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From player to poker star - Roberto Romanello

Roberto Romanello was an aspiring footballer when injury sidelined him in 2005. While recovering from injury, he discovered the game of poker and began to play online.

Soon, he started to have mild success and soon he discovered he had a true passion for the game. Since that time, Romanello has grown to become one of the most successful Welsh poker players in history.

Much of Romanello's early poker success came playing at the now defunct online poker site Full Tilt Poker and at his local casino. He honed his craft until he decided to take a stab at the largest prize in the poker world, the World Series of Poker.

He travelled to Las Vegas in 2006 and entered the $10,000 buy-in event. That year saw the largest prize in the event's history with $12 Million going to first place. Romanello made a profit at the event, but fell well short of the final table. Although he finished in 312th, he still took home $38,759.

Two short months later, he won his first live tournament by taking down the Barcelona Open. He won $53,000 for that event and from that point his live career began to flourish. Over the next couple of years, he made numerous final tables and solid scores at the tables, but his first six figure cash eluded him.

$200,000 better off

That changed in 2009 when he was able to take down the PartyPoker European Open in Maidstone. He won $200,000 for that performance, and that just proved to be the beginning of a strong year. He went on to cash three times at the 2009 WSOP and made a final table in the £5,000 PL Omaha Event at the WSOP Europe.

Romanello's true "breakout year" in poker came in 2010. In February of that year, he finished 6th at the European Poker Tour Copenhagen for $104,000. Later that year, he took down an episode of the Poker Lounge in Cardiff for $120,000.

However, his largest career score would come in December of that year at the EPT Prague Main Event. He would navigate through a field of 563 players to take down the event and $846,180. Romanello followed up 2010 with a strong 2011, including his first World Poker Tour win at the WPT Bratislava. That event alone netted him $197,000.

For his career thus far, Romanello has won over $2.49 Million in live poker tournaments. He is currently 2nd on the All-Time Money List for Welsh players. He also ranks 61st on the all-time money list for all of Europe.

Romanello's football injury could be viewed as a blessing in disguise. He was able to find another path to channel his competitive energies, and one that will not just make him money now, but also once he is past the age that most footballers are forced to retire by.

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