This or That: Team PokerStars Pro Nacho Barbero (WSOP Edition)

June 20, 2013

Jose Ignacio Barbero, more popularly known as “Nacho” Barbero, is one of Argentina’s most famous gamers. Not only has he serve on the Argentinean national team in Magic: The Gathering tournaments, he now represents Team PokerStars in poker tournaments around the world.

Barbero established himself as a fixture on the Latin American Poker Tour (LAPT) back in 2010 when he won Season 3 LAPT Punta del Este for $279,330. Not long after he topped 384 players to win the LAPT Lima for $250,000 and his second successive LAPT title–making him the first player to do so.

Barbero, who plays under ‘nachobarbero’ on PokerStars, also won his first PokerStars Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) title in May of that year. It happened in the $2,100 FLHE High-level event and was good for $62,780.


Right now Barbero is in Las Vegas, Nevada for the 44th Annual World Series of Poker. It’s been a decent start for the Argentinean, who has been doing well in live cash games and managed to finish 97th out of 2,071 players in Event #18 $1,000 No-Limit Hold’em for $2,609.

In this edition of This or That, which takes a look at both the serious and unserious sides of various Team PokerStars Pros, we caught up with Barbero to talk about life in Vegas, both on and off the felt.

Chad Holloway: How is your summer in Vegas going so far?

Nacho Barbero: Poker-wise, it’s been all right actually. I’ve been here for more than a week and I’m up or at least breaking even. I went deep in the first tournament. I’ve been winning in the cash games playing Open-Face Chinese. I’m actually up a little in that. I figure it’s so expensive here that me breaking even is winning, so it’s very good.

Do you care to share how much you play a point in Open-Face Chinese?

I just play $50 a point. I’ve played higher than that, but here at the Rio the game I play in, which is $50 a point, plays really big. I think $25 seems too low and $100 is too high for me, so $50 is just perfect.

You were just at the LAPT Colombia. How did that go for you?

Colombia is amazing and very beautiful girls all over. The parties are nice and everything. The people are really friendly. I was actually doing really well in the tournament until somebody decided to jam after my three-bet for 45 bigs. I snapped him off with ace-jack and he had ace-nine, because he was so bad the guy. He was very tilty. I busted in like 45th place. I’d have had 90 BBs with 45 people left, so it was kind of sad.

At the same time I wasn’t too sad because I could get the first flight back to Vegas. That’s what I did. I busted at 8 p.m. and eight hours after that, at 4 a.m. in the morning, I was getting a flight to Vegas.

Speaking of Vegas, what’s your favorite thing to do other than poker?

I like the pool parties a lot, they’re awesome. The Beach Club at the Encore is amazing. Also the Electric Daisy Carnival (EDC) is coming next week. It’s the best festival I’ve ever been to. I recommend to everyone that’s here that they should go and see what it’s like.

For anyone who hasn’t been there, how would you describe the festival?

It’s a three-day festival of electronic music. It’s just like 100,000 people everyday, so it’s pretty much out of control. They have the best DJs, literally all the best DJs in the world. If you’re in the top class of DJs you’re going to this festival, so basically anyone that you want to see is going to be there. It’s amazing, it’s just insane.

Who will you go with? Do you know of any other Team Pros who will be going?

I usually go with a couple of friends. Everybody is going, so basically you just meet everybody over there. A lot of Team Pros don’t go, but the majority of poker players are going. I’d say like 60% of the players are going.

What are your plans after Vegas?

I’m going to Hawaii. I want to chill after the WSOP, I’m going to have like a week off. David Williams, another Team Pro, is getting married in Hawaii and I’m invited. We’re going to rent a house for a week in Hawaii and chill there for four or five days before the wedding. Then I’ll go back to Argentina. If I go back now I’ll never make it back (laughs).


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