Viktor Kudinov: we analyze the "killer" of poker

Viktor Kudinov, of Russian origin, is one of the best poker players of his generation. In record time, he has posted record-breaking numbers, won several awards and is one of the most competitive poker players you can find today.

Viktor Kudinov's profile in The Hendon Mob, the well-known poker database, leaves no room for doubt. His numbers speak for themselves: $768,914 won in total, a best cash game prize of $164,000, 82nd on the Russian All Time Money List, and 3,275th on the World All Time List.

He is ranked 3,113th on the "All Time Money List Best Rank", and has been ranked 3,953rd in the Global Poker Index Ranking. In terms of popularity, he is ranked 6,262nd in the Popularity Ranking, which measures the recognition and perception of all poker players in the world.

Who is Viktor Kudinov

Nicknamed the "killer" of poker for his style of play, he is one of the best poker players in the world. His style of play has been the subject of debate for often using unusual betting sizes. His game, despite breaking some basic assumptions taught to poker novices, is effective. For this reason, Kudinov is the greatest exponent of what is known as "gangster poker".

An example of Kudinov's style of play can be found in preflop. Let's make a back to basics about preflop: never pay raises from SB. This is something that works and what you learn when you have little experience in poker.

Kudinov, on the other hand, approaches his game differently: as the strategy adapts as the stakes go up, Viktor changes his level of aggressiveness as the strategies change, which leads him to adopt a different game depending on the size of the bet with the peculiarities that go with Kudinov.

That's why it's not uncommon to see him paying bets from the small blind, or bluffing on the flop. Something that, while unconventional, works for him.

But this style of play has been developed by Kudinov with time and the experience of a pro. Because his trajectory has oscillations in his winrate that are worth studying, and that we will see in a moment.

The pillars of his trajectory have been:

·         Time.

·         Dedication.

·         Study.

·         Talent.

One of the keys to Kudinov's records is precisely the number of hours he admits to dedicate to poker. He himself affirms that the experiences of a year can be summarized in one sentence: get up, have breakfast and play, understanding the game as a work routine to which he dedicates the same amount of time as a working day. Interspersing time with family and hobbies is essential for this routine to be sustainable over time.

Still, Kudinov acknowledges that at one point in 2020 he was diagnosed with what is known as "latent depression," an ailment that manifests itself in various forms and in which burnout is often a potent catalyst. The desire to improve and take on the bigger players led him to build a larger bankroll, which didn't help mitigate the fatigue, although it did improve the way he managed his poker routine.

A peculiar trait of Kudinov and his style of play is that he faces each game without fear or trepidation of losing money. He himself admits to having a great ability to detect his own flaws quickly, something very useful in poker. Nor does a bad play undermine his confidence, which explains his recovery after a bad streak.

His withdrawn nature is something that helps him to put a barrier between himself and the other players, abstracting himself from his surroundings and putting all his attention on the game. Kudinov says, "I love people, but only as long as I don't have to interact with them," which says a lot about himself.

But the key for him has always been to enjoy the game. That gives him the confidence to approach each game in a unique way. Not being afraid to make a fool of himself has allowed him to try things that no one would have dared to try and that have ended up working. A peculiar character who has managed to make a place for himself among the best on his own merits.

How much money Viktor Kudinov has won in live tournaments

Viktor Kudinov's poker career since 2020 is full of moments worth analyzing. Those ups and downs in his winrate occur mostly between 2020 and 2021, when he goes from playing 1 million hands in NL1K+ in 2020 (with predominantly wins, given that he was in the midst of expanding his bankroll) to losing $500,000 in 2021.

In early 2021, Viktor Kudinov fell into a steep tilt, a bad streak that saw him reach such an amount in losses. But, as he himself admits, his driving force is anger, and that allowed him to approach his game in a more aggressive way at key moments, making him recover everything he lost and maintaining his good streak. A slump to which no player is alien and that tests the resilience of each one.

In live tournaments is where Viktor Kudinov moves like a fish in water. According to The Hendon Mob, his total live poker winnings are almost $800,000, of which $164,000 is his best cash reward in live tournaments.

Although more focused on his family life, Kudinov is not staying away from poker and plans to resume the study hours that have brought him so much success, so the records of the gangster poker "killer" could go even higher in the future.

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