The former Team PokerStars Pro, 2007 Five Diamond Classic and 2011 PCA Super High Roller winner Eugene Katchalov is looking to flee war-torn Ukraine.

With recent news reports confirming that a full-scale invasion of Ukraine by Russian forces is underway, the popular poker legend reached out on social media as he looks for a way to escape his home country and make for a safe haven while it is possible.

Katchalov Appeals for Help on Twitter

“Woke up to the sound of a distant explosion and decided to leave the city with my wife.”

Eugene Katchalov, who is currently in the capital of Ukraine, Kiev, says that he woke up to explosions in the capital and has therefore left, in a bid to leave the country.

Breaking the news of his predicament on Twitter, here is how Katchalov informed his fans of the latest developments in his native Ukraine.

Fans immediately replied in a positive fashion, with one offering to put up Katchalov and his family safety, saying: “Would be happy to help you and your family get setup here in Prague. Just grab a train from Kiev to Bratislava and then to Prague.”

Poker reporter Christian Zetzsche, who claimed his first Global Poker Award last week as he won Best Live Reporter at the 3rd annual Global Poker Awards in Las Vegas, replied: “‘Just grab a train out of the country’ is not going to work.”

Katchalov has received a plethora of replies, many of which could be hugely helpful, ranging from advice to fleeing the country via evacuation routes to the South and Southwest of the country into countries such as Slovenia, Hungary or Romania.

PokerStars Offer Support to Fellow Star

“Good luck and stay safe.”

Plenty of poker luminaries have reached out to offer love and support to the Katchalovs at such a difficult time, with Randy Ohel among many to wish “Good luck and stay safe.” Former U.S. reality TV programme Survivor star Ronnie Bardah wished “Stay safe brother”.

Others to send out positive vibes to the former PokerStars Team Pro, who was a mainstay of televised poker back in the years during the first poker boom included J.C. Tran, who said, “Damn bro. Hope you guys stay safe.” Many simply hoped for safety, with Charlotte Van Brabander saying, “Stay safe!”

Katchalov is much loved in the poker industry, not least by fans, who have replied and liked his post in their thousands. Perhaps inspired by them, Katchalov has kept his fans updated on the situation as it develops.

Latest Updates from Katchalov Who Thanks ‘All This Support’

“From what we understand, it’s not safe to drive at night.”

Katchalov’s many updates detail his experiences as things have gone so far, with him and his family fleeing the capital Kiev as they bid to escape the country and find safe passage, possibly via the U.S. Embassy, with whom he also has heritage.

Katchalov started telling followers what was going on with a worrying reference to “Hearing military planes flying overhead. Not sure if UA or RUS. Owner of the house is now showing us her basement where I guess we could take cover in case bombing starts.”

In the morning, Katchalov told of a night of little rest.

“Only slept 2 hours last night,” he write. “Hoping to get at least a bit more zzz’s tonight as [tomorrow] will be a loooong day/s on the road and God knows what else. At the same time won’t be easy to relax and fall asleep. Likely will head out toward one of the borders early in the morning on 2 SUV’s. Will leave my car here. From what we understand, it’s not safe to drive at night. Expecting to be stuck in massive traffic and hoping there will be gas to fill up along the way.”

Katchalov’s plan aside, the poker legend wanted to make time to thank everyone who had got in touch with him on the social media platform.

“I haven’t tweeted much in the last years,” he admitted. “But certainly incredible to get all this support from everyone both in public and in private. Thank you everyone, it’s really helpful/inspiring.”

Last night’s update from Katchlov told of his latest plans to escape the country.

This morning, however, Katchalov and his wife found their route to the border fraught with danger.

“Just woke up. Kiev is apparently being bombed.” he wrote. “About to start driving West. Blocks on the road with UA soldiers with Kalashnikovs.”

Later, Katchalov said that he had found a working gas station after a previous eight had been closed. With the poker star trying to avoid cities at all costs, he spoke of a ‘long road’ ahead, with difficulty driving between small villages and avoiding the main roads.

“Not hungry, not thirsty and not tired even with all this driving,” he explained. “Amazing how your body naturally produces Cortezol and keeps you focused on the sole mission – get to the border.”

As the poker world roots for all in Ukraine to be safe, Katchalov’s plight is indicative of the worrying times many of their countrymen are living through.

We’ll update this page with any developments as they happen and everyone at Gamble Online’s thoughts are with anyone affected by the conflict.

Cliff Spiller

Cliff Spiller is a veteran casino writer with decades of experience under his belt. He's played at –and reviewed– countless of online casinos, and has written dozens of casino game guides. His strategy articles, and gambling news updates have been a fixture in the industry since 2004. A native of North Texas, Cliff is a long-suffering Dallas Cowboys fan. He enjoys sports and games of all sorts, including sports betting.

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