‘Russia’s Most Beautiful Poker Player’ Liliya Novikova Found Dead from Suspected Electrocution

Posted on: June 13, 2019, 07:19h. 

Last updated on: June 13, 2019, 09:01h.

Russia’s Channel 5 has reported the death of poker player and esports star Liliya Novikova, aka “Liay5,” who was found dead in her bathroom in Moscow on Wednesday, apparently from a massive electric shock.

Liliya Novikova
Liliya Novikova, known to her fans as Liay5, was found dead in her Moscow apartment on Wednesday in what appears to have been a tragic accident. (Image: Pikdo)

The 26-year-old, dubbed “Russia’s most beautiful poker player” by Russian media, was a former PokerStars Pro and avid Twitch streamer, with a large following in her home country that made her the most popular female poker streamer on the platform, with almost 25,000 followers.

According to Channel 5, Novikova had been home alone at the apartment she shares with her parents on the affluent Kutuzovsky Prospekt in central Moscow. Her parents became concerned when they were unable to reach her on the phone and asked a neighbour, who had keys to the apartment, to check on her. The neighbor found her body on the bathroom floor.

Accidental Death

While a post-mortem has yet to be completed, investigators said the absence of signs of violence on Novikova’s body suggested her death was accidental. Preliminary checks on the body suggested signs of electric shock trauma.

She was believed to have been blow-drying her hair in the moments leading up to her death and reports have suggested the hairdryer may have been faulty. It’s believed she may have banged her head as a result of the electric shock.

Who Was Liay5?

Novikova had a first-class degree in Engineering from Moscow Bauman State Technical University but shunned offers of highly paid jobs within the engineering sector to focus on her skills as a games player, according to media reports.

By the age of 22, she had gained PokerStars “Supernova Elite” status, the highest ranking on the site, where she was a specialist in hyper-turbo six-max sit-and-gos.

Her biggest dent on the live tournament scene was when she won the EPT Prague NLH Deepstack event in 2015 for $54,068.

Prior to her success as a poker player, she played video games such as Dota2 professionally. As well as being a much-loved poker tutor on social media, Novikova was an accomplished cyclist, snowboarder, rower and boxer and ran her own online shop for poker-themed clothing.

Second Tragedy in Two Years

Novikova’s death is the second tragedy to hit women’s poker in as many years. In November 2017, Emma Fryer, a 42-year-old British mother of two, who was predicted to do great things on the felt, was killed in a car crash in the Czech Republic.

Fryer — nicknamed “The Queen of Poker” — was in the Czech Republic to compete in the World Series of Poker Europe, when the vehicle she was a passenger in was involved in an accident in heavy fog.

She suffered multiple injuries from the impact of the crash and died in the hospital three days later.

The driver was prosecuted for causing death by dangerous driving.