April, 2021 Austin TCH Monthly Champion GEORGE BRONSTEIN

Originally from Galveston, Texas, George Bronstein has been playing poker from a young age, since his father was into different kinds of card games. We sat down with George to talk about him and get to know him on a more personal level.

George started his family in Houston, after moving there as a teenager, and once his kids were older, they all moved to Colorado for 8 years. And eventually ended up in Austin, as his family started to come back to Texas, he “wouldn’t live anywhere else in Texas but Austin”.

For 52 years, Bronstein worked in the newspaper business, settling contracts in several different companies like the Houston Chronicle. He was part of the management of door-to-door subscription sales, with about 150 people working under him. This position helped him raise his family and put his 3 kids through college.

Within the poker setting, George has participated in WSOP live action games, and has been on ESPN channel as well, played against the best of the world, which he said makes him feel fortunate that he’s been able to be a part of that.

Locally, he’s a regular for TCH Austin, he’s one of the founding members with membership # 5. And of course, has been to other clubs to vary his poker routine. Before the pandemic, George used to travel to play poker in different state’s casinos, but for the past year he’s really enjoyed the local poker clubs.

He’s always preferred playing tournament games because the prize pools are very good, strategy has to be solid, and you have to be a good player as well. However, tournaments certainly require long hours of play, which has been different recently since he’s decided to slow down some. Even though, there’s a lot of tournaments happening that he wants to be a part of.

Being a good player of course comes with preparation, watching the best of the best and reading a lot into the details of poker itself, and George’s favorite poker player is Daniel Negreanu.

George heard from the WPT Steps Tournaments at TCH by word of mouth, being a regular player helps with finding out about these things and knowing what’s going on around. He’s played the weekly Step 1 and bought in for the monthly step 2 which he cashed out from and advance to the invitation only Step 3 tournament.

March, 2021 Austin TCH Monthly Champion RICARDO CASTANEDA

TCH Austin sat down with Ricardo Castaneda, the very first winner of the WPT Step 2 Monthly Tournament, to chat about his story as a poker player. Ricardo is originally from El Paso, Texas and first moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas, where he graduated as a Mechanical Engineer.

Ricardo’s professional life took him to Saint Louis as a Product Engineer, position that allowed him to travel and eventually back to Austin to get his MBA and Houston a few years later. His career continued to allow him to go overseas, Azerbaijan, United Kingdom and Libya.

While living in Houston, Ricardo started playing poker, but it wasn’t until he lived in Azerbaijan that he really started getting into the game. Him and his friends would get together Friday nights and weekends to play different card games, including poker.

When back in Houston and Austin he started playing home games and in card rooms like Texas Card House, the Austin one in which he played at on its opening days.

Poker is a recreational activity for Ricardo that he tries to include whenever he’s traveling; he enjoys being able to play at the local casinos of the destinations he visits.

Initially, he played a lot of tournaments and eventually got into the cash games, which he enjoys as well. Nowadays, Ricardo only plays here and there, as much as his small business owner and personal life allows.

Coincidentally, he was available to come and play the Sunday of our first WPT Step 2 tournament. He checked out online what was going on at TCH Austin and decided to make it in. Tournaments are a commitment if you’re in for the win, so he cleared his schedule for the day.

Ricardo knew about World Poker Tour but was unfamiliar with the Steps Program at local card room. He’d always wanted to play tournaments and travel to play them, so it’s exciting to be advancing into the Semi-Annual and having the opportunity of advancing into the Annual Championship.

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