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Last night I won £1,300 playing in my local cash game. Let me repeat that. I won £1,300 playing a game that I love. As we all left the card room my mates and I all vanished in the morning mist.

Most of us would resurface a few hours later in crappy little jobs silently wishing that we could spend our whole lives playing the game.

One of the people who kindly donated money to the Lee Davy poker fund was an Iranian businessman known as Landi. Landi lives in Swansea and last night, as I was slowly dismantling his chip stack, we were talking about the hottest European tournament poker player on the planet. I am of course talking about Roberto Romanello.

Landi has fond memories of a young, aggressive and cocky Welshman who used to frequent his game around the card rooms of Swansea.

Back in those days Romanello used to work in the family business – fish and chips. When I talk about those days I am talking a mere five or six years ago. Five or six years come and go in a blink of an eye.

Satellite was something that orbited the earth

Romanello was a budding footballer. Football was his second love and only his family was more important to him. Then his dreams, of one day making it big were dashed when he received a terrible broken leg. If you have ever met Romanello it is easy to imagine how difficult it must have been for him to lay dormant for so long due to such a terrible injury.

But Romanello is a fighter, and he wouldn’t have known it at the time, but the injury would change his life in ways he would never imagine.

Whilst lying in agony on his couch he started to watch poker on television. During a commercial he realised that you could play poker on the Internet and he rung his brother and told him to buy him a laptop. Over the next few months Romanello spent his recovery playing sit n go’s online.

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One day he noticed that the sit n go that he had registered to play in was a different colour than the others. He did a bit of investigating and realised that it was a satellite for a WPT event.

At the time he thought a satellite was something that orbited the earth and the WPT was a tennis federation. He won the satellite and before you knew it he was booking his flight to play in a WPT event in Las Vegas.

Romanello had three months to get ready for his maiden WPT voyage. He decided to go to the local casinos to learn how to play live and this is when he first met Landi. Back in those days, a mere five or six years ago, Romanello was just like me. He too was coming home from the casino with £1,300 in his pocket and a head full of dreams.

A few weeks ago Roberto Romanello won WPT Bratislava and he heads into the World Series of Poker (WSOP) chasing the elusive Triple Crown after his recent victory at EPT Prague.

The Romanello Rollercoaster has a beginning and an end. The beginning was qualifying for that WPT event playing online above the shop that was selling fish and chips. The end is nowhere near in sight as he continues to ply his trade in a fish and chips business of a very different kind.

So what does Landi think about Romanello’s rise to fame?

“The man is a very lucky, lucky player.” Said Landi.

If you would like to be a very lucky, lucky player then get signed up to play on and qualify for WPT Barcelona. Who knows it might be the start of your very own rollercoaster.


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