RG DOWNSTREAM Main Event (Day 1B): Natural Competitor

Level 5 (200/400/400)
Total Entrants: 117

Robert "Boston Rob" Mariano (pictured) visited with us during the break to give us some insight into his Survivor experience and love for poker.

"It's probably not something any parent would want to hear," says Boston Rob, "But I've always loved to gamble. I can remember even at seven years old, I'd be flipping quarters against the wall with my friends."

The reality television star of Survivor and The Amazing Race adds, "As for poker, I've been playing all my life. I love the competition and the camaraderie. And it's fun to tease and irritate people. My friends say I'm a natural at that."

The Boston native spent a decade on and off reality television shows, winning Survivor: Redemption Island and its $1,000,000 prize in 2011, not to mention meeting and marrying the love of his life, Amber, along the way. The two now live in Perdido Key, Florida where Mariano owns and operates a real estate investment and renovation company. The couple have four daughters, ages 4, 6, 8, and 9.

"God has a sense of humor," Mariano jokes, but he says all his girls are into Survivor and it's become a family affair, discussing who they think will advance as the season progresses. "Christian, I think, can win if he makes it to the end, but getting to the end is tough. Especially since he had to use the idol last week."

RG Ambassadors and mutual friends Chris Conrad and Dan Lowery invited Mariano to Downstream for the RGPS, which is what brought him to the event. "This is my first time playing in the Midwest, and it's been a great time so far. Although, I fired way too many bullets in the PLO event, but the [PLO] cash game was fun."

"Poker tournaments are a lot like Survivor," he says, "in that you can't win it on Day 1. If you play too fast, you'll be out. But they're also the same in that you can play everything right and still lose. It's that element of luck combined with skill that makes them both fun."

Asked what he thinks his chances are today he replies with confidence, "I wouldn't bet against me. I flopped a straight earlier and didn't go broke when my opponent rivered a full house. So, I wouldn't bet against me. But, if things go wrong, I have a pocketful of money to re-enter."

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