Igor Kurganov emerged as one of poker’s top tournament players in the 2010s. He might best be known for his relationship with fellow poker pro Liv Boeree, but Kurganov boasts an all-time great list of results at the poker table.
Kurganov entered 2021 at No. 32 on the Hendon Mob all-time tournament earnings list. With more than $18.7 million in cashes, the 32-year-old Russian pro owns a resume that puts him among poker’s very top class.
Let’s take a look at the life and poker career of Igor Kurganov:
Igor Kurganov’s Tournament Results and Biggest Cashes
As of February 2021, Igor Kurganov’s career poker tournament earnings total $18,706,719. Kurganov’s five biggest tournament scores include:
- 2014 EPT Monte Carlo Super High Roller €100,000 No-Limit Hold’em (3rd – $1,559,373)
- 2012 EPT Monte Carlo 8-Max High Roller €25,500 No-Limit Hold’em (1st – $1,425,874)
- 2017 PokerStars Championship Barcelona €50,000 Super High Roller (1st – $1,273,165)
- 2013 GuangDong Asia Millions Macau HK$1,000,000 No-Limit Hold’em Main Event (6th – $1,069,137)
- 2019 World Series of Poker $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller (4th – $840,183)
Take a look at Kurganov’s entire history of tournament poker results at his Hendon Mob page.
Igor Kurganov’s Memorable Hands
The chances of Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree ending up at the same table on Day 1a of the World Series of Poker Main Event might seem astronomical. It happened in 2019, however, and Boeree’s Main Event run ended at the hands of her longtime boyfriend.
According to PokerNews’ live report of the elimination, the hand begins with Brian Altman opening to 1,000 from middle position with the blinds at 200/400. Boeree three-bet all in, pushing her short stack of 2,400 chips into the middle.
Kurganov four-bet to 5,000 from the big blind and Altman folded. Boeree went to the showdown with A♥ J♥ against Kurganov’s K♣ K♠.
The board ran out 8♠ 8♥ Q♥ 2♦ 4♠, with no help coming in for Boeree. Kurganov collected the last of Boeree’s chips and continued on in the Main Event, while Boeree had to head for the exit.
— Liv Boeree (@Liv_Boeree) July 4, 2019
Kurganov Soul Reads Schemion
Kurgnov shows off his live read skills in the following hand against fellow high-stakes tournament regular Ole Schemion. This hand takes place at the 2015 EPT Monte Carlo:
With the blinds at 1,000/2,000, Kurganov opens to 4,000 from early position with K♥ J♠. Schemion, on the button, three-bets to 9,100 with Q♠ 7♥, and Kurganov calls.
The flop comes 6♥ A♣ J♥, Kurganov checks, Schemion continuation bets for 8,600, and Kurganov calls. The turn falls 7♠, and Kurganov check-calls a 16,100 turn bet from Schemion.
The river brings the 9♥, and Kurganov checks for a third time. Schemion empties the clip, going all-in for 47,000 effective. Kurganov then goes into the tank and thinks out loud about what he’s seen so far from Schemion in the hand.
“Your all-in did a different sound than before,” Kurganov tells a stone-faced Schemion. “Plus your hand was shaking, that’s making it tougher.”
The second part of those comments gets a smirk from Schemion, and Kurganov continues with his efforts to pick up a live tell off of his opponent.
“Normally it’s because you’re so happy that you have it,” Kurganov says. “That was a friendly smile to me. Ole, Ole, Ole; I call.”
The call with second pair on the wet board turns out as the correct play, as Kurganov doubles up after the impressive live read.
Igor Kurganov and Liv Boeree relationship
Igor Kurganov and fellow poker pro Liv Boeree started dating in 2014. Kurganov and Boeree form one of poker’s power couples, as both are recognized as successful poker players.
Kurganov and Boeree co-piloted a WSOP bracelet win in 2017, taking down the $10,000 No-Limit Hold’em Tag Team Championship. Both Kurganov and Boeree lay claim to one career WSOP bracelet, which came in that tag team event.
Kurganov and Boeree both took a spot on Team PokerStars for several years. The pair both left PokerStars simultaneously, however, leaving the company in November 2019.
Both members of the poker power couple are among the founders of the Raising for Effective Giving charity. Established at the 2014 World Series of Poker, the foundation includes members that donate portions of their income to a collection of charities.
Kurganov and Boeree form one of the most recognizable duos on the international poker scene. The couple currently resides in London, with both players still active in the live and online poker tournament scenes.
Igor Kurganov’s Rise Through the Poker Ranks
Born in 1988, a then-23-year-old Kurganov made his first major tournament score at the 2011 EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final. Kurganov took down the €10,000 High Roller Turbo event, cashing for $182,560.
That 2011 win marked the start of a rapid rise to poker’s top ranks for Kurganov. The Russian pro took his first seven-figure win at the 2012 EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final, winning the €25,000 8-Max High Roller Event for a $1,425,874 payday.
Big cashes became the norm for Kurganov over the course of the next four years. Between 2012 and 2015, Kurganov scored six-figures or better 14 different times.
Kurganov reached as high as No. 7 in the Global Poker Index player rankings, staying in the top 20 of the rankings throughout most of 2013. He was ranked in the top 30 of the GPI rankings as recently as December 2017.
Recent major scores for Kurganov include a fourth-place showing in the 2019 World Series of Poker $100,000 No-Limit Hold’em High Roller. The deep run in the nosebleed stakes tournament added an $840,193 payout to Kurganov’s resume.
Kurganov has remained active online amid the COVID-19 pandemic, which effectively shut down the live high roller tournament scene. Still just 32 years old, Kurganov likely has plenty of world-class results ahead of him in his poker career.