course, he was probably in that same staking arrangement, since the WSOP Europe took place before the November Nine.

Fast-forward to today and despite not having seen any of his winnings from the 2008 WSOP Main Event, Demidov appears happy. “I was contracted by PokerStarsand was able to open a popular website in Russia, all that thanks to my second place finish,” he told All In. “That gave me the bankroll and freedom to play what I want and to do what I want. And that’s what I always dreamed of.”

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20 COMMENTS

  1. “In the deal, the backer would pay for all expenses and receive an 80% cut of Demidov’s winnings in return. Not the best deal for Demidov, by any means”

    This is a good deal for most players if it doesn’t involve make-up. Sounds like though he didn’t even get his 20% though. Sad story.

      • russian, gangster & extortion come to mind! Even if he did cash his winnings himself he probably wouldnt of got away with keeping a big chunk for himself. Atleast hes been fortunate to get another nice score and make something of it

        • “In the deal, the backer would pay for all expenses and receive an 80% cut of Demidov’s winnings in return. Not the best deal for Demidov, by any means”

          This is a good deal for most players if it doesn’t involve make-up. Sounds like though he didn’t even get his 20% though. Sad story.

          It did involve makeup, but still not the worst deal ever I guess. The backer is not a gangster, but a poker player, a very generous guy, very charismatic and popular in our community, but a hopeless old school gambler. The rest you can imagine yourself.

          Most if not all live players who regularly attend WSOP know him in person.

          • How did the money that got paid to this guy end up in the other guys hands. He should have just sent him the 80% and been done. Also, f backers, why would people play under a backer! Stupid.

          • Can see why he would be very popular and very generous..after taking all his winnings and not even giving him his 20%, sounds like a real good guy!! Cant understand why people won’t name & shame him..

          • It did involve makeup, but still not the worst deal ever I guess. The backer is not a gangster, but a poker player, a very generous guy, very charismatic and popular in our community, but a hopeless old school gambler. The rest you can imagine yourself.

            Most if not all live players who regularly attend WSOP know him in person.

            Drops a post to stick up for the old hammer and sickle every 2-3 years?

          • Heard backer was ”kroko-dill ” online, not 100% sure though…

            No, but they shared the same backer. Kroko-dill and Ivan both good guys. This report is filled with inaccuracies, but the gist is true.

            There is no name and shame because they are still involved, and the backer obviously lost everything he had in life after being worth many millions. He was literally homeless.

          • No, but they shared the same backer. Kroko-dill and Ivan both good guys. This report is filled with inaccuracies, but the gist is true.

            There is no name and shame because they are still involved, and the backer obviously lost everything he had in life after being worth many millions. He was literally homeless.

            How does that work that the backer got the proceeds and not the player?Just assumed player got paid the player paid backer.

            The backer, who was very generous before, suddenly falls on hard times and borrows from someone who borrowed from him before. The backer used to run a card room in Russia, and founded a poker forum more popular than pocket fives. He got nailed by the poker ban in Russia and the Dubai housing crash all at once. Many other Russian players lost everything after the ban. He’s not evil, just unlucky, and perhaps a bit sick with gambling.

          • So what does him being broke have to do with him keeping all the players winnings? Just makes him a thief in my eyes

          • I still don’t understand how did he not get his 20%? Wouldn’t he have cashed it after the event and sent only 80% to the backer?

          • So what does him being broke have to do with him keeping all the players winnings? Just makes him a thief in my eyes

            The story is inaccurate, he borrowed the money.

          • Yes, it’s inaccurate. Everybody in Russian poker community knows, that Ivan and his backer still a very good friends and they resolved this problem.

          • It did involve makeup, but still not the worst deal ever I guess. The backer is not a gangster, but a poker player, a very generous guy, very charismatic and popular in our community, but a hopeless old school gambler. The rest you can imagine yourself.

            Most if not all live players who regularly attend WSOP know him in person.