Name: Anton Makiievskyi
Hometown: Dnipropetrovsk -- UKRAINE
Chip Count: 13,825,000 (ranks 8th)
Profession: Professional Poker Player
Years Attended WSOP: 1 (first year)
The afternoon after the November Nine was reached, each player sat for an interview with the WSOP’s Nolan Dalla. Below are excerpts from those conversations:
Question: Congratulations on making the November Nine. Has the reality that you have made poker's most elite fraternity settled in yet?
Makiievskyi: Honestly, I don’t understand what this all means, yet. Today, I’ve had a few people ask me to take photographs with them. It’s very strange to me.
Question: During the previous eight days, was there ever a moment where you thought that you really had a chance at making the final table?
Makiievskyi: No not really. Even when we were down to ten-handed, it still felt like a long way away.
Question: Did this tournament feel different than other major events that you’ve played? Did you have a good feeling about this tournament even during the earlier stages?
Makiievskyi: In a way -- I did. Every night when I would go home, I would think, 'Wow, I can’t believe that I am playing in the Main Event,' or even that I am here playing poker here in Las Vegas. Even when I was a child, I used to dream about being a professional gambler -- like James Bond playing roulette. This is my first time in Las Vegas and my first time to travel to the U.S. So, when I would go home at the end of each night's play, I would think that it feels unbelievable to be doing this for real.
Question: What did you do before playing poker professionally?
Makiievskyi: I studied at the University in my hometown. I studied mathematics and science. I was going to pursue it further, but then I discovered I was good at poker and that I liked how it allowed me to use my analytical thinking. So, I kept playing and now here I am.
Question: "Poker is fun," or "Poker is business." Which one do you think applies to you?
Makiievskyi: I cannot pick just one. Six months ago I realized that while you are having fun, you’re earning money. When this stops being pleasurable, you don’t play as good. So, as long as you are enjoying this game, you will have good accomplishments.
Question: Ukrainians have stormed this year’s WSOP with four bracelets, with you potentially earning a fifth victory for your home country. How do you feel about the success that you and your countrymen have enjoyed this year?
Makiievskyi: Before I came to the WSOP, I thought that I could be the first one to win a WSOP gold bracelet. But when I got here, there were already four gold bracelets won by Ukrainians. So, I thought what could be better than the bracelet -- and that’s making it to the Main Event final table. I thought that would be really nice. But I knew it would be tough. I tried to do my best. It means a lot to be here. But like I said before, I'm still taking all of this in right now.
Question: If you were offered a second-place finish right now in the Main Event, would you take it?
Makiievskyi: (without hesitation) Yeah! (laughter)