Simeon Naydenov is considering one of the most successful Russian players of poker today. It is hard to believe that he was once a lowly bartender in a casino when he won his first tournament in 1995.
Simeon Naydenov became a professional poker player after his playing career was over, when he decided to take up a sales job in a travel agency in Moscow. He did not enjoy the hustle and bustle of working for such a company. As he said, “I needed to find some kind of relaxation.”
A friend of Simeon Naydenov’s asked him if he wanted to go to a poker tournament and see how he liked it. He went along to the tournament, which he felt was all about showing off and bragging to one’s self, but was surprised by the fact that most of the players were looking to play more than just for fun.
There were many women in the group as well, all of whom tried to talk with Simeon Naydenov. He thought that they were simply jealous but was relieved when he found out that they were there to win chips.
“Everyone was a winner in the poker tournament,” he told me. The amount of money he won at the tournament would not return all of his investments in Russia.
Simeon Naydenov’s story about winning a poker tournament is something that many poker players are likely to hear from others. The real story is that he came very close to winning at that tournament when he entered a game that his rival was playing.
His rival had another mate sitting next to him and gave Simeon Naydenov a lot of trouble. Simeon was able to eventually win the game, but the big poker tournament was over before it had really begun.
To Simeon Naydenov, however, the tournament was a success because it taught him a lesson. As he said, “If you don’t get involved in a poker tournament you will never be good enough.”
A little over ten years ago, Simeon Naydenov ran into the same problem again. This time, the tournament ended with him winning over $500.
Before he realized what had happened, the winner of the tournament, who turned out to be one of his former customers, asked him to play in a one-on-one showdown. He agreed and was surprised when the other player won the game in less than twenty-five minutes.
Simeon Naydenov learned the lesson that he had heard from his previous encounter with a professional poker player and took it upon himself to study poker seriously. He took the advice of his former customer and came up with some of his own.
Simeon Naydenov became a professional poker player, because he realized that there was something that he could do better than anyone else. There is no other way to put it, because poker has taught him something that even his wife, a teacher of math, could not.