The first celebrity poker tournament in Romania took place this March and features a Playboy star, a retired footballer, actors and singers.
Over the past few years, many poker players have proved their talent by winning online poker tournaments in Romania. But this March, it was celebrities’ turn to show what they can do, at the first celebrity poker tournament held in Romania.
Hosted by Pokerfest Club in the capital city of Bucharest, the competition lasted for five hours. The event drew a lot of attention from the media and helped change the tainted image card games have in the country, by bringing Romanian poker celebrities to the table.
All in all, the championship turned out to be a big success and it comes as no surprise. It seems like a Playboy star, a couple of singers, an actor and a retired footballer were the perfect ingredients to stir the curiosity of the Romanian audience.
Let’s take a look at who made it to Romania’s first ever celebrity poker tournament:
1. Long ago, former singer Liviu Varciu had a successful band. When he got tired of all the fame and fortune singing brought him, he moved on to the next natural step: acting. So then the guy starred in a couple of Romanian TV shows.
Then he spent the last few years appearing on talk shows, exposing private details of his excitement-packed, ever-so-complicated love life and the audience seemed to love him, because he eventually got to host his own show.
From here, the next step was, of course, celebrity poker! And things worked out perfectly for Liviu Varciu, because he actually ended up winning the tournament. Sure, the prize was a modest EUR 1,000, but it did get him a lot of publicity.
2. The second best player in the championship was former Playboy star Gina Pistol, also famous for a few roles in local TV shows. The blonde beauty blew everyone’s minds with her poker skills. No one would have pegged her as a professional card player.
Truth to be told, it must have been hard for all those men to keep their eyes on the prize and focus on poker, with such a beautiful woman sitting at their table. But hey, Liviu pulled it off!
3. Sorin Bontea is not much of a celebrity in most people’s eyes. He is simply known as the meanest, most rigorous jury member in the popular show MasterChef. This guy has been practicing his profession since he was 16 and he has cooked for real international celebrities, such as Jon Bon Jovi and Madonna.
He proved to be quite a good poker player too, and he was one of the audience’s favorites. But then he tragically lost on the river card and Liviu Varciu had a lucky hand, so he was out of the game for good.
4. Adrian Minune is a famous manele singer (“manele” being a Romanian music style with a mixture of Turkish, Greek and Arabic elements). His stage name “Minune” literally means “wonder”, but it brought no luck for this vertically-challenged celebrity, who was among the first ones to go.
5. Helmuth Robert Duckadam is probably the only one who can be considered an actual celebrity in this line-up. The man is a legend!
Now a retired footballer, Duckadam played as a goalkeeper and was later nicknamed “the Hero of Seville” thanks to his excellent performance in the 1986 European Cup Final. Sadly, he was also among the first ones to be eliminated from the poker tournament. Tough luck!
6. Another one of the participants was singer Bogdan Croitoru (aka Fizz). There’s not much to say about this guy either, except that he was the director, screenwriter, producer and main actor of an erotic action film inspired by his own life. He reportedly does some charity now.
Oh well, we could call his participation in the tournament a charitable act, because he ended up leaving all his money there.
7. Augustin Viziru is another actor who starred in Romanian TV shows. But he was no Hugh Laurie, so Wikipedia mostly knows him as “the brother of actor and singer Lucian Viziru” and “nephew of the great tennis player Gheorghe Viziru”. His poker career didn’t quite work out either, because he lost all of his money pretty soon.
Though local gambling news called the event “a huge success”, the event didn’t really seem to rise up to most of the public’s expectations. International celebrity poker tours certainly seem to outshine the Romanian version, but hey, it’s not a bad start.
Excited? Find out everything about 7 Romanian poker players who made it to the top here!