By Todd Lamansky
Ronnie Bardah says he’s ready to “take it to the next level.”
What does he mean by that? For starters, he’d like to have a bigger bankroll, and a bracelet “would be a dream.” Becoming a sponsored pro would also fall into that category, and despite his patch deal with Full Tilt falling through after Black Friday, he is well on his way to accomplishing that goal. Bardah may not be a household name, but he has nonetheless made a name for himself and is widely respected throughout the poker community.
Bardah has enjoyed a large degree of success since becoming a professional in 2004, most notably, his deep run in last year’s World Series of Poker Main Event, where his 24th-place finish earned him $317,161, his largest payday. He went on to finish 17th ($33,016) at the WPT World Poker Finals at Foxwoods in Connecticut in October, followed by cashes at the NAPT Los Angeles, PokerStars Caribbean Adventure and the WSOP Circuit event at the Palm Beach (Fla.) Kennel Club.
Bardah said his life hasn’t changed as much as one might expect since his big WSOP.
“It wasn’t really life-changing money,” he said, “though now downswings don’t affect me mentally as much as they used to.”
The bankroll boost also has allowed him to play more events with bigger buy-ins. Most of the tournaments he played before last year had entry fees less than $1K because of bankroll considerations (he won his way into the WSOP main the past two years). Though he’s been known to sell pieces of himself, Bardah said he never had a backer.
“I know players who are two- or three-hundred-thousand dollars in make-up. They’ve got to win the Sunday Million to, maybe, break even. These guys don’t even want to play poker anymore. I prefer to work for myself.”
Tournaments are not even his bread and butter. He’s mostly a live cash-game player, grinding an average of 30 hours per week in $40-$80 limit, his strongest game.
“There’s too much variance when it comes to tournaments and they require a much larger bankroll,” he said.
They do, however, have larger paydays, which is the reason he plays them about 10-15 percent of the time.
For a 28-year-old, Bardah seems to have a good head on his shoulders. His accomplishments speak for themselves and, unlike a lot of poker players, he’s never gone broke. He also maintains a good work/life balance to avoid burnout, so there’s no reason to think he won’t be around for years to come. S