Răzvan Belea has achieved one of the great goals of his poker career – Champion of the European Poker Tour (EPT), one of the most prestigious poker tournaments in the world. The fact that this result comes in the capital of France, Paris, is all the more spectacular, especially as this tournament brings together some of the biggest names in the poker world from Europe, the United States and the world. We invite you to learn exclusively from Casino Inside about Răzvan Belea’s journey, successes and dreams in poker, and last but not least, his new goal.
Congratulations for the first European Poker Tour Main Event won by a Romanian! The question may seem cliché, but how did you feel when the cards that made you Champion came in?
Hello. Thank you very much, it means a lot to me to be appreciated for my results. It really is a historic result, I am overwhelmed. When I saw the Flop (the first 3 cards) I felt that hand could bring me the championship victory. When I saw the Turn (4th card) I knew even more and closed my eyes hoping that the River (last card) would not help my opponent. On the River though I wanted to think very hard before I paid because the title was at stake, but I couldn’t throw that hand away, when my opponent said congratulations I felt like I had become the European champion and was overcome with emotion.
How did your poker adventure begin?
It started in my hometown with games between childhood friends, whom I respect and appreciate because I had something to learn. Then I played no-money tournaments online after watching some TV shows in Romania. I think back then the site was called draculapoker, going on to play Pokerstars and Fulltilt sit and go, and tournaments with very small buy-ins. I could say I started from scratch.
Can you call poker a full-time job?
Poker is not only a job for me, but also a way of life.
Live or online poker?
I like online poker for the convenience of being at home and being able to play at multiple tables simultaneously, live poker I like for the socializing and making friends.
The level you’re at right now, in terms of results, we can say it’s at its peak. What were the steps you took to get to this level and therefore to such a result?
I started from scratch and tried to learn something from each person in my life. Everything that has happened in my life so far, good and bad, has brought me here. I followed my dream, I believed it could be done and I did it.
Many young people who see results in the most important poker competitions, as you and other of our fellow countrymen have done, decide to take up poker. At what point should an aspiring player realise that they need to continue or find another line of work? Did you have such a moment?
Anyone can do anything. You just have to want it, work hard and you’ll make it.
What advice would you give to a beginner poker player?
First of all to take care of the bankroll, study not only the game but also the mindset and don’t give up!!!
Although it has been a very short time since your EPT Paris victory, do you feel that something has changed in your life and perhaps in the behaviour of those around you?
I have received a lot of friend requests, follows and congratulations. I feel I have become much more respected in the community and I want to thank everyone for that.
Given the physical and mental wear and tear a poker player is subject to, especially during a live tournament, please tell us what your daily routine is to keep you focused and efficient at the table? (many players do sports, yoga, have a certain diet,….etc)
Hehe, this is where I still have work to do, I’m lucky to have a wonderful wife who cooks healthy, I take walks in the park, I’ve even flirted a bit with the gym, but it hasn’t stuck with me. I like to stretch, massage and meditate.
In your opinion, who is the best poker player in the world?
I hope to be me one day. At the moment I don’t have a favourite, I can learn from every top player. I want to thank my coaches: Jon “apestyles” Van Fleet, Jordan “BigBluffZinc” Drummond and mental coach, Frank Hamel. I want to give a special thanks to my wife, who is also a psychologist, for all the support she gives me and for everything she has taught me.
After this huge success what is your next goal? Which tournament do you want to participate in and would you really like to win?
I would like to participate in the World Series of Poker and also be world champion.
Given the effervescence and evolution of poker in Romania, wouldn’t it be appropriate to have an organization to represent and defend the interests of Romanian poker players before the state authorities?
Yes, there should be an association and I have discussed with a lawyer to do this. In the near future this will also happen, I promise.