Despite the lockdowns, the Welsh poker scene remains a hustle and bustle of excitement, intensity and action. Last month, Grosvenor opened all 52 of its casinos which meant Welsh poker players were able to return to the tables. For this reason, we thought that we would use this opportunity to showcase to you the most successful Welsh poker players in history. The Welsh have a long history of success in a wide range of different fields from one of the greatest actors of our time in Anthony Hopkins to former Prime Minister David Lloyd George.
Wales is certainly not lacking in the talent department. The sporting theatre continues to be a success with the current Welsh football team, led by Gareth Bale, doing us proud. In this article, we will look at three Welsh individuals who have become global names in the popular and exciting discipline of professional poker.
The most successful Welsh poker player of all time, Roberto Romanello hails from Swansea and has won more than £3.4 million from live poker tournaments alone. The 45-year-old is the only ever Welsh player to win a World Series of Poker bracelet. In 2020, Romanello competed in the $1,500 No Limit Hold’em tournament (which was played online) where he eventually overcame a strong field to scoop the bracelet and a first-place prize of around £200,000. However, Romanello’s biggest ever cash came in 2010 when he won the European Poker Tour event in Prague for over £600,000.
Despite the obvious success of his poker career, the Welsh poker pro did not intend to become a professional. After a sport injury meant he was bed-bound for three months, Romanello decided to take up online poker. Within his first two weeks of playing, he managed to win himself a World Poker Tour prize package. Following the tour, Romanello was hooked and would play local tournaments down at his local Swansea casino. Romanello’s parents owned a fish and chip shop in the city.
Despite the 2020 win, Romanello has had mixed success in recent years. But we wish him all the best for the future both on and off the poker tables.
Although he passed away in 2016, Dave Colclough is still fondly remembered throughout the poker world and will always remain one of the best ever Welsh poker players. Colclough was one of the best-known TV poker players who helped popularise the game in the early 2000s before the poker boom of the mid-2000s.
Despite not managing to win any World Series of Poker bracelets, the Welsh pro did manage to cash in WSOP events 17 times, which is no mean feat. His biggest prize in WSOP tournaments was in 2000 when he cashed for just over $89,000 but his biggest cash win was in 2004 where he took home the trophy at the 2004 European Poker Championships in London. Colclough win the main event prize for a handsome $182,000.
In his career, Dave Colclough had total career earnings of over £2.5 million.
Iwan Jones is a less-known poker player from Cardiff. To date, the Welsh pro has earned over £1 million in live tournament earnings and is fourth on the Wales all-time money list. Unfortunately, we are a little unsure whether Jones is still competing. According to HendonMob, Jones last played a live poker tournament in 2019.
Jones first became known to poker fans (in Wales especially) after he won the Welsh Poker Festival in his hometown in 2006. Although the prize was a mere £15,000, the win helped boost Jones’ confidence for tournaments to come. Prior to his win in Wales. Jones scooped what would be his biggest ever win in London when he came first in the $10,000 buy-in event at the London Open. His win netted him a grand prize of $750,000.
Iwan Jones still resides in Cardiff and can be seen playing at his local casino.
Playing Poker in 2021
Of course, the landscape of the poker scene has changed substantially since the hay-day of the Welsh poker players in our list. In 2020, the WSOP was turned into an online event for the first time in its history. In fact, the advent of online poker opened up the professional poker scene to a whole generation of poker players who were less casino sharks and more math geniuses.
Although the popularity is dwindling, online poker remains by far the most popular form of poker. Websites such as GG Poker and PokerStars continue to attract millions of players to their tables with the guarantee of 247 cash games and tournaments. Some poker rooms even offer their players the opportunity to play strip poker online, such is the scale of poker in the 21st century. This involves playing poker with a webcam against professionally trained poker dealers who also act as strippers.
So, there you have it. The Welsh poker scene remains strong and we wish all Welsh players the best of luck going forward into the future.