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Sep 08, 2013

2012 WCOOP Champ keeps Taxi Driver Job

By RTR Dennis

Last year, Marat "maratik" Sharafutdinov became the star of the 2012 World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP). Not only did he win the WCOOP Main Event along with $1,000,907, but he also became famous for typing the phrase "I wont million" while a final table deal was being made. Sharafutdinov's story was all the more impressive when it was revealed that he qualified for the Main Event at PokerStars with just 40 Frequent Player Points.

With newfound fame and a $1 million score, many people expected the Russian to devote his time and money to a professional poker career. However, Sharafutdinov has done the complete opposite by keeping his taxi driver job and playing poker recreationally.

As for why Sharafutdinov chooses to continue driving a taxi when he could instead become a poker pro, the amateur player explained that it keeps him from deteriorating. "I think a man should work regardless of the amount of money in his account, otherwise he will deteriorate as a person," he told PokerStars. "It's nice that I can afford to choose to work on things that interest me without thinking about my daily bread."

Rather than trying to grind his way up to $50/$100 NL Hold'em games or playing in $1,000 buy-in tournaments, Sharafutdinov is busy pursuing other interests like chess and learning foreign languages. As for the latter, his hope is to one day become a guide in a foreign country.

"Friends are always surprised that I can be content with little," he stated. "Of course, I'm grateful that I now have the opportunity to learn what it is to have money, and had already established an identity as a grown man and known the discreet charm of the bourgeoisie."

So will we be seeing Sharafutdinov returning to defend his title in the 2013 WCOOP Main Event? Sure, but only if he can satellite into the event because he doesn't plan on covering the $5,200 direct buy-in. This decision highlights how conservative the defending champ is since he hardly ever plays tournaments with more than a $100 buy-in.

He also avoids high stakes online cash games and live poker in general. "I tried to play live poker, and I did not like it," he explained. "People often swear and there's lots of drunken players. In general, this situation is not for me."

Obviously Marat Sharafutdinov isn't making a serious attempt at turning poker into a career. Instead, he seems more than content to keep his regular job and make himself a well-rounded person.