Russian poker player, Lilya Novikova, has died after reportedly accidentally electrocuting herself in a bath. She was not only a star of online poker but also had a profile on the live streaming channel Twitch, which was big in the eGaming community. The reports that emerged from Russia suggested that the country’s Investigative Committee, the SK, declared it to be an accident. It is believed that the poker star, known as Lia in the community, electrocuted herself when using her hair drier in the bathroom of the flat that she lived in with her parents.
The state news agency TASS was told by a source, “During the initial examination, traces of an electrical injury were found on the victim’s body”. The Moskovsky Komsomolets, which is a daily newspaper in the country, revealed that Novikova’s body was found by an elderly neighbour who had a key to the flat. The neighbour entered the flat after being contacted by relatives when Novikova didn’t answer phone calls or texts. There are no suggestions that the death was anything other than a tragic accident.
Who Was Lilya Novikova?
Once described as the ‘most beautiful poker star’ in Russia, Lia, as she was known to her fans, was 26 when she died, just four days before her 27th birthday. A member of PokerStrategy.com, Novikova made a name for herself when she won the website’s community contest for Russia in 2014.
As well as being one of Russia’s best-known poker stars, Novikova boasted a following of just shy of seventeen thousand people on Instagram when she died. Using the username Liay5, she would post attractive pictures of herself in numerous different places, including at home and in the park. She would also regularly pose in front of her computer with poker games playing in the background.
She posted more than one thousand three hundred pictures, often showing off her presence at poker tournaments around Russia. As well as demonstrating her card playing skills, Liay grew in popularity by showing off new and different styles of haircut and general look. She would be a redhead one day and then purple-headed the next, mixing things up from being a girl next door type to a grungy rock chick.
A Girl of Many Talents
Whilst dismissed by some as a ‘pretty girl’ who used her looks to garner attention, Novikova was actually far more impressive than that. She graduated from the well-known Bauman Moscow State Technical University with a degree in design engineering, with the mathematical knowledge she gained from that as well as her ‘outstanding intellect’ helping her to work out how to develop her poker career.
As well as graduating from Russia’s second-oldest education institute, Novikova was also a keen snowboarder, cyclist, boxer, rower, archer and swimmer. Her interest in all of those things could be seen on her Instagram account, where she would regularly post pictures of herself enjoying her time engaging in her most loved activities. She also combined her time playing poker, both online and in real life, with being an eGamer and someone that was keen to share her skills with the community. She would regularly post videos, giving players tips on how to deal with certain situations in poker games, for example.
A Rising Poker Star
Ultimately, though, it is the poker community that will feel the loss of Novikova most deeply. She built up a large following on her Twitch.TV channel, with people flocking to see how she got on when she played against others in poker tournaments. The Hendon Mob had her listed as Russia’s 418th best player, putting her 22,296th on the Global Poker Index Ranking thanks to her total earnings of just shy of $100,000.
The Global Poker Index itself put her best live cash game win at $54,068, having once reached the height of 2,771st. She declared it to be a ‘dream come true’ when she joined the roster of Team PokerStars Pro Online in March of 2015 when she was just twenty-two. She joined the Russia team that also featured Ivan Demidov, the runner-up at the 2008 World Series of Poker Main Event, as well as the computer sciences graduate Mikhail “innerpsy” Shalamov.