PokerStars Festival Bucharest: Meet Alexandru Papazian - Romania's #1 and first bracelet winner

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Alexandru Papazian on Day 1A

Back in May 2016, at the last ever EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo, the PokerStars Blog was covering the €25,000 High Roller. When play got heads up, all the other tournaments in the room had finished.

The duel was between two people who - at the beginning of the tournament - we didn't really recognise by face alone. But when we found out their PokerStars screen names, it all made sense:

Romania's Alexandru Papazian, known online as 'tilt21sted', had in excess of $1.7 million in online winnings. His opponent, Greece's Alexandros 'mexican222' Kolonias, had almost $1.9 million.

Papazian ended up taking that tournament down (which you can read all about here), for a career-best score of almost €1.2 million. And since then, his career has gone from strength to strength.


High roller victory in Monte Carlo (May 2016)

This summer at the World Series of Poker, Papazian took down the $888 Crazy Eights event for another massive payday worth $888,888. Not only did he win his first gold bracelet; he became the first Romanian ever to win one.

"My summer was good! As you can imagine," Papazian says, on break here on Day 1A of the PokerStars Festival Bucharest. "The bracelet was basically the story of my summer."

That victory also catapulted him to no.1 on the Romanian all-time money list with $2.81 million, seeing him overtake Mihai Manole's $2.43 million (who's also here playing today). But for Papazian, the win was far sweeter than any rankings.

"The bracelet means something to me, but the rankings - not so much," he says. "I knew [I was going to become Romania's no.1] soon, because I was close to no.2 on the list."

Papazian is now back in his home city of Bucharest after a long summer out in the desert.

"It's fun playing here," he says. "Everyone knows each other, I get to speak my own language! You get to know all the people who work at the events, it's nice."

He was even seen offering help out to friends travelling to the city, perhaps for the first time.

With just a few minutes left on the break, Papazian told me that his plans for the rest of the year included "Barcelona [for the PokerStars Championship], and before that Miami for a tournament. And after that...I don't know, we'll see!"

Here's hoping he can make it all the way in the PokerStars Festival Main Event too. One thing's for sure; everyone knows Papazian's face now.

For live updates, check in with our friends at PokerNews here.

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Jack Stanton
@J_W_Stanton in Live Poker