There was very little fanfare when Denis ‘aDrENalin710’ Strebkov topped a 482-player field in Event #5 (Medium) on the second day of the 2018 World Championship of Online Poker. The 28-year-old Moscow resident was one of 15 winners on that day.
Over the course of the two weeks that followed, however, Strebkov forced people to stand up and take notice as they heard his name over and over and over and over again on his way to a record-setting five WCOOP titles and a solid hold on the top spot on the WCOOP Overall Leaderboard.
As the wins began piling up, Strebkov knew he had a chance at winning the Overall Leaderboard and began playing more and more events.
“I tried to play my usual schedule, but when I won those first two, I started playing everything for leaderboard points,” said Strebkov. “It’s nice to win so many tournaments in a short span. I was very excited.”
The five wins were an impressive feat but Strebkov says it was a tournament that he didn’t win that proved to be the most difficult.
“The hardest one was in HORSE when I finished second behind ‘Ravenswood13‘. That final table also had Shaun Deeb, Andrey Zaichenko and Viktor Blom,” said Strebkov. “The Eight Game event that I won was difficult too, I was short stacked the whole time it felt like.”
Of his five victories, none came in No Limit Hold’em. While a high percentage of players his age got their start playing No Limit, Strebkov had a more unusual path.
“I didn’t play a lot of No Limit when I started to play poker. I played Omaha Hi-Lo sit-n-gos and some Razz cash games,” said Strebkov, who started playing micro stakes in 2008 while a studying Nanoelectronics at a university in Taganrog, Russia. “I don’t know why I’m just better in Limit games than in No Limit. For me, it’s easier.”
While No Limit Hold’em might not be his area of expertise, he’s got a few months to work on it. Winning the overall WCOOP leaderboard came with a $30,000 Platinum Pass that includes the $25,000 buy-in to the PokerStars Players Championship at the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure in January.
“I’m learning Hold’em, but still have some things I need to improve on. Let’s see how I do in the Bahamas,” said Strebkov, who has played a few European Poker Tour events and other, smaller live events scattered throughout Europe.
His WCOOP success not only added those five wins to his resume, that now includes an all-time record nine WCOOP titles, but it also came with a substantial boost to his bankroll. He’s planning on expanding his schedule online and potentially increasing the stakes he plays.
“I’ll continue playing online, maybe a bit higher limits. That’s a good boost for my bankroll,” said Strebkov, who says there’s a 70% chance he travels to Las Vegas next summer for the World Series of Poker. “I have a health problem. It’s not serious, but it shouldn’t stop me from going to the WSOP.”
Strebkov counts another Russian mix game specialist as one of his closest friends in poker. Eight years ago, Strebkov reached out to Andrey ‘Gigaloff’ Zhigalov on Skype to talk poker and learn from him. Three years later the two met face-to-face for the first time and now the pair regularly talks strategy. Aside from his recent success, Strebkov says he’s just a regular guy.
“I like to smoke hookah with my friends and play FIFA and other PlayStation games as well as some board games. I also enjoy listening to music and watching movies like everybody else,” said Strebkov.