Interview With Roberto ‘Welsh Wizard’ Romanello

When it comes to Wales and poker, one name stands above all others in the modern game – Roberto Romanello – the partypoker pro just a small cash shy of $4million in tournament earnings and with an EPT Main Event title on his packed poker resume.

By: Andrew Burnett

HighStakesDB caught up with the ‘Welsh Wizard’ to pick his to pick his brains on a wide range of subjects – and his answers show just how likeable the family-oriented man is. And by the way, Mixe Sexton may be the top dog at partypoker HQ, but his workers might be voting in Roberto when they see his plans as ‘Boss for the Day'!

Q: You have a cool nickname with ‘WelshWizard’ – what’s your favourite poker player nickname of all time?

I do like lots of the cheeky silly online nicknames as they always seem to make me smile and giggle when I come across a new one now and again.

Q: Wales doesn’t boast a huge amount of stars in the poker world – do you feel a certain pride in being the number one Welsh player on the world stage?

100% yes, as I always take a lot of pride in everything I do.

Q: How is the grassroots game in the country? Do you still play poker in Wales?

There is still plenty of poker to be played all around wales 🏴󠁧󠁢󠁷󠁬󠁳󠁿 Me myself, I sometimes play some private cash games when I get some free time away from the baby twins.

Q: Tell us how your partypoker sponsorship came about, and how it works.

When partypoker was starting to rebuild their brand I was one of the lucky ones who was asked if I would like to represent partypoker in Vegas that year. I accepted and wore the partypoker patch with great pride... Since then this gives me the opportunity to still be blessed to sometimes play in there online and their live millions tour that’s getting bigger and bigger around the world...

Q: OK, you’re made boss for the day at partypoker HQ – what happens?

I know how hard all the people at partypoker work and i know how stressful it can all be, so that one day I will be in charge will be the biggest party they would remember! That’s considering I’m boss of finance for that day also 😝

Q: They let you design your own online/live tournaments. What do they look like?

I would trial multiprizepoolpoker (MPP) I’ve always been curious if it would have worked well online.

Q: Your partypoker Caribbean win late last year was your first biggie in a while – do tournament players wonder if they’ll ever win big again?

I slowed down my travels on the live poker scene because of family commitments/getting married/having children.... but when I do get to play I’m very confident and I know in the back of my mind I have every chance of winning however big the tourneys/stage!

Q: How tough is the competition nowadays compared to when you started out?

Yes the players have improved massively and are always getting better and better... and we always have new young hungry and fresh blood being introduced into this great game, which is what’s very exciting and challenging for me.

Q: You invite 5 players to your home game – who are they and why? And who wins?

My dad, me and the last four winners of the World Series of Poker Main Events! I would tell my dad to sit back and let me bash these guys up until I get my dad heads-up... then I would let my dad win and he would have been the best in the world! 😇 He would probably have beaten me anyways. 🙈

Q: What is the most memorable/ridiculous/amazing poker experience you’ve had?

Winning my first major title in Prague! I never experienced that feeling in my life up to then and I only got to be that excited again when my baby twins were born 😍

Q: How much money would you have to be offered to give up poker?

£5 million! But if I had it for nothing that easy i would probably enjoy blowing it in 2/3 years and then have no choice but to start again 😝

Q: Outside of poker, what brings you most enjoyment in life?

Easy. As all my family gives me joy/happiness/love, that fuels me to play the game of poker.

Q: A lot of pros get caught up in Twitter/social media side of things – you don’t seem to get involved in drama. True or…?

Yes, true. I don’t like it when poker pros get involved with some nasty fights on social media - other professionals very rarely do this as fellow pros and in my opinion all pros should support each other not see who can get more likes/support than the other just to boost their own ego...

Banter is fine! Everybody loves banter and a piss-take and I’m 100% all for that if I know the person I’m attacking can take it well! Actually, if they can’t it’s even better and more funny to rip into them more 🙈

Q: Family and playing professional poker/travel, etc – how do you balance the two?

I just really go with my gut instinct when it’s time to go away and time to play again.... luckily we are blessed to sometimes make last minute decisions to travel and play when we feel the time is right....

Q: You wrote recently about your first big win in Barcelona and being handed wads of cash – does that still rank as your most memorable moment in poker? If not, what topped it?

That first big bundle of money I won in Barcelona was a great experience for sure, as winning that kind of money allowed me to go out and experience feeling invincible, and invite those friends that were with me to share a couple of days/nights for us all to remember in some of the best bars/restaurants in an amazing/exciting city like Barcelona... it was a few days to remember that we would never forget!

Yes, we know money can do that and, yes, it was great!

…but winning EPT Prague would for sure topple that Barcelona experience, as this was something else - completely off the scale - although the money was huge and to be my biggest ever win in poker it truly wasn’t the money why I was overcome with emotion as I had experienced holding and spending the big amounts of moneys up to that point by now....
The real reason why I was overcome with emotion when winning EPT Prague was because I was truly in love with playing poker and I was so hungry to win my first major title! I always want to impress my family/sponsors who put me into that event, my close friends who I was traveling with.... these were all the really important things in my life/they are for sure my winning fuel!

No-one ever knows how long they’ll stay at the top of the game, but if Wales produces another big poker talent in the future, the Welsh Wizard Roberto Romanello’s successes will surely have paved the way!

You can keep up to date with Roberto's blog pieces on the Team partypoker blog here.

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