Earlier this month, 26-year-old Roman “Romeopro” Romanovsky became the 20th player to reach $8 million in online earnings. A big score that helped him get there was the $107,500 he won back in September after topping a field of 171 entries in our XL Eclipse High Roller.

He also won the Event #27: $15,000 Tornado for $5,332 to join a small club of two-time XL Eclipse winners. All told, nearly $600K of his online winnings has come on 888poker.

The #1-ranked online player in Ukraine, Romanovsky has also amassed $429,941 playing live. That includes a career best $189,776 for topping a field of 289 entries to win the EPT8/FPS2 Deauville €2,200 No-Limit Hold’em Event. However, Romanovsky hasn’t had a live cash since 2013, instead opting to focus on his online exploits.

Well respected among his peers, Romanovsky, who coaches for the bitB team, made the noble decision to donate 66.7% of his poker winnings to charity. His announcement came in September 2016 in a TwoPlusTwo post titled “Charity Marathon by RomeOpro #2.”

A year and a half after doing a similar charity marathon, albeit a smaller one, Romanovsky revealed that he would be seeking to win $600,000, of which he would donate $400,000 to charity. He has since upped his goal to $1 million, and may very well go for more.

After his XL Eclipse wins, Romanovsky brought his current charity marathon total up to $337,650. We recently chatted with Romanovsky to talk about his XL Eclipse wins, his charity marathon, and more.

888poker: How did it feel to win the XL Eclipse High Roller?

Romanovsky: It felt pretty great, especially when you’ve had such a bad SCOOP. Basically, we had a prop bet where we had three of us from bitB versus three Swedish players. The bet was who would earn more money in cashes. We were running insanely bad all month, but September was the opposite. It’s pretty nice to lose so much, and then win big in September.

888poker: Can you give us an update on your charity marathon?

Romanovsky: It’s roughly $400K profit, but I updated the goal to make it $1 million. Maybe I will change it once again, but we will see next year. The maximum I’d change it to if things go well is $1.5 million profit, meaning $1 million would go to charity. After finishing the marathon, I’d essentially end my poker career and focus on how to make the world better.

888poker: Is making the world a better place what inspires you to give to charity?

Romanovsky: Yes. My inspiration comes from the total mess in which the world is right now and the desire to fix it at least a little bit. I feel bad for all the people who live in poverty, the refugees, all these kids who die under the age of five. It’s just very frustrating that in the 21st century we’re facing this. It’s ludicrous.

888poker: How do you feel about other charity initiatives like REG charity?

Romanovsky: I think it’s overall great. It’s basically the same as GiveWell. It’s the GiveWell version for poker players. In general, these kind of aggregation charities that show you the possibilities on how to be the most effective are very important. For example, in Ukraine there are a lot of people who donate to helping cancer patients. On average the cost there is $100K.

You can save a life in Africa for $5K, so you spend 20 times more on basically the same result. You can save either 20 people or children, or one person or child. It’s unfortunate that so many people are spending so much money ineffectively.

888poker: Can you tell us a little bit about your daily online grind?

Romanovsky: I’m usually starting, when it’s not a serious month or tournaments, around 5 p.m. It’s 30 minutes past the Lightning on 888. I’ll play until the morning hours in Ukraine. Playing in Ukraine is not that great because you basically sleep during the day and play during the night. I overall feel well, but I’m used to it after eight years of playing. It doesn’t seem like a problem at all nowadays.

888poker: Do you ever play live anymore or just focus on playing online?

Romanovsky: I mainly focus on online. I played quite a bit live in 2011-2012, but now it’s just online, which is higher dollar per hour. I just prefer to spend my free time in Ukraine with friends as opposed to going to other countries to play poker. I’ve been to a lot of countries.

One argument for traveling for poker is your get to see friends, and another is you get to see cool places around the world. I just prefer to nowadays to travel around the world with my friends from Ukraine with no poker involvement. It’s 100% rest instead of playing poker most days.

888poker: What are some of your favorite 888 events?

Romanovsky: Every day that I play, I play on 888poker. I play pretty much all tournaments with a buy-in of $109 or more, and some $55 buy-ins like The Monsoon. I play a lot of tables. My favorite event on the week is the Mega Deep. It’s the deepest one possible. The fact that the structure is so deep is really cool.

888poker: If anyone is inspired to join your charity marathon, how can they go about that?

Romanovsky: The best way is to send me private message on TwoPlusTwo or on the Russian forum gipsyteam.ru.

For more on Roman “Romeopro” Romanovsky, follow him on Twitter @RomanRomanovsky

About the Author
Chad Holloway is a 2013 WSOP Bracelet winner who has previously worked for PokerNews as a managing editor and live reporter
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