Slow Playing Strategy Sees Ronnie Bardah Booted from Survivor 39

Any hopes of Ronnie Bardah winning a last longer over previous poker player contestants on Survivor were dashed this week when he was voted off the island.

Ronnie Bardah Survivor

Poker pro Ronnie Bardah lasted less than a week on season 39 of Survivor. (Image: Robert Voets/CBS)

The American poker pro confirmed his participation in the CBS show at the start of September. With Season 39’s cast revealed, Bardah tweeted that he was ready to “let the games begin” on the Island of Idols.

Unfortunately for him, the games didn’t last long. With the first episode of Survivor 39 airing in the US this week, the poker community got the chance to see one of their own in action.

Bardah Sits Back but Walks First

Following in the footsteps of previous castaways such as Jean-Robert Bellande, Bardah was hoping his time at the tables would help him avoid an early exit.

Electing to “sit back and watch,” the 35-year-old quickly saw his strategy unwind. As fellow islander Elaine Stott won the affections of those around her, the poker pro was left out in the cold.

By the time the first vote rolled around, Bardah was the proverbial fish in a sea full of sharks. Alongside Aaron Meredith, he was ousted from the show.

Speaking after his demise, the Survivor 39 casualty said he didn’t expect to be out first. Even though he felt like he was contributing to daily life on the Fijian island, Bardah admitted he made mistakes.

“It’s pretty embarrassing to be voted out first. But hey, I made some mistakes and in the game of poker, you gotta learn from your mistakes,” Bardah told

While the decision to slow play ultimately led to his demise, history suggests Bardah was always up against it. Ever since Survivor producers took a shine to the poker community, pros have always had targets on their backs.

Poker Pros Fall Short on Survivor

In 2007, Bellande was voted out in ninth place after his brash attitude and game playing tactics irked his peers. Fast-forward to season 32 of Survivor where Anna Khait didn’t fare much better, becoming the fifth person to be axed.

Finally, in 2018, Jackie Glazier only lasted until Day 26 on Survivor Australia. During her exit interview, she said that being a poker player meant people never fully trusted her.

Being an expert bluffer might not be conducive to winning Survivor, but Bardah’s time on the show was far from a waste. Even though he lasted just three days, his participation is another form of positive publicity for the industry.

Despite poker’s growth over the last two decades, old images of shady gamblers still persist in the minds of some. By conducting himself in a respectful way, Bardah has done himself and the poker community proud.

Daniel Smyth
Written by
Daniel Smyth
Dan Smyth is a poker media journeyman who politely reminds CardsChat readers that poker is played all around the world, not just America.


Ivansito26 wrote...

we will see the skills of this competitor if it is so good to survive as a bubble in the sunday of the million good luck

BentleyBoy wrote...

Sitting back and watching is never a good strategy when your life depends on what others think of you. Get stuck in and balance belief with humility and you may stand a chance. Merely acting as wallpaper never got anyone anywhere.

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