A pleasant environment, fit for learning

In an exclusive interview for Casino Life & Business Magazine, Sorin Constantinescu confesses about him being a poker player

Sorin Constantinescu, thank you for agreeing to answer to this particular interview for Casino Life & Business Magazine from the perspective of a poker player

Here is the first question:

Why poker and how did you end up liking this sport?
Why poker… because it is not only a skill game but you also need perseverance and patience, mainly during the tournaments. I like it because I have met here many people of great manners, business people, smart children, students….in other words, a pleasant environment, fit for continual learning.
While following up on you, I have noticed that you won several live tournaments. How does it feel to win such events?
It is a great satisfaction, as it awakes your sense of competition. When you see that a number of 100, 200 or 300 people registered for the event and you are the last one standing, with the trophy and the chips in front of you, this gives you a real boost and motivates you a great deal.

How do you get along with the other poker players, considering your position of tournament organizer?
When I am sitting at the table, I am no longer an organizer, but a simple player like the others. I never influence the dealers, do not comment upon their decision – I am not even allowed – I am only a player when at the table.

But how do the players look at you when see you sitting with them at the table?
At first, they are mistrustful, do not grasp the idea of me playing poker…but after a while, they see that there is nothing special about me.

Do you do any other gambling?
No…I like the slots, especially abroad, in Las Vegas. You should not forget that I have a business including the slot activity. In order to understand the slot player, you must play slots for money, not free. Unless you play for money, you will not understand their expectations and the adrenaline running through the veins of the players in front of the machine.

Tell us about the most pleasant and the ugliest experience in this branch!
The ugliest experience happened during an EPT tournament satellite in Berlin; lucky me I had Alain Medesan at the same table, he is my witness to this sad story…There was only one person to leave, we were playing bubble – this is how we the poker players say it – and the rest were qualified for the €5,000 Main EPT. I was in a Big Blind, had aces in my hand, the one next to me was UTG (the worst position). I got a call, the dealer flipped the cards, the first three were Ace, Six, Six, I gave check with a full, already flopped. That guy got me into all in, I did an instant call; he had a four of six and I had a full of aces and sixes…I went out like stupid…For 2-3 days, I wandered around Berlin talking to myself – Alain Medesan was telling me that it was good I had him at the table, otherwise no one would have believed this story.
All the poker players have their share like this –‘I went out because of the bad luck’, ‘I had to meet such a fancy man’, ‘He gave me a bad beat’; similar to the fishermen, no one would admit the truth, the reality.
And the best experience is when you have good cards and there is a high chance you go all the way, to the end; a good experience is not to have a very good card, but a medium one that helps you collect chips and you get to river the other players.

What about an original thing?..
Just sitting at the playing tables every day, you see many original things. There are players with such a complex strategy and they give away the aces since the pre-flop even without looking at the cards – especially during the satellites where the idea is to qualify and remain among the last 20 or with the ones taking packages. In other words, it does not matter how many chips you have, more or less…I cannot think of anything special, extraordinary.
But what I have noticed lately is that the great players –for example Phil Ivey who recently lost 900K and many others playing online for high stakes (25, 50, 100) went down and they are in the red; It seems very odd to me to see that even though it is a skill game, a long-term game, the big ones who used to win online are losing everything. Really odd!

What is in the future for you?
We intend to open a PokerFest in Belgrad, at the Hyatt Hotel, along with our partners from Platinum Casino, who are already associates at the PokerFest and Grand Casino in Romania. We will have a live casino and a poker club in Belgrad. And I truly believe in this club, as the Russians will not need a visa to come and play – hence, we can have very big tournaments. Until recently, the Russians were going to Ukraine. But now, considering the political situation, we have the upper hand and are trying to bring the Russian poker players to Serbia.

Any time for your personal life?
Not really. I have been in this branch for 24 years – slots, casinos, poker, working 7 days a week, playing 16 hours over the weekend. When I get 2-3 days off in 3 months, I will go fishing or take care of other hobbies.
I can call myself lucky, as my wife has always understood and supported me in all my activities. This year we celebrate 25 years of marriage, our silver year. It is really difficult that I am involved in a business when I get home really late, I miss nights away from my family, really tough.

What is the greatest achievement or failure in your life?
The best thing is my family, my children, the satisfaction that I have succeeded to start many businesses from zero and taken them to a turnover of millions of euros.
The greatest failure is that I wanted to be a casino manager at Regent Casino (Novotel) where I invested €10M but went bankrupt in 2 years and left 400 people without a job.

As a final thought, I would like to tell the readers of Casino Life & Business Magazine to stay close, as they will be kept abreast with fresh, professional and reliable information.

Good luck in the next place!


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