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Eugene Katchalov is Switching to E-Sports

Eugene Katchalov

Professional poker player Eugene Katchalov hasn't been seen in a long time at the tables. But he showed up in Vegas just in time to play the 888poker Crazy Eights tournament, as a warm-up for the 2018 World Series of Poker Main Event that began today.

The truth is that the WPT champion and WSOP bracelet winner from Ukraine is now focused on a new industry: e-sports. For some months now, we’ve seen how his life has switched from poker pro to entrepreneur. And now we caught up with him and finally were able to discuss his new project and get to know a little bit more about it.

Eugene's new path started four years ago, when he became good friends with former Team PokerStars pro Luca Pagano. Both were very interested in gaming.

"I've been playing games like Warcraft or StarCraft even before playing poker!" said Katchalov, noting several similarities between esports now and what poker was ten years ago.

“Especially in terms of competitions and psychology, you can see it on how the kids approach the game in terms of being a poker pro."

Luca and Eugene decided to explore the industry a little bit more by attending a couple of events, one held in Vegas and focused on League of Legends. "There was just so many people and energy in the crowd, even more than what you see in regular sports."

Katchalov and Pagano were captivated by seeing so much passion and how many people were attracted to the event only to watch people playing games.

The Birth of QLASH

The result of all this research? QLASH. What is QLASH? "We're an organization focused in the community itself, who wants both to watch and play,” said Katchalov.

QLASH is based on three verticals: competing (they currently support seven different pro teams in seven different games), a network of streamers creating content, and organizing different events and tournaments.

"We put together cool tournaments; we have the biggest gaming house in Europe located in Treviso, Italy where we hold boot camps, media production and events.”

"That's the overall goal: to show a new way to engage with the community with cool ideas taking the experience from poker to this new industry.”

“To combine all these verticals, and interact with them and create a benefit for the community, that's the overall goal: to show a new way to engage with the community with cool ideas taking the experience from poker to this new industry.”

One of their most recent and largest experiences was creating an online competition for the gameClash Royale that lasted three months. "The final was held in our gaming house and we streamed it in seven different languages and had two very famous teams that went heads-up." The final was viewed by thousands of people on Twitch.

As for their goals for the future, they plan to keep increasing and innovating. "In the fall we are going to launch a new reality show on Twitch, combining our event organization experience with teams, influencers and our gaming house."

Is he Done with Poker?

Now, the question that every reader might be asking is, is Eugene still into poker? "Because I'm so focused, I don't have that much time for poker, unfortunately, but I still love poker."

"Because I'm so focused, I don't have that much time for poker, unfortunately, but I still love poker."

"Last time I played poker was in the winter in Prague, and this year I wanted to come to play the Main Event to not get completely lost from the poker world. I just feel like my poker skills for the past 15 years could be better served in a different industry. I love trying to build something new in a growing industry that nobody knows where is going to be, but it's going to be massive."

"As kids these days grow, they're going to continue being fans of these games, so I feel like it's the future for sure."

If you want to have more information about QLASH and their future projects, check out their website. Watch the video below to hear from Katchalov himself about what he's been up to.

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  • [email protected]'s new project is @TeamQLASH, an organisation focused in the e-sports community.

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Alexandra Cacovean

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