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It was really some kind of party. Every dealer, floor person, and half of the staff of the casino spilled across the lobby of the Hotel Kampinski Bratislava at 4am.

Mad Marvin Rettenmeier was banging out tunes on the piano while crooning in his silky voice.

The kitchen was opened and steaks were served. Beer, vodka, brandy, and cigars, they were all there. Roberto Romanello was happy to share in his success, and the rest of us were happy for him.

He’s that kind of guy, Roberto. The kind of guy who takes 5000 euros out of the prize pool for the celebration after the tournament.

The kind of guy who bought his brother a Ferrari when he won his first big title. And the kind of guy who’s not too big to go behind the counter and man the fryer when his friends come to visit his restaurants in Wales.

Show 35 (April 12) with Roberto Romanello is online now! Click the play button to listen:

[podcast][/podcast] Prefer to download? Right click here and Save As.

When Roberto says that, “It’s about the people around me that make me happy in life. I don’t want to be a winner who’s not well liked.” he means it. And the way he won the WPT Bratislava last week was nothing if not in popular style.

The poker is another story. For as gentle and sweet a person as Roberto is away from the table, when he’s playing he has a “hunger to win” and it shows. It was no accident that the biggest pot he won at the WPT Bratislava leading up to the final table was when someone shoved into him holding only a jack-eight.

Roberto had been working on that player for two days, needling him relentlessly like a smooth tongued Tony G. Great players induce others to make mistakes against them. And Roberto has that talent in spades.

I was following Roberto around the tournament since early on Day two. After his big win in Prague only a few months ago, the poker world has opened its doors, and what was once a hard grind across the European tour and at the WSOP has become more of a procession of form.

Form is a funny thing. When it’s working, the smile comes easy and in every race you feel a big head start. And that’s the easy way Romanello is carrying himself these days. When he stepped out of the elevator on the morning of the final table, a big chip lead and a bigger smile on his face, he was the most relaxed guy in the place. Victory felt written in stone.

History now beckons Roberto Romanello. Only two players have ever won poker’s coveted Triple Crown, and no one has done the feat in the space of one year. Romanello will go to the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas next month with a host of chances to finish what seems an unachievable task.  And from his point of view, the greatest thing about it is that everybody will be rooting him on.

Show 35 (April 12) with Roberto Romanello is online now! Click the play button to listen:

[podcast][/podcast] Prefer to download? Right click here and Save As.


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