Lee Davy sits down with the Welsh Wizard, Roberto Romanello, to talk about his newfound love for online poker, his affiliation with partypoker, and to find out which bald man he would donate hair to.
When Roberto Romanello signed for Full Tilt Poker back in the day, he was one of the very few pros who had a deal that allowed him to play primarily live and steer clear of the virtual world.
The Welsh Wizard was a live pro cut out of the old school mould.
Internet Poker was for the kids.
But things have changed in the past few months. He has the bug. He can’t stop playing online at partypoker, and I wanted to find out why?
This is what he had to say.
What’s happening in the life of the Welsh Wizard?
“My life has changed big time. I haven’t played as much live poker as I prepare for my wedding. I have been working on betclever, and that’s going well. We are working daily getting more downloads and make the app successful.
“I am also in the gym 3-4 times per week with a personal trainer. I have lost a stone and a half and feel great. I am doing all of this in the day, and then in the night, I have started playing online on partypoker. I have never taken it seriously before, but now I play every night and love it.
“I have found myself in a rhythm playing the three $500 buy-in high rollers every night. They have optional rebuys, and I love the action. And then on Sunday, you have more high rollers and the Title Fight.
“I love the Title Fight. It began with a $250,000 Guarantee and they have raised it by $25k each time it hits the guarantee and currently stands at $325k. So, the more the players support the event, the bigger the reward. The numbers are growing, and I love it. It’s a new idea, and that’s one of the things I love about partypoker, lately.”
How’s your luck?
“It’s been up and down. I am playing aggressively so now is the time for people to get some action from me. I am learning a lot online. I started out rocky, but I am coming good. I am still good value if people want to come online and play with me.”
A huge part of your game is live reads, how has the transition been?
“The lives reads are a huge part of my game, but I am adapting to the online play. I know nearly all the high rollers now, and I am picking up reads and storing that info for times when we are in hands. It’s a great challenge.
“I love live poker, and I always will, but I am looking forward to playing online every day. It’s as if I have just started playing poker again. You will find me most nights on partypoker playing as The Welsh Wizard.
“My life has changed completely. I am exercising, eating healthily, and making juices daily. I make sure my family drink juices with me, my brothers are going to the personal trainer, my fiance does. Instead of travelling and living out of a suitcase all of a sudden I am doing good things in my life with the people I love.
“Then in the night, I am getting my hit playing the high rollers. I am getting the best of both worlds. I feel like I am on cloud nine again. I am also working on my business, meeting up with the directors, it’s like everything has fallen into place.”
What is it about partypoker that you love?
“They have something special. They have a connection. They have the right people involved. Look at what Rob Yong has done for the game; Simon Trumper. They are the genuine people of poker. They have dedicated their lives to the game. They are trusted within the game. They are not robots working out what’s the best for business. They have gone about it the right way, chosen the right people, and are making the right decisions.
“The players are falling in love with partypoker. People are talking about what partypoker are doing. They are challenging PokerStars with the live events. The creation of the Title Fight. They are trying to create bigger and bigger events. And they aren’t just doing it head first time – getting into the gas tank in Round 1. There is slow growth. People are seeing the good each day. It’s nice. It’s progressive.
“They have this unique aura around them. The way they are taking their time. Everything they are doing is a success. It’s nice to see PokerStrs being rocked. Players are warming to them beautifully. Everyone is praising them at the moment.
“Look at me, I didn’t like playing online poker. I had no interest at all. I was an old school live player. Look what’s happened to me the last few months. The best thing about this is partypoker didn’t even ask me to play online. My deal is a live deal. I found my own way there and the next thing you know I am sending messages to Tom Waters telling him I am addicted to the high rollers. I feel like a kid in a sweet shop all over again.”
I think the right word you use is ‘genuine.’
“When they ask you to do something they are asking if you are happy with it. They don’t tell you what to do. When I was offered a contract to work with PokerStars, I had a whole sheet saying I had to do this and that. I said no. It didn’t feel right. I didn’t feel a connection. I had an email in front of me with a long list of things I had to do. With partypoker, it’s a week by week basis. We are growing as a team, and we are all learning. They want feedback and want to know what is right for the players and the pros. They are always asking for my opinion to move forward. It’s outstanding. That’s the way a partnership works in business. This is why they are special. Before doing anything, they ask the people who are executing the ideas.
“I have never felt this way about poker. I feel unbelievably blessed. I am looking forward to my wedding, seeing my family eating better, and being lucky enough to go to Vegas.
“When I was younger, I loved poker, and I was trying to get a deal and excited about doing well. It was always my goal to show I am one of the best. I feel like I have a new goal. I want to say thank you to partypoker for having faith in me. I want to do something special for them. The hunger is there. What’s so exciting is I know deep down what I can do. I believe in myself. I am as good as anybody. I feel invincible.”
And how has betclever been since the launch?
“We have been blessed. We have had huge numbers in terms of downloads. For a new business, it takes some time to break even; we are very lucky that it has taken off the way it has and we are hitting numbers that I didn’t think we would achieve at this point.
“We still have horse racing to add to the app. We are two months from the horse racing project. We still have 80% of our marketing to do, lots of exciting stuff to do. I am lucky it’s taken off the way it has, and that has a lot to do with my experience in poker and sports betting. It’s what has helped it explode much faster.”
Random Question Time.
If you could wake up tomorrow anywhere in the world, where would it be?
“I would want to be on one of those beachfront properties. Exotic, beautiful blue water. I would love to wake up there. But it would have to be an apartment with lots of little apartments surrounding it with my whole family living next to me.”
What is the one thing you want to win in the world and why?
“The only thing that sticks out in my mind is the WSOP bracelet to complete the Triple Crown. My life has been poker in the past ten years. It has naturally taken a huge part of my life, and I feel if I could complete that Triple Crown it would make me very happy.”
If you could give hair to someone who is going bald, who would you choose?
“I am not going to be selfish although I did have a dream the other night when I woke up with a full head of black hair during an interview. And I remember thinking, ‘my hair wasn’t even black.’ It would have to be someone who it matters to…I know…Landi…I would give hair to Landi. He’s had numerous operations to try and put his hair back. He’s had two implants that didn’t work well. He has spent thousands on his hair transplants, so it apparently bothers him, so I will be unselfish and give it to him because I know it will make him complete.”
If you could go back and do one good deed that you didn’t do what would it be?
“Sometimes, I wonder if I take my parents for granted. Maybe sometimes I could do a lot more in showing my love for them. The other day my Dad wasn’t feeling well, and he phoned me and said he was feeling faint. I took him to the hospital, and while we were waiting, he collapsed in front of me. I shit myself. It scared me. It was manic. I was hammering the doors in the AE to get the doctors to him. WE still don’t know what happened to him.
“They did tests on him and thought it was a heart attack, but it wasn’t. I was very emotional. I thought something bad had happened and I feel sometimes I want to do more and more for my parents. Maybe I could have done a bit more in the past. I want to make them proud. But I guess they are already proud. I want to show my appreciation for what they have done for the boys and me. I feel they deserve everything in life. I would give them everything. I mean that with all my heart. I would do everything for my parents. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for them. It upsets me. I get emotional now just thinking about it because I love them so much.”