Lilya Novikova, who was known as “Russia’s most beautiful poker player,” was found dead in the home she shared with her parents on June 11, 2019. She was 26 years old.
Novikova was electrocuted in the bathroom, Russian investigators confirmed, reportedly while drying her hair. Her death appears to have been an accident.
Novikova went by the nickname “Liay5” on social media. She attracted nearly 25,000 followers on Twitch, an online streaming platform for gamers.
Here’s what you need to know.
1. A Neighbor Found Liliya Novikova on the Bathroom Floor After Her Parents Expressed Concern
Liliya Novikova lived on Kutuzovsky Avenue in central Moscow with her parents, according to Russian news outlets. But she was home alone on the night she passed away.
The Moscow-based newspaper “Moskovskij Komsomolets” reported that Novikova’s parents were out of town. They became concerned when they could not get ahold of their daughter. They called a neighbor, an elderly woman who had reportedly known the family for at least 20 years, to check on Novikova. The neighbor had an extra set of keys to the family’s home.
The neighbor found Novikova naked and unconscious on the bathroom floor. Translated from Russia, the newspaper reported that “there was no trace of violent acts on her body.”
2. Novikova Suffered an Electric Shock While Drying Her Hair in the Bathroom
Liliya Novikova’s death appears to have been an accident, according to Russian news outlets. The state-sponsored news agency TASS reported that investigators found “traces of an electrical injury” on Novikova’s body. It’s believed that she had been drying her hair when she fell to the ground.
Investigators from Russia’s Investigative Committee confirmed to the BBC that Novikova was electrocuted.
3. Liliya Novikova Was a Popular Poker Player in Russia
Liliya Novikova described herself on her Instagram account as a professional poker player. According to Casino.org, Novikova played poker both online and at casino tournaments. Her most profitable win was reportedly in 2015 when she won $54,068 at the EPT Prague NLH Deepstack event.
Novikova was a popular player on Twitch, an online community for gamers. She had nearly 25,000 followers on the site and had posted more than 100 videos on the platform. Her videos included tips for aspiring poker players. Novikova also amassed nearly 17,000 followers on Instagram.
In an interview with PokerStrategy.com in 2014, Novikova shared that she began playing poker as a child, mainly Five Card Draw. She said that the most important qualities a poker player can have are “patience and diligence.”
4. Novikova Had an Engineering Degree
Liliya Novikova studied engineering at Bauman Moscow State Technical University. She told PokerStrategy.com in 2014 that she was about to graduate.
She focused on mechanical engineering and said she chose the school after winning an “academic competition.” Novikova added that she had developed an interest in math and sciences as a child. “My grandmother was a math teacher so she gave me extra lessons sometimes.”
5. Liliya Novikova Posted Photos of Herself Snowboarding & Swimming on Instagram
Liliya Novikova spent much of her time at poker tables and competing on her computer, but she appears to have been a very active person. She posted photos of herself snowboarding, swimming, cycling and working out at a boxing gym.
Many fans took to social media to express their grief over Novikova’s sudden passing.