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Ivo Donev

Ivo Donev
Donev in 2010
Nickname(s) The Chess Master
Born 25 December 1959 (age 56)
World Series of Poker
Bracelet(s) 1
Money finish(es) 14
Highest ITM
Main Event finish
European Poker Tour
Title(s) None
Final table(s) 1
Money finish(es) 7

Ivo Donev (born 25 December 1959) is a Bulgarian, with Austrian passport, who is a professional chess and poker player.


His father, Hristo Donev was a national master at chess.

Ivo Donev won the 1989 CSSR International Chess Tournament, progressing him to International Master status. When he and his family emigrated to Austria in 1990, Donev taught for a chess school at $10 per hour to support his study of computer science. Ivo Donev is the author of the chess book "The most important ideas in the end game" in German language.


Donev studied the poker books of David Sklansky, Mason Malmuth and Tom McEvoy and practiced using poker computer software.

Donev won a bracelet in the $1,500 Limit Omaha event at the 2000 World Series of Poker (WSOP), where he took home $85,800 for his first place finish.

In 2002, Donev made his one and only appearance on Late Night Poker. He finished 5th out of an impressive field including Peter Costa, Dave Welch and Ram Vaswani. In 2003, Donev finished as a semi-finalist in the World Heads-Up Poker Championship.

A professional chess player before starting his poker career, he is currently number 1 in the Austrian All-Time Money list, and was the first Austrian to reach $1,000,000 in major tournament winnings.

World Series of Poker Money Finishes

Personal life

He has two children, and lives in Lochau bei Bregenz, Austria.

His life and career is discussed in the James McManus book Positively Fifth Street.