I met Tatjana for the first time a couple years ago, right here in Sarajevo. I was pretty much clueless about poker, as I’d only just discovered it and started dabbling with a few freerolls here and there. Her career was just beginning, but even back then her overall demeanor and the passion she had for what she was doing were a good indicator that she was embarking on what was going to be one great success story.
Today, Tatjana Pasalic is a name known to everyone in the poker world and beyond. Her passion for the game and talent for presenting coupled with true beauty enabled her to get where she is today, and it is a story that still has at least a couple chapters to be added, for sure.
After reading an article this morning about her idea to make a documentary about Sarajevo, the city that is one of her two favorite destinations in the world, I decided to try and get in touch with her again and see if she had a little time to answer a couple of questions for PokerUpdate. Luckily for all the numerous fans (myself included), she did!
Hi Tatjana and thank you for your time, I know you must be super busy all the time.
How did you first start with poker? Where did you first hear about the game and what attracted you to it?
Tatjana: I was in Denmark when the online poker boom started and got involved in the back office jobs – customer support, blogging… Eventually I advanced towards the TV presenting and found myself there. A lot of things attracted me to poker: traveling, meeting new people, working in front of the camera.
Talking about your career as a poker blogger/presenter, what would you say was the first major breakthrough that enabled you to get where you are today?
Tatjana: The presenting for PartyPoker and the World Poker Tour. They gave me an amazing opportunity to go places, meet people and establish myself in the world of poker presenting. After that, it was Full Tilt with the gig in Eastern Europe, and, of course, CalvinAyre, who has supported me and used me as their face for the past 4 years, which I am very grateful for.
You are always very busy with everything that’s going on in the poker world. Could you tell us what does an average day in the office look like for Tatjana? When all is said and done, do you have enough time left for yourself?
Tatjana: I do not really have an office; most of our work is done via emails, Skype and meetings on location. If I am covering a tournament, I usually meet the crew around noon, we go through the plan for the day, decide who we want to interview and come up with the theme/questions. Then we spend the day trying to grab those interviews. After getting those done, we film links in front of the camera and then head back home/studio so the crew can cut the videos and prepare them for publishing. I am usually still on call in case something needs to be redone. When we cover a big event like the ME or the One Drop, we stay there until the winner. Not once have I slept on the chairs of the media room waiting for the HU to finish.
Your cooking skills have become quite famous and many well-known players sing praises to your food preparation abilities. How did you become so involved with it – was it something you’ve always enjoyed and knew how to do or something you’ve discovered along the way and fell in love with?
Tatjana: I got involved with it a few years ago but after I cooked for ElkY and Eugene Katchalov, my kitchen got swamped with people requesting my dinners. I love making people happy and I think food is one way of accomplishing that. Plus, my food is very clean and the ingredients come from healthy stores and fresh markets, so people can feel good about themselves when they come by for dinner.
Apart from your engagements as a poker media persona, you’ve also been known to play occasional tournaments yourself. How’s poker been treating you overall and do you have any specific goals in that regard, or you just play for the enjoyment of the game?
Tatjana: I am and have always been a TV presenter and a spokesmodel. I enjoy playing poker, I absolutely love playing in the ME and hanging out with people and I think those will maintain my goals: representing CalvinAyre as a brand and having fun at the tables.
We know how most guys spend their free time on the circuit – playing Chinese poker or whatever the game of the moment is for the most part. How about girls, is it the same, or you have some other things you like doing to unwind? Who are the people you spend the most time with when travelling around?
Tatjana: I play Chinese Poker quite a bit. I especially love spending my days off grabbing a beer, a burger and playing some Chinese. If I am at a new location, I like exploring the local cuisine; I very often get enrolled in a cooking class or find a local restaurant and indulge. If I can, I rent a bike or take mine with me and spend time exploring the hills of the city I am in.
A question on everybody’s mind: what is the situation like on a personal plan, if you do not mind sharing? There is a special someone in your life, if I am not mistaken? Anything else you feel like sharing on that subject?
Tatjana: Yes, I have been in a relationship for 3 years now.
I’ve heard that you are planning on filming a documentary about Sarajevo. Where did that idea come from and what would be the focus of the film?
Tatjana: I did say I would like to do that, but there is so much between a wish and it being made. Hopefully, one day it happens.
Your thoughts on poker in the Balkans region? It has certainly come a long way from where it was a couple years ago?
Tatjana: I wish it went further than it did, to be honest.
Do you know what the rest of the year will look like for you? Are you playing the Main Event?
Tatjana: I am heading out to Vegas in a couple of weeks and will be there for a while. Definitely playing the ME, covering the One Drop and the ME for CalvinAyre.com and then heading out to Australia in September for the WSOP Asia. Taking my bike with me so expect a lot of beach photos.
If someone fronted you a $1 million to play in the One Drop, do you feel you would be up for the challenge or the experience would be too overwhelming and intimidating?
Tatjana: How could I ever reject that offer?
Who do you think are the sexiest five guys in poker? Or three at least?
Tatjana: McLean Karr, Patrik Antonius, Elliot Smith.
What do you make of Dan Bilzerian, who’s been dubbed the real Bruce Wayne and the most interesting person on Instagram?
Tatjana: I think he is brilliant. I want to pet his cat.
Do you enjoy playing online poker, or is live much more down your venue? What was your biggest online score?
Tatjana: I prefer playing live, unless there is a decent group of people hanging out and there is only a few tables being played, otherwise it becomes boring after a while. Well, until somebody final tables a major. 🙂
What would be your biggest strength at the tables? Do you feel there is anything special that gives you an edge while playing?
And finally, when can we expect to see you here in Sarajevo? You mentioned that you enjoy the Sarajevo Film Fest – will you be here for it this year, or you’ll be occupied with other things?
Tatjana: I can’t wait to come back to Sarajevo. Hopefully it will happen next summer. I have not had a Balkan vacation in a few years and I miss all the cevapi, hurmasice and burek.