Leon Tsoukernik

This Russian-born Czech player is one of the most colourful men to grace the game, using his millions to open the famous King’s Casino in Rozvadov

This Russian-born Czech player is one of the most colourful men to grace the game, using his millions gained from international antique dealing in Toronto, New York and Prague to open the famous King’s Casino in Rozvadov – his ‘poker island’ in the Czech Republic a mere stone’s throw from the German border.

In 2009, Tsoukernik’s casino became almost entirely poker-focused and it now hosts many of the European poker tours – its 160 tables, with a current expansion being built to provide 100+ more as well as a 5-star hotel, making it the biggest cardroom venue outside of the USA.

The 43-year old businessman, born November 7. 1973, won the 2014 Industry Person of the Year at the European Poker Awards, for the person who contributed most to the poker industry that year.

On the playing side of things, Leon has become a regular participant in the biggest cash games and has recently imposed himself on the high-roller tournament circuit, taking down the €50,000 buy-in EPT Prague High-Roller late last year (2016) for €741,100 ($782,453) and recently coming 4th in the Super High Roller Bowl.

The $300k buy-in event featured most of the world’s leading players and Tsoukernik’s $1.8 million prize money saw him finishing ahead of the likes of Doug Polk, Daniel Negreanu, Phil Hellmuth as well as many of the younger generation of German’s such as Rainer Kempe and Fedor Holz.

His style of play is very difficult for the top players to deal with, a home-grown approach to the game involving aggressive bluffs and unusual betting patterns – which led Charlie Carrel (whom he defeated heads-up at the Prague EPT) to describe him “as very good for a recreational player. I’d say he doesn’t know anything about poker but his intuition is pretty sick.”

Tsoukernik’s poker ambitions are more geared towards what he can make his casino into, opening a ‘King’s Room’ at the 2017 WSOP to enhance the status of his Czech cardroom, which has hosted WSOP Circuit events and will also be the venue for the WSOP Europe and the $111,111 One Drop later in 2017.

In his personal life, Tsoukernik lives with his partner Sandra Tsoukernik close to Rozvadov, along with their 2 children. He is one of the main sponsors of the Plzen hockey team and still retains an interest in antiques and art as well as poker.

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