Well, that was quick, eh? Ronnie Bardah made a big splash on his debut on CBS last night. The new season of Survivor, the 39th version of this crazy that has been minting money for the last 20 years, saw everyone return to Fiji for a theme titled 'Survivor: Island of the Idols'.
Ronnie Bardah was the latest poker pro to get the reality show treatment. A couple of years ago, David Williams appeared on Master Chef, a reality show on FOX that searches out the best home chefs in America. Who would have thought DW was an amazing chef? Williams went to the finale but finished in second place. The editing crew and producers focused more on DW the single dad than DW the shady poker player. If anything, Williams' epic run and runner-up finish on Master Chef is probably the best individual performance in the poker community. Vanessa Rousso went super deep on Big Brother a few years back, but she also failed to go all the way.
So a poker pro has yet to win a reality show even though Rousso and Williams went deep. And right now, Jean-Robert Bellande holds the record for deepest run on Survivor. Ronnie Bardah didn't have a chance because he busted on Episode 1.
Ah, he played the game poorly but he didn't look like a total jagoff. If anything, he got a free trip to Fiji out of it,
It seems like once every other year a poker pro appears on a reality TV series and everyone gets excited about it. Half-baked click-bait writers waste tons of column space on cranking out recaps of said show. I know because I've done it before with Master Chef.
More often than not the poker industry holds its breath when these reality shows airs because you never know how the normies and squares will view the poker community.
Entertainment Weekly said, "Ronnie is a poker player, because of course he is. The Survivor casting department is obsessed with poker players."
Let's be honest, most of the 9-to-5 squares frown upon "professional" gamblers and don't get me started about those hypocritical religious zealots that openly judge us as sinners and heathens.
Then again, whenever a new reality show debuts with a poker pro, everyone is holding their breath on how that pro will act under pressure. You'd hate to see a pro lose due to poor gamesmanship or bad game theory. For every Vanessa Rousso who correctly used game theory to their advantage, there's a Ronnie Bardah who completely whiffed.
Then again, reality shows all come down to the editing room. You never truly know how things shook out because there's ways to manipulate the footage. Sometimes characters will be given a bad edit to help set them up as a bad guy/girl/them. Or sometimes players get a hero or winner's edit.
"They never showed me really smiling at all," Bardah said in an exit interview with EW. "I looked pretty menacing and pretty mean to be honest."
In the end, it's showbusiness and the showrunner has to provide a compelling narrative... regardless of how much that fits the real story of events. But hey, you already know all this. It's not like this is your first rodeo.
Bardah was one of ten members of the Lairo Tribe. They lost to the opposing Vokai Tribe in the first challenge. As a result, Lairo had to vote someone out at Tribal Council. The first elimination came down to a three-way race between Vince, Ronnie, and Elaine.
Everyone loved Elaine with her witty banter and stories about being a factory worker in Kentucky. Ronnie Bardah felt that was grounds for expulsion. Of course, that's the exact reason why the rest of the tribe kept her over him. He and his small junta ended up voting out Vince, who apparently ratted out Ronnie about his intentions to boot Elaine. However, the rest of Lairo decided Ronnie should hit the road. He got kicked out and that's that. Busto on Episode 1.
"I'm used to losing, but of course it's terrible," Bardah told EW. "The thing about poker is you have many chances to win and to play the game. You can get knocked out and you could make up the next morning and play again. Well, in Survivor 95 percent of us only have about one shot, one time to play. So it really stunk. Of course it hurts."
Bardah chalks up his quick bustout due to his inability to develop a deeper bond with his tribe.
"I wasn't well received, to be honest," he said. "No excuses, but I didn't develop the relationships I needed to make in those few first days. And it's really crucial."
Ronnie's quickie elimination really blows for click-bait poker scribes who were hoping to bilk this story line for the next few months. Looks like us poor schnooks have to find something else to write about the next few weeks. Maybe I should write recaps of the Masked Singer instead?