Hometown: Târgu Jiu
Chips: 16.125 million
If you’re looking for a blueprint showing you how to become a professional poker player, look no further than Romania’s Razvan Belea.
The 34-year-old from Târgu Jiu discovered 5-card stud as a kid, then began playing no limit hold’em freerolls exclusively when he got older. Without investing any of his hard-earned money, he slowly built a bankroll while working as a bartender and eventually climbed so high up the stakes that he left the cocktails behind and turned pro.
Now he’s got $1.25 million in cashes online–where he plays as “razvyQQ” on PokerStars–and $112K in live earnings, prior to the EPT Paris Main Event. He plays poker roughly five days a week but says he studies even more, and that’s proving to be a recipe for success. In 2017 he finished fifth in the Sunday Million for almost $40K, and in 2021 he recorded his best career cash, finishing third in the WCOOP $109 Phase for $85K.
Whatever happens today he’ll have a new career-best score and with his winnings, Belea hopes to help his parents buy a new house. It’s even better: he qualified for this event in a $530 buy-in satellite on PokerStars.