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  1. After a ten-month hiatus, the live World Poker Tour Main Tour returned to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Hollywood, Florida for the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open. After a long day of play and a three-handed deal, Ilyas Muradi took home $605,000, a ticket to the 2021 WPT Tournament of Champions, and his first career WPT title. For anyone questioning if live poker players were eager to get back in the action, the WPT Lucky Hearts Poker Open had the answer. Despite the state of the pandemic, playing behind plexiglass barriers, and the requirement to wear masks the tournament’s 1,753-entry field became the third-largest in the WPT’s eighteen-year history. It wasn’t just an outpouring of local players that made their way to the Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino as players traveled from all parts of the globe to participate in the first WPT Main Tour live event since the conclusion of WPT Rolling Thunder in March 2020. There were plenty of notable names who made a deep run in the event but fell short of the final table. World Poker Tour champions Sam Panzica (189th, $6,150) and Kevin Eyster (167th, $6,300) made Day 3 as did Athanasios Polychronopoulous (125th, $7,025), Will ‘The Thrill’ Failla (103rd, $7,880), and well-known vlogger Johnnie Moreno (93rd, $8,230). Among those joining them in the money were Jerry Wong (90th, $8,230), Alex Keating (77th, $9,885), and worldwide current #2-ranked online pro from Croatia Ivan ‘zufo16’ Zufic (31st, $23,110). The final three tables included some of the World Poker Tour’s biggest names including WPT winner Aaron Mermelstein (25th, $23,110), Scott Baumstein (24th, $27,660), WPT Deepstack Champion Justin Liberto (22nd, $27,660), and four-time WPT champion Darren Elias who finished in tenth place and earned $79,455 which brought his career WPT total to just under $3.9 million. Day four started with the final seven players grinding for two 90-minute levels before reaching the official final table of six. Andy Hwang, the final WPT Champion Club member left in the field, started the day third in chips, however, a few hours into play he found himself grinding a short stack of fewer than 20 big blinds. After a raise from Francis Margaglione in early position with [poker card="7d"][poker card="7c"], Hwang three-bet shipped his stack with the [poker card="ac"][poker card="kh"]. Folded back around to Margaglione, he made the call. The board ran out [poker card="3s"][poker card="2s"][poker card="2h"][poker card="6d"][poker card="qd"] ensuring that a new WPT champion would be crowned as Hwang exited in seventh place for $115,630. Roughly twenty minutes later, after an early position raise, Tsz Shing shipped his 22 big blind stack holding [poker card="kh"][poker card="qd"] from the button. Ronnie Bardah made the call from the small blind with his [poker card="qh"][poker card="qs"] and the early position raiser folded. The [poker card="th"][poker card="7c"][poker card="6c"][poker card="4d"][poker card="5d"] ran clean for the pocket queens and eliminated Brooklyn’s Shing in sixth place for a career-high recorded live cash of $168,990. At five-handed, Jesse Lonis put in a raise from late position with [poker card="th"][poker card="ts"]. After it folded to Bardah in the big blind, Bardah put in a three-bet with the [poker card="ks"][poker card="kc"]. With the action back on Lonis and 30 big blinds behind, Lonis four-bet shipped with Bardah snap-called. The [poker card="qd"][poker card="7d"][poker card="7s"] flop left Lonis looking for one of two outs to save him. The [poker card="3d"] hit the turn and the [poker card="jd"] completed the board and ended Lonis’ tournament in fifth place for $223,895. Margaglione started the day with the chip lead but his stack slowly dwindled during the day. Eventually, he made his move by raising from the button with [poker card="qc"][poker card="9s"] only to be shoved on by the big stack of Bardah in the big blind holding [poker card="ad"][poker card="kc"]. With just over 10 big blinds behind, Margaglione opted to make the call. The flop came [poker card="ac"][poker card="6c"][poker card="7s"] giving Bardah top pair and leaving Margaglione looking for runner-runner help. The [poker card="2h"] was of no use to Margaglione who was drawing dead to the [poker card="jh"] river. Margaglione finished in fourth place for $293,510. During a break, the final three players negotiated a deal for the remaining prize pool. Ilyas Muradi locked up $580,000 as the chip leader and Bardah, sitting in second, agreed to $566,135. Robel Andemichael secured $545,500 and all three agreed to leave $25,000 and a ticket to the WPT Tournament of Champions on the table for the eventual winner. Even though a deal was in place, the pace of play stayed deliberate. After roughly two hours, Andemichael put in a raise on the button with [poker card="ac"][poker card="9d"] and Bardah pushed his final twelve big blinds in the middle with [poker card="as"][poker card="2s"]. The [poker card="kd"][poker card="4c"][poker card="2h"] flop gave Bardah the lead, which held through the [poker card="ts"] turn. But the [poker card="9s"] river gave the hand to Andemichael which eliminated Bardah in third place for his agreed-upon career-high score of $566,135. Heads up play started with both Andemichael and Muradi practically even in chips. Another two hours passed without either player holding a significant lead. Finally, Andemichael moved all-in for his final 15 big blinds with [poker card="ad"][poker card="6d"] and was called by Muradi holding [poker card="4d"][poker card="4h"]. The board ran out [poker card="tc"][poker card="9c"][poker card="8s"][poker card="3c"][poker card="qs"] giving Muradi’s pocket fours the pot and his first WPT title. Andemichael finished as the runner-up, taking home the$545,500 he locked up in the deal. Ilyas Muradi added the $25,000 to his $580,000 portion of the deal for a total cash score of $605,000 plus a $15K ticket to the Tournament of Champions, and a date to have his name engraved on the Mike Sexton WPT Champions Cup. Final Table Payouts 1. Ilyas Muradi - $605,000* + WPT Tournament of Champions seat 2. Robel Andemichael - $545,000* 3. Ronnie Bardah - $566,135* 4. Francis Margaglione - $293,510 5. Jesse Lonis - $223,895 6. Tsz Shing - $168,990
  2. We're just short of the money at the 2014 World Series of Poker Main Event, which is entering Day 4 on Friday. On Monday, we'll know the members of this year's November Nine, but in the meantime, two players have set themselves up for success in the long-run: Andrew Liporace and Mehrdad Yousefzadeh. Both bagged over one million in chips at the close of business on Thursday, the only two to do so. --- PocketFives' WSOP coverage is brought to you by Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada. Play Real Gaming, real money poker on any device. Play now for Final Table Freerolls. Skip straight to the final table and win cash daily. --- One of the biggest stories of Day 3 involved 2012 bracelet winner Ronnie Bardah (pictured), who is poised to become the first player ever to cash in five straight Main Events. According to WSOP.com, "One more in the money finish would break the tie of four he currently shares with Robert Turner (1991-1994), Bo Sehlstedt (2004-2007), Theodore Park (2005-2008), Chris Overgard (2007-2010), Chris Bjorin (2008-2011), and Christian Harder (2010-2013)." Bardah doubled up in the waning moments of Day 3 with A-K against 10-10 after flopping an ace to keep his title hopes alive. Here are his WSOP Main Event results over the last four years: 2013 Main Event: 124th place for $50,752 2012 Main Event: 540th place for $21,707 2011 Main Event: 453rd place for $27,103 2010 Main Event: 24th place for $317,161 Phil Ivey (pictured), who ended Day 2 as the overall Main Event chip leader, fell to 72nd out of the 746 remaining players and ended Day 3 with essentially the same stack he started the day with. Seated alongside Ivey on Day 3 was Yousefzadeh, who bet 30,000 on a board of 4-9-3-4-6 and turned over 9-9 for a boat after getting a call. Yousefzadeh kept climbing above one million in chips and ended the day at 1.124 million. We're just short of the money in the Main Event, meaning that when viewers watching the packaged episodes on ESPN tune in come September, they'll see the money bubble burst to start Day 4, likely in the very first episode. The top 693 players will cash, so we need to lose about 50 people in order to make the money. If you missed it, this year's top prize is $10 million and the top seven players will become instant millionaires. Among those still left in the Main Event is London's Craig mcc3991McCorkell, who Tweeted in the overnight hours, "Alright, Day 4 of the #WSOPMainEvent tomorrow! 213k with 750ish left." Bryan badbeatninja Devonshire shared, "Bagging up 191k at the end of Day 3. 53 minutes remain on the clock, waiting until tomorrow to hit the money. Glad to still be in." Meanwhile, the chip leader, Liporace, spent Thursday night trying to conduct business on Twitter, writing, "I currently have over 90% of myself going into Day 4 as the chip leader, 1,128,00, looking for swaps." Phil Galfond (pictured) gave his fans an update on where he stood: "Finished Day 3 of the Main with 92k. Not how I'd hoped my day would go, but I'm happy to still have a shot." He then joked, "Obviously, I'll just fold my way into the money tomorrow." The action resumes at Noon Pacific Time on Friday with Day 4. We'll keep you posted on the latest WSOP newsright here on PocketFives. Real Gaming, a regulated online poker site in Nevada, brings it to you. Want the latest poker headlines and interviews? Follow PocketFives on Twitterand Like PocketFives on Facebook. You can also subscribe to our RSS feed.
  3. Join PocketFives throughout the month of December as we bring you the PocketFives 12 Days of Christmas to help keep you in the spirit of giving. We've covered the favorite holiday traditions, favorite holiday eats, most memorable gifts, and even the top holiday movies from those within the poker world. Now, we're going to hear some of the favorite places to spend the holiday season. In the poker world, it’s no secret that the holiday season is one of the best times to be in Las Vegas, and that’s where WPT champion and WSOP bracelet winner David Williams loves to be. "I would say Las Vegas," Williams said. "You get the WPT Five Diamond, which is one of the best tournaments of the year, and it’s truffle season, so all the top Vegas restaurants have white truffles available on their menus. My mother moved here, so I also get to spend it with my mother and daughter, so no other choice." As you can imagine, family was a big theme no matter the location. Williams mentioned it, so did others, including Felipe 'mojave14' Ramos. "My favorite place to be was always with family in Brazil, but not every time is it possible to be with them, even though I have traveled across the world so many times just to be with there, even last minute," Ramos said. "But now, I am starting my own family and also have to think about my fiancés family. This year's Christmas I will be spending in Las Vegas with Natalie, and my favorite place to be is now with her. I wish I could have every one of my family and friends together at the same place, at least for this time of the year. Life is such a rush and we miss a lot these precious time, so I am trying to build my life and family, but also can't forget my roots." Arguably poker's greatest ambassador, Mike Sexton, also makes the case for Las Vegas where he lives, but he knows the value of showing his son a winter wonderland during this time of year, too. "I love being home for Christmas, but a couple years ago we wanted our son to experience a ‘White Christmas’ so we went to Park City, Utah, and it was truly fantastic," Sexton said. The hustle and bustle of the holidays can be known to drive people crazy. You’re trying to decorate, make every party or plan your own, buy gifts for friends and family, and do it all while living your regular day-to-day life. Vince Van Patten, longtime commentator for the World Poker Tour, likes to take it easy this time of year, at home. "I love staying home in L.A., hanging with the family, swimming in cold water, and seeing some of the best movies of the year during this time," Van Patten said. "I like to slow down and be thankful." Whereas Van Patten may be slowing down, Dan O'Brien loves the city that never sleeps. "New York City," O'Brien said. "It has a special buzz around Christmas and my family has a tradition of enjoying dinner and a play every year. Great spot to be." Ronnie Bardah, a World Series of Poker bracelet winner who was once the victim of one of the most incredible bluffs of all time by a former Miss Finland, stays true and says the holidays are best spent back where it all began. "The holidays are best spent in the hood you grew up in, where childhood memories were created," Bardah said. "Growing up Jewish, we celebrated Hanukkah on Christmas Day and mom would try to keep the Jewish tradition in the house. I love Christmas, and if I could choose, I would always spend it in Boston! Walking around malls, singing Christmas music, and throwing snowballs at punk kids. These days, New Year’s is always somewhere new. This year, though, I’ll be in Vegas bringing it in with Papa Smurf!" Lynn Gilmartin, anchor of the World Poker Tour, is also on board for her favorite place being home. For her, that's Down Under in Australia, but it's doesn't mean it's going to be cold. "My favorite place to be is at home in Melbourne with my family and friends," Gilmartin said. "It's summertime in Australia, so the holidays revolve around barbecues and the beach. I love it and couldn't imagine having a cold Christmas!" Do you have a favorite place to spend the holidays? Let us know by commenting on this article or tweet to us at @PocketFives. Happy Holidays! *Photo courtesy of PokerStarsLIVE.
  4. Not only was the World Series of Poker ‘Big 50’ the talk of the town for those in Las Vegas, but it quickly became the talk of the entire global poker community as the 2019 WSOP kicked off. With the event now firmly in the rearview mirror, PocketFives spoke to a few players to get their take on the record-setting 28,371-player field. “This event was unbelievable. The way the WSOP handled everything, just hats off to them. To see everybody come out here, the numbers, the turnout it got - poker is definitely not dead. It’s just a great tournament and I’m very happy to be able to participate in it.” - Ronnie Bardah “I think for a first event, it’s understandable that some of it was unorganized because I’m sure that they didn’t expect the amount of players that they had. I think that if they did it again and it was more organized, that they would probably have an even larger field than the one they already have because people who have may reentered were deterred because of the amount of time they had to wait to reenter to sit again. I think structure-wise it was excellent. I think the players were from all over the world, you have the best and you have people who were here recreationally. For the most part, I think it was a really good tournament.” - Judith Bielan “The event was great. This is what brings everyone back to the world of poker. I don’t think any other organization can orchestrate this particular event except for the WSOP. Maybe they can even do a bigger and better one next year in 2020. This was great for everybody.” - Robert Cheung “I think the turnout for the Big 50 was fantastic. I actually think it’s crazy how many people were complaining. At the end of the day, to run a tournament of this magnitude, it’s unprecedented, and I don’t know what else you could possibly ask for. There are always going to be little hiccups, but everybody at my table was so nice and so many people expressed to me that this event was something that they were looking forward to. For a lot of them, it’s their first time in Vegas. Forget about live poker tournaments, it’s their first time in Vegas. I think that’s what this kind of tournament does. It brings out the real poker fans who have likely saved up to come out here and play this event. I think that’s amazing for poker, obviously.” - Maria Ho “The Big 50 had a ‘Main Event’ like feel to it. I met countless people who came out to the Series specifically for that event or are playing their first live tournament ever. For a lot of recreational players, they saw the improved structure as a good return on their investment and a great chance to make a Day 2, and most people seemed to be having a blast. Despite all the difficulties of managing 6,000-plus players simultaneously playing the same tournament in the same building, you can't deny how special this event was, and it's pretty cool regardless of results to say that you participated in the biggest live tournament of all time.” - Ben Ludlow “Anybody who complains about the opportunity to get everybody in the poker world together to play an event seems insane to me. This is exactly what you should want. What could be better for poker? This is what ‘good for poker’ looks like.” - Nathan Manuel “I spend a lot of time in the trenches of the mid-stakes poker scene and based on all the conversations I was hearing at the tables these past few months, I had a feeling it was going to be massive. I’m honestly blown away that one venue can seat 28,000 players over the course of four days, so when problems were rumored I wasn’t surprised, nor was I upset. I probably waited in line a total of three hours over the course of registering two flights, but I understood it was a small price to pay to be part of the biggest live poker tournament in history. Once I got my seat, it was a blast. The buzz, banter, and fun at the tables was everything I hoped.” - Johnnie Moreno “This is like a dream for players who can’t afford to play bigger tournaments. Like your average guy from his home game, like people who play the smaller events like the deep stacks and the smaller events. Here, they have a chance to come out to the big dance and a chance to win a bracelet. It’s a wonderful event. I don’t care about all the crap you’re hearing about lines and this and that. Listen, for $500 you can win $1 million. How often do you get a chance to do that? I stood in line for four and a half hours. I said, ‘Wow, this is crazy!’ But here I am, playing for $1 million for $500, so it’s all a plus. It’s great for the game.” - Victor Ramdin “Nowhere else could you find a group of people who could run something like this. I don’t know what they’re going to do with the different 5Ks and 25Ks, but it’s great. It’s really great.” - Eddy Sabat “I played Day 1a and made it to Day 3 on my first bullet, so I didn’t have any experience waiting forever to register after busting. The event has been a lot of fun so far! I’ve played at three total tables and two of them had almost all recreational players. Lots of loose and fast play.” - Max Steinberg
  5. Ronnie Bardah gained a lot of notoriety with his deep run in the 2010 World Series of Poker Main Event. A longtime professional poker player and favorite amongst the community, Bardah finished 24th that year for a career-best $317,161 in prize money. Two years later, Bardah won his first WSOP gold bracelet and the $182,088 that came with it. Starting September 25, when Season 39 of the famed reality TV competition Survivor kicks off, Bardah will be welcoming in a whole new world of notoriety as he goes for the $1 million first prize in Survivor: Island Of The Idols. Bardah was recently announced as one of the show’s 20 castaways, and he’s now the latest poker player to get the chance to compete in one of TV’s most popular competitions. Although he was not allowed to reveal any results of what's to come on this season of Survivor, Bardah had plenty to say about what life has been like for him through the auditioning process and in lead up to the premiere. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="888poker"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] Getting the Call “When I got that phone call, I was in L.A. and I was just walking having ice cream and it was just like a dream,” Bardah said of the moment he found out he had been cast. “I fell on my knees. There was so much joy. I was so happy. Here we go, is this real life? It was that type thing, you know what I mean? I'm about to play the greatest game ever created, in my opinion, in terms of reality TV. It's as real as it gets. It's no joke and I was really happy to go. It was a dream come true.” After the excitement wears off a little bit, because it likely never fully wore off, reality started to sink in. Even though this is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, there are some concerns that come with it. After all, Survivor contestants have to go away for a lengthy period of time without the ability to contact friends and family back home. One of the reasons that Bardah is so popular in the poker community is because of his caring, loving personality. Naturally, Bardah had a little worry about being away from his family for so long. Specifically his dad, who he moved out to Las Vegas in recent years so he could take care of him and spend more time with him. “I just worried about my dad,” Bardah said. “You know what I mean? I had to tell people that was going away for a yoga retreat, a silent retreat, and that I wasn't going to be on my phone. I had a couple of friends in Vegas, my friends Mike Ziemba and Garry Gates, check on my dad. That was only my concern.” It may not have been his only concern, though. Bardah talked about how his constant willingness to help others can sometimes take a big toll on his own wellbeing. With Survivor and having been selected to compete on the show, it was time to put himself first. “I do things for everyone else and I'm a very, very selfless person. It actually takes a toll on me, because I look for everybody's happiness before mine. It's really left me in a place where I'm unhappy and I don't know what I'm doing with life, and I'm just worried about my dad and all this. I said to myself, ‘I'm doing this for myself, first of all.’ This is the one thing I finally did for me, playing the game of Survivor." Representing Poker Bardah has been a Survivor fan for as long as he can remember, although he’ll be the first to tell you that his interest fell off for some time when he was younger. “Like a lot of people, I've seen the first season with Richard Hatch, back in the day when I was 18 or 19 years old,” Bardah said. “I remember thinking to myself, ‘Wow, this is really, really, really cool.’ And then I have the same story a lot of people have, where that they kind of watched the second season a little and fell off.” He’s been hooked to the show in more recent seasons and especially became aware of the performances of some of the other poker players to have been contestants. In the past, Jean-Robert Bellande, Garrett Adelstein, and Anna Khait were on Survivor, although not in the same season. Bellande was on Season 15, Survivor: China, Adelstein was on Season 28, Survivor: Cagayan, and Khait was on Season 32, Survivor: Kaôh Rōng. It was Khait’s appearance that was what Bardah says pushed him to want to be more than just a fan of the show. “When Anna Khait got on the show, that's what basically put the fire under my ass,” Bardah said. “When she came out as a poker player, and nothing against Anna, but in the poker world, she was in there for a small stint. I said, ‘Look, I really want to be the representation of a true poker player.’ I really, really wanted to be that true representation, and I feel like I am. I know I am - someone who's been grinding his whole life, who's been travelling the tours, the circuits, who really, really plays poker, I mean, in the live realm.” Wanting to be “the representation of a true poker player” can come with a lot of added pressure. It’s pressure that Bardah put on himself, but nonetheless it’s pressure that he felt given how he wanted to approach the journey. “I want to prove to the world, that's a poker player.,” Bardah emphasized. “I want to go out there and prove to the world that a poker player can do great. Of course, it is an added pressure. So, first for me, then my family, and then for the poker world. Most of my friends are in the poker world, so I'm going to go out there and kick ass for them and represent a certain world.” Keeping His Mouth Shut Now that the cat is out of the bag, Bardah has been able to exhale a bit. Prior to the announcement that he was one of 20 castaways on the new season of Survivor, it was mum’s the word for Bardah. Plenty of rumors had circulated and the heat had turned up during the summer’s WSOP, but Bardah wasn’t able to say anything. Even to his close friends, Bardah had kept the secret to himself. “Everywhere I go, every corner, and all I can do is look at them and go, ‘I don't know what you're talking about,’ and just keep walking or just smile,” Bardah said of having to walk through Vegas during the height of poker season in the summer. “I can't deny it, I can't say anything. It was really, really hard and it sucked. But now, being able to talk about it, it's amazing. I have a million phone calls and text messages I haven't answered yet, to be honest, and Facebook posts and Twitter and Instagram and social media platforms, people are going crazy. It was really hard to keep a secret. It really was.” [caption id="attachment_626627" align="aligncenter" width="903"] Ronnie Bardah and some of his fellow castaways for Season 39 of Survivor[/caption] Preparation and Poker’s Similarities Having recently turned 37 years old, although he was 36 when he went off to film, Bardah is impressed with how the game has evolved. This evolution added fuel to Bardah’s fire to compete, and ultimately the combination of love for the game’s evolution and desire to be a true representation of a professional poker player are what motivated him to audition. In regards to the game’s evolution, Bardah discussed how he felt Survivor used to be much more of a social game than it is in its current state. “In today's game, it's a little different,” Bardah said. “There's a lot of luck involved, but I would say it's still mostly skill. But, the game spoke to me. Basically, everything that I've done so far in my life to get me to where I am today is the reason why I wanted to play Survivor. Everything that I've done as a human, in terms of the neighborhood I grew up in, the different people from different walks of life that I've hung out with, going from the kid who is working at SpaceX, to the kid who dances in a step-dance hip-hop club, from the nerd all the way to the kid that grew into who I am today. “I'm sorry if I'm all over the place here, but I'm just really excited about talking about this. When I watch the show, I get goosebumps. I've cried watching the show sometimes, as sad as that may sound, because it really, really hits home for me, and it hits hard, deep, when I see what people go throughout there and I see the mistakes they make. I love it.” Being a professional poker player, mistakes are something Bardah deals with every day on the felt, and it’s these mistakes that can have a direct financial effect of his life. He’s built up a wealth of experience that allows him to capitalize on the mistakes of others while leaning on that same experience to hopefully minimize the mistakes he makes. Bardah is very much a live poker player, and many would even describe him as a feel player. Although he has dabbled a bit with online poker, it’s in the live arena where has cut his teeth, mostly in the world of limit hold’em. The background of being a live poker player and someone who relies on a lot on the feel of the game are things Bardah believes will only help him through a competition such as Survivor. “There's a lot of comparison that goes side by side when it comes to poker and Survivor,” Bardah said. “It's basically that you’ve got to figure out what people think of you, right? If somebody's looking at me a certain way, I try to distinguish what that look means. What do they feel about me? How do they think about me? I felt like I had to play the players, obviously. I had to develop relationships with certain people, and you’ve got to trust somebody. You have to trust somebody for a certain amount of time. Can I trust you for this long, and when am I going to be able to flip on you at this time? You just have to think so far ahead. In poker, you can do certain things to advertise how you're playing, you show a few bluffs and then set your opponent up really well. There are so many similarities. It's just all game flow.” Another aspect in which poker and Survivor are similar, according to Bardah, comes with the prize money. Like many poker tournaments around the world, the payouts are top-heavy. In Survivor, it’s $1 million to first place and then an extreme drop-off to the other prizes. Having experience in events where all of the money is up top, or up top in the top three places, is another advantage Bardah hopes to draw on from poker. “Realistically, which a lot of Survivor players don't know, is when you get down to five or six, you just have to go guns blazing,” Bardah said. “So, it’s not a bad idea to play that under-the-radar game and don't ruffle any feathers. Try to get into a tight-knit alliance, and then when you get five-, six-handed, go for the gusto. You go back to an old season, you see these people get six-handed, six players left, and they let their emotions and their relationships get in the way. That's what effs them. That's what messes them up at the end of the day, because it's real out there.” Understanding the similarities to poker and having those to lean on, Bardah made an effort to prepare in areas he felt would help him once he got to the Mamanuca Islands in Fiji. He spent a lot of time working with flint and practising how to make a fire and also worked on his skills with a machete. He took a survival camp in Florida where he learned how to make shelter, different types of ways to start a fire, and best practices for sleeping outside. He went fishing and made spears and fishing poles from scare supplies. He even participating in an eight-day water-only fast to better prepare himself for life without food for extended periods of time. Bardah also did a bit of studying, watching almost every season of Survivor that he could in the five or six weeks of lead-up time he had. He took notes, made observations of different strategies, and even toyed with the idea of taking an acting class in California before he ultimately decided that it would be better to do the eight-day water fast instead. “You only have so much time,” Bardah said. Looking ahead to the premiere on September 25, Bardah said he plans on a small gathering with friends and then he’ll likely do some bigger parties for future episodes. Although we’re not sure how many episodes Bardah will last, we can be sure that the poker world will be pulling for Bardah to win his first seven-figure career score.
  6. 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. 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. [ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"][ptable zone="GG Poker"][ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"] 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.
  7. When PocketFives first reached out to me to do a weekly write up on this Survivor season's poker pro contestant, Ronnie Bardah, I thought this would be a fun new challenge. Them claiming me to be their "favorite* Survivor contestant of all time" only sweetened the deal and even though I never found out what the asterisk was for, I said yes. Throughout this season on Survivor, it's 39th, I'll have the distinct honor of following our friend Bardah throughout his entire Survivor journey. Now let's get into it! Instead of a big grand entrance and a day one meeting with host Jeff Probst, tribes were dropped immediately on their corresponding beach, leaving a few of the contestants puzzled. Of course, we the viewers see this season of Survivor is different in that there will be two grizzled veterans, 'Boston' Rob Mariano and Sandra Diaz-Twine, playing as mentors from a remote location, "The Island of the Idols", Mariano and Diaz-Twine, of course, being the idols. Teaching the rookies all they need to know about the game. Enough about them, let's focus on our hero. Early on we see Ronnie "sitting and watching". It's a smart move. It's a good idea to familiarize yourself with your surroundings before jumping in. You need to feel it out, see who's interacting with who, see potential allies and enemies. Acting too quick and getting accused of playing too hard could be the worst thing you can be guilty of early on. [ptable zone="Global Poker Article Ad"][ptable zone="PokerStars NJ"] [ptable zone="GG Poker"] One of the main fears when you hit the beach is being the first one voted out, but it's a fine line between playing too hard and not playing at all. Ronnie should have taken his own advice and sat and watched a bit longer, but when you get the itch to play, it's hard to pull back. Our champion, together with Aaron, instigated a seven versus three majority alliance when supposed outcasts Tom, Vince, and Elaine are out working hard for the tribe. Naming names is never a smart move in the game if it can be avoided and while a minor misstep, can compound. Nothing to worry too much about, this can be fixed. The next we see of our Ronnie, he is trying to bond with the exact person he wants gone, Elaine. Not a bad move. Actually a very good move. You want to keep as many people close to you as possible. Problem is, when you are trying to vibe with someone you don't connect with at all, you have to be a pretty damn good actor. Unfortunately for Ronnie, Elaine sees right through his ruse. To make things worse, Ronnie's tribe, 'Lairo', loses the first immunity challenge. Losing the first challenge can be the nail in the coffin, especially if you are at all on the outs. You don't get those extra days to fortify a foundation. It becomes a mad scramble for your Survivor life. Scrambling makes it worse, but not scrambling at all makes you a sitting duck. We watch as Ronnie continued to throw out Elaine's name. Things went even worse for Ronnie at tribal council as he dug himself a little deeper and subsequently got voted out. Major bummer! I've spent some time with Ronnie and he's a good dude. I was rooting for the guy. I know how much he loves this game and wanted to be a part of it. Was it his fault he got voted out? Probably. Survivor in many ways is like poker, but in many more ways, it isn't like poker at all. There is no clear GTO formula to winning the game. You don't get to practice. You don't usually get multiple attempts to perfect your game. There are no Survivor themed gyms in strip malls across the country. It's a one and done deal. A hard lesson that many think about for the rest of their lives whether they want to or not. I genuinely feel for most people that get voted out of the game, especially the first boots. Especially the first boots you know personally! With our man Ronnie gone, I guess I'm rooting for Boston Rob to take home the milly. Go get'em bro! Tyson Apostol has competed on Survivor three times, winning it once (Season 27) and considers himself everyone's favorite Survivor contestant of all-time. He's the co-host of the critically acclaimed podcast News AF and is a proud Run It Up warrior.

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