Natalia Rozova’s Asian Invasion

natalia 2 1

The 2023 U Series of Poker (USOP) in Da Nang, Vietnam was the first foray into the Asian poker scene by Russian national and now Auckland, New Zealand resident Natalia Rozova. 

After modest success in the New Zealand and Australia circuit as well as a few cashes in the WSOP, Rozova attained five cashes and a win in the USOP and also binked the Single Day High Roller Mystery Bounty at the Asian Poker Tour Hanoi Billions earlier this month for her second biggest haul to date. 

“To be honest, I don’t know if I qualify as a ‘pro’,” the 35-year-old said. “I had my career and been working full time till June this year. I’ve always been mixing poker and career, but in June, I decided I wanted a break from my full-time job so now I pretty much just play poker.”

With career earnings of well over US$ 300,000, Rozova is one to look out for if she continues being active in the Asian circuit. 

“It’s my first time in Vietnam and my first time playing poker in Asia,” she said. “I traveled around Asia a bit already as a tourist. (I’ve been) to Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, and Indonesia. In terms of playing (poker), the experience has been great.”

31 PLO 12
Natalia Rozova

In the USOP, she amassed more than VND 853 Million (~US$ 35,000) including a triumph at the Pot Limit Omaha event. She finished 23rd in the Main Event and was the last lady standing.

“In Da Nang, I felt a bit disappointed with my Main Event run: top 3 tables is always very bitter. (It) feels too close in a way,” Rozova shared. “So it was nice to fly into Hanoi and win the first major event I played.”

Her victory in the APT Single Day High Roller Mystery Bounty brought with it the top prize of VND 1,451,050,000 (~US$ 59,814). Rozova also placed second in the PLO-High 5-Card 8-Max for VND 101,040,000 (~US$ 4,200). 

“I wish there were more PLO higher buy-in events but (I) still will come back for more trophies,” she said. “I’m planning to go play (in the) WSOP, but I couldn’t get my visa to go for the last two years. I’m looking forward to finally going this year.”

Rozova has a multitude of cashes in the WSOP, both in the live and online realms. She got paid thrice on the 2019 edition with a 106th place finish in the Ladies Event, 188th in the Deepstack 8-Handed event and 143rd in the Tag Team event. Rozova also garnered eight cashes in the WSOP Online circuit in 2020 and 2022. 

In her first Asian sortie, Rozova needed very little time to adjust to the style of play in the region in her long exposure in the USOP before the APT.

“I didn’t have much problems adjusting to local meta,” she revealed. “What I noticed is the amount of tiny 3-bets from the blinds. (I) even called them ‘like condensed milk coffee, a national favorite’. The main difference for me would be that in Australia and especially New Zealand I already played versus many players and they played against me which sometimes affects how I build my strategy in these fields. In Vietnam I mostly played against opponents for the first time and was going for baseline solid poker.”

Photo by WPT

Rozova admits that the competition aspect of the game is what keeps her fascinated.

“Competing is in my core,” she said. “I grew up playing tennis, a very individual sport where on weekends we always had matches and that’s what was my dynamic growing up. You (have to) compete. At the same time, I love solving tasks and I’ve always had a good predisposition in all things related to math and problem-solving. I always enjoyed it, too, so poker just perfectly hits those two things for me.”

With a January that is already filling up in the Asian poker calendar—the USOP Taiwan, the KSOP in Seoul, and the much-anticipated WPT Cambodia—Rozova will have a plethora of festivals to continue her invasion of Asia and establish herself as a stalwart in the region. 

*Article by Noel Zarate

Avatar photo

Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

More Posts

Follow Me:
Special EmailTwitterFacebookFlickrYouTube