June 14, 2019 3 min read


The Russian Doll of Poker, Liliya Novikova, Dies Aged 26

Photo Credit: PokerStars

  • “Russian doll” of poker dies aged 26
  • Novikova suffered electrocution and possible head trauma
  • She was a skilled online entrepreneur

Young poker talent Liliya Novikova has died at the age of 26, after suffering electrocution caused by a faulty hairdryer and reportedly receiving a trauma to the head as a result of a fall.

Russia’s Poker Talent, Liliya Novikova Passes Away

Liliya Novikova, Russia’s inspiring esports and poker talent, has died aged 26. Novikova was found dead in her home in Moscow, Channel 5 reported. She was a former PokerStars ambassador and a Twitch streamer known as “Liya5”. According to reports, Novikova had suffered a massive electrocution which led to a head trauma resulting in her death.

Her body was found by a neighbor who had the keys to the apartment and was asked to check up on the woman by the concerned parents who hadn’t been able to contact their daughter. Novikova lived in the up-class Kutuzovsky Prospekti district in downtown Moscow.

The cause of death are still to be established during the postmortem,but preliminary reports have suggested that she was electrocuted after her hairdryer had malfunctioned. This could have led to a blow to her head, reports have suggested.

Meet Liya5, the Girl Who Excelled

Novikova was an accomplished engineer who graduated as top of her class from the Moscow Bauman State Technical University but turned down offers to work in her field after she decided to pursue a career in esports and poker.

Prior to her online poker debut, she was competing professionally in Dota 2, a video game developed by Valve. Her later interests took her to poker where she completely dominated the high-echelons of PokerStars, specializing in Hyper Turbo and Sit & Go’s games.

Her most notable victory at an offline event is the EPT Prague NLH Deepstack where she won $54,068. Novikova was also present in social media as a poker tutor and she ran her own Master Class series along with selling branded poker clothing.

Death in Poker

Novikova is not the first female poker professional to pass away before her time. In 2017, Emma Fryer, a British up-and-coming professional was killed in a car crash in the Czech Republic where she attended the World Series of Poker Europe (WSOPE).

Interestingly, Novikova’s academic background outlines an interesting trend whereby women who choose to compete professionally often hold a degree. Maria Konnikova, another Russian-American poker player, is a Ph. D. in psychology and B.A. in creative writing and psychology. Konnikova is one of the most promising female talents in poker to date.


Rachael is a veteran gaming journalist with over 9 years of writing experience but has only just started within the gambling industry. She has built a keen interest within the iGaming sector over the years from exposure at events and intends to translate her passion into publications here at GamblingNews.com to keep our readers updated with the latest developments.

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