The speculation is over and it’s now official – professional poker player Ronnie Bardah has been announced as a cast member of the upcoming season of the popular U.S. television show Survivor.
The 35-year old poker pro from Brockton, Massachusetts will be one of 20 new players stranded on a tropical island hoping to “outwit, outplay, outlast” the competition for the $1 million first-place prize of Survivor: Island of the Idols.
— Ronnie Bardah (@RonnieBardah) September 9, 2019
Rumors of Bardah’s inclusion in the upcoming season had been floating around for months but his time on the island was confirmed by a cast reveal in Entertainment Weekly. In the profile, Bardah gives mainstream audiences a few ‘get-to-know-me’ tidbits about himself including his hobbies of kickboxking, hiking, and beatboxing.
His listed occupation is as a poker pro and when asked about his proudest accomplishment, Bardah calls back to his time on ESPN as he chased history in the Main Event.
“Holding the world record for the most consecutive cashes in the World Series of Poker,” Bardah said. “Also, getting my dad out of Brockton and buying him a place in Henderson, Nevada.”
Bardah follows in the footsteps of a pair of popular poker players who also have competed on Survivor. Jean-Robert Bellande competed on the 15th season of the show, Survivor: China. Bellande found himself at the center of plenty of controversies during his season and was eventually voted out on the 24th day, good enough to make the jury.
Los Angeles based poker pro Garrett Adelstein also made a brief appearance on the show during Survivor: Cagayan, the 28th season of the show in 2013. Adelstein didn’t last long, however. Despite finding an immunity idol in the early days at camp and being at the center of a blindside in one of the first Tribal Councils, Adelstein’s tribemates returned the favor and blindsided him on Day 6, leaving his immunity idol unused back at camp.
Other poker players to have played the game includes Jackie Glazier who competed in the Australian version of the game as well as legendary online nosebleed grinder Ilari ‘Zigmund’ Sahamies who finished in fourth place on Finnish Survivor.
When asked what past Survivor cast members Bardah thought he was most like, he didn’t bring up either of his poker contemporaries but likened his game to players who made deep runs in the game.
“Jeremy Collins [winner of Survivor: Cambodia] because he’s charismatic, loyal, compassionate and can read players so well,” Bardah said. “Strategically, my approach would be a hybrid of Devon Pinto [contestant of Survivor: Heroes vs. Healers vs. Hustlers] – bluffing the dumb role sneakily well, and Boston Rob – impeccable timing of making big moves and sniffing out when people are up to something.”
Bardah is familiar with what it takes to outdo his competition on the felt having earned over $1.3 million on the live tournament circuit. In addition to his record of five straight cashes in the World Series of Poker Main Event, Bardah owns a WSOP bracelet that he won in 2012 after taking down the $2,500 Limit Hold’em Six Handed event for $182,088.
While Bardah’s journey on Survivor is already complete, viewing audiences will get to watch what happened when Survivor: Island of the Idols premieres on CBS on September 25.