Present at most international poker tournaments, Romanian poker players have won some very important titles over the past few years.
A decade ago, poker was a game mostly played behind closed doors in Romania. Hence, there weren’t too many Romanian poker players. Not amongst the best of the best, at least. People who enjoyed the game and wanted to play it for fun would retreat to the privacy of their own homes, while those who wanted to make a living out of it were hiding behind screen names and playing on safe online casinos in Romania.
But during the past few years the card game has become increasingly popular and the country’s first poker clubs started to appear. Now, these venues are found in bigger cities, where regular tournaments are organized and hundreds of players sign up to compete for amazing prizes.
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Over the last few years, Romania has produced a lot of great players. Their names are famous in the poker community and they’ve cashed in some pretty impressive prizes. Here are seven of the most successful Romanian poker players, but before getting familiar with them, make sure you also know the most important poker terms in several languages as well.
Best Romanian Poker Players #7: Cosmin Joldis
This name might not ring a bell to many players out there, but Cosmin caught the attention of the local poker community by taking the grand prize at the 888 Poker Sunday Challenge. After winning $24,000 in cash this April, he appeared in an article published on a poker website. “This is the first time someone has wanted to interview me,” he admitted modestly.
Best Romanian Poker Players #6: Teodor Caraba
Another talented young player, Teodor Caraba doesn’t have a lot of trophies on his mantle, but he does hold a title he will be able to brag about all his life. In 2010, he qualified for the main event at EPT Deauville, won 2nd place and pocketed a fantastic $ 730,464 prize, which certainly brought him a lot of attention.
Best Romanian Poker Players #5: Antoanell Judet
Top poker prizes won by Romanian players:
• $1,350,000 – Ionel Anton
• $730,464 – Teodor Caraba
• $432,912 – Andrei Stoenescu
• $428,758 – Ciprian Hrisca
• $357,654 – Mihai Manole
His fellow poker players call him simply “Toni” and he’s been playing tournaments since 2007. The first time he made an appearance in a professional poker competition, he managed to win a cool $ 9,349 prize, even though he didn’t even come close to winning.
The years 2008 and 2009 went better for Toni, as they brought him two winning titles at the EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, where he won $ 247,638, and CAPT Bregenz Open, where he took the big $ 141,245 prize. He also pocketed an impressive $ 257,334 at the 2008 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas.
Best Romanian Poker Players #4: Dan Murariu
Active in international poker tournaments since 2007, Dan Murariu is no doubt one of the best Romanian poker players ever. He has participated in about 45 tournaments and made a total of $1,134,310 in live earnings.
Murariu came in first at the St. Maarten Poker Unibet Open 5th Anniversary and Deep Stack Extravaganza III in Las Vegas in 2012, he won the PokerFest 2011 Brasov tournament, the 2010 EPT in Barcelona and Unibet Open in Varna, the 2009 WPT Spanish Championship in Barcelona, as well as the 2007 Betsafe Open Championship in Riga.
Best Romanian Poker Players #3: Ionel Anton
Between 2008 and 2013, Ionel Anton has played in 14 major poker tournaments. His total live earnings add up to $1,937,297, which puts him in second place in Hendom Mob’s Romania All Time Money List.
His most noteworthy result was winning 3rd place in the 2011 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at Paradise Island, a $ 10,000 + 300 No Limit Hold’em event that brought him a $ 1,350,000 cash prize. Anton also took 2nd place at the 2011 World Series of Poker in Las Vegas, where he won $ 428,140.
Best Romanian Poker Players #2: Mihai Manole
One of Romania’s most active poker players, Mihai Manole pocketed over $2 million throughout his career. He’s been present in international tournaments since 2006, starting with a modest $ 640 prize for 12th place.
Since then, he’s won 7 tournaments including the 2012 Dusk Till Dawn Caribbean Poker Party, PokerFest 2012, the 2010 CAPT European Poker Championship and CAPT Seefeld Open.
Best Romanian Poker Players #1: Daniel Negreanu
We couldn’t have written this article without mentioning world-famous poker star Daniel Negreanu. The Romanian-Canadian professional player has won an amazing $21,250,972 throughout his career, six World Series of Poker bracelets and two World Poker Tour championship titles. He was born and raised in Canada but his family is Romanian, so we figured he deserves 1st place on our list too.
Most of these players started out with websites like Party Poker, because that was pretty much the best option to play online poker in Romania. Today, they’re professional poker players. And with such great prizes, it looks like all the money and time invested has finally paid off.