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  • The Festival Series meets: Our Rozvadov Live Reporter – Jonathan Raab!

The Festival Series meets: Our Rozvadov Live Reporter – Jonathan Raab!

The Festival Series meets: Our Rozvadov Live Reporter – Jonathan Raab!

Just 28 Days until kick off! The live reporting of our events will be once again available through our website. Players at the event, as well as friends and family, are able to check how everyone is performing at the event as we are trying to give you exclusive insights, event information, chip counts, and much more via the live blog. Not only that, our Social Media channels will be booming throughout the event, with highlight videos and exclusive interviews being shared daily!

Jonathan Raab will be taking care of the live reporting at our event at the King's Resort in Rozvadov. Not only is Jonathan extremely experienced within the live poker scene, he doesn't walk away from player poker himself as well when the time is right. Let's give him a warm welcome!

Melvin, The Festival: Hi Jonathan! You are going to be our newest live reporter for the event in Rozvadov! How much are you looking forward to this and what can we expect from your end?

Jonathan Raab: ‘’Hi Melvin, I’m very much looking forward to my first stint as a reporter at The Festival Rozvadov. It's been over six years since I last visited Kings Casino in Rozvadov, but it's a venue I’m very familiar with, having run several events there during my time working for PokerStars. I’m especially looking forward to witnessing and writing about all the crazy fun that happens at The Festival, as well as reporting what goes on at the tables.’’

Melvin, The Festival: You have been around in the poker industry for quite a while now. How did you end up getting into poker in the first place?

Jonathan Raab: ‘’I started working in the online gaming industry in 1998, with a company called Blue Square. It was originally called Betonline, but rebranded itself in 1999 and was the first online bookmaker to operate from the UK. I first played poker at university in Manchester, but it was during my time at Blue Square that I really discovered the game. A TV show called Late Night Poker which began in 1999 sparked a lot of interest in poker and many of my colleagues were already keen players, such as Keith ‘The Camel’ Hawkins. My extended group of friends in the industry included people like Neil Channing, who went on to win the Irish Open. I first ventured down to the casino soon after the first episode of the show was aired and was fortunate to win the first tournament I ever played. From then on I became fascinated with the game, which did not go unnoticed by my boss and in 2003 I was handed the job of setting up the site’s online poker room.’’

Melvin, The Festival: How do you keep yourself busy outside working in the poker industry? Any hobbies or upcoming travels planned ahead?

Jonathan Raab: ‘’As well as working in poker, I also like to play from time to time and have been trying to improve my game through poker study also. I also love to play and watch darts, which is the only professional sport I really follow closely now. I also like drumming, although Ive only ever done it for my own enjoyment and have never played in a band. I havent had as many holidays as Id have liked to in recent years, but Im planning a family holiday in the USA this summer, including a pit stop in Las Vegas during the WSOP.’’

Melvin, The Festival: What are key elements of the poker scene make you enjoy the work you are doing? As well as live events, what things would you highlight which are important to you?

Jonathan Raab: ‘’I like the way that online and live poker events come together. It’s been a significant part of my various jobs over the years to find ways to make the live and online sides of a poker business work together. When online poker started it provided a way for this to happen, with satellites taking place at online poker sites for players to win their way into a live poker event. Almost every poker who learns the game online ventures into the live arena at some point. For most, this might simply be a trip to their local casino for a €30 tournament or a small cash game, but online satellites can turn the wildest dreams of playing in the biggest live events in the world into a reality.’’

Melvin, The Festival: The Festival Series Rozvadov will host over 60+ unique events. If you had to pick out three tournaments which you would play yourself, which ones would they be and why?

Jonathan Raab: ‘’I do love the casino game competitions, which are a bit unique to the Festival. I’ve played a few blackjack tournaments before and was runner-up in the European Masters of Blackjack event in 2010, so that would be one I would definitely have a go at. I also love bounty and PKO tournaments, so you’d probably find me playing in one of those. I’m also partial to mixed games, although I’m no expert at them, but I do live saddling up for a bit of H.O.R.S.E.S’’!

Melvin, The Festival: As you are from the UK: What would you give as advice to poker players from the UK in terms of live events abroad?

Jonathan Raab: ‘’Forget about FOMO (fear of missing out), there’s so many live poker events out there, that if you miss one, there’s always another one just around the corner. Plan your trips in advance and when you go to a poker event, spend some time exploring your surroundings, the casino will still be there once you’ve done a bit of sightseeing. Rozvadov, where The Festival is taking place is the biggest poker venue in Europe and although it's not located near any major tourist towns, Franke and his team are planning a lot of off-the-felt activities, so it's a great place to start the summer.’’

Photo Credits Header Image: WPT World Championship