When we talk about poker, countries like the USA, England, and Germany come to mind, as they host a massive array of poker talents and successful poker players. However, did you know that Wales actually has quite a list of amazing poker players as well, some of whom have featured on major poker TV shows and won top level poker tournaments worldwide?
Let’s take a look at some of the major poker talents that Wales has produced over the years, their successes, and their life stories. If you like to play poker, you may find yourself looking to follow one of these amazing card players and making a poker career of your own.
Born in Swansea, Roberto Romanello is the most successful poker player hailing from Wales. A former football player, Romanello started playing poker in 2005 when an injury sidelined him from active play. According to his own words, Roberto watched the WSOP on the television and was instantly hooked. He started playing both online and live poker and quickly had success, partially due to luck, and partially due to his amazing intuition.
In 2010, Romanello won his first major tournament title at the European Poker Tour in Prague. That win was followed by another triumph at the WPT in Bratislava in 2011. In 2020, Romanello won his first WSOP bracelet, in a $1.500 No Limit Hold’em event, thus completing his trifecta. To date, Roberto Romanello has over $4.000.000 in live tournament earnings and is the most profitable Welsh poker player of all time.
Born in Carmarthen in 1964, the popular “El Blondie” was the biggest entertainer that Welsh poker community ever produced. Colclough started his career as a programmer but fell in love with poker at the 2000 WSOP and never looked back.
In 2003, Dave was voted the European Player of the Year before being introduced into the European Poker Players Hall of Fame in 2005. His successes include a second place finish in a WSOP Pot Limit Hold’em event in 2000 and numerous final tables across other poker tours.
El Blondie spent much of his career travelling the world, from the USA to Morocco and the Philippines. He had won well over $2.500.000 in poker tournaments before losing his fight with a vicious disease in 2016. He remains one of the most well-liked faces in European poker to this day and many poker legends saw his premature death as a massive loss for the poker community.
A Welsh prodigy who made a name for himself when he came second to teenager Annette Oberstad at the first ever WSOP Europe Main Event, John Tabatabai finished the University of Reading and represented Wales as a junior chess player before his poker days.
It is interesting that his first recorded live poker tournament money finish was the 2nd place at the 2007 WSOPE Main Event, which earned him over a million dollars. He followed that up with a win at an interesting tournament in Swaziland which earned him another $150.000. While John pursued poker for a number of years quite actively and had solid results, he seems to have retired from poker temporarily in 2013. Yet, he remains one of the biggest Welsh poker stories and a clear indicator how a young and talented person can make great things happen in the game of poker.
Young and aspiring poker players out there might aspire to John Tabatabai and try to follow in his footsteps, but the one thing we highly recommend is not approaching poker as gambling. If you are in it just for some quick action, taking some LeoVegas free spins or a bonus at another casino and playing a bit of casual card games will be more fun and might cost you less in the long run. The Welshmen who succeeded in poker dedicated a lot of their lives to the game and their success certainly didn’t come by chance