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Eye-popping headlines? We certainly agree! In our latest round of gossip, we take a closer look at poker pro – Ronnie Bardah’s brief stint in Season 39 of the CBS reality TV show, Survivor – Island of the Idols. Bardah’s entry in the show that enjoys cult popularity sent the entire poker community in a tizzy and rightfully so. With over $1.3 Million in recorded live winnings including a WSOP bracelet under his belt, Bardah was considered by most a strong contender to reach where other poker pros before him couldn’t. Alas, it was not to be. Just three days into the show he was voted out – in fact, he became the first player to be voted off this season. What really happened out there, Bardah?!!
Now, coming to disappointments, actor-comedian and poker enthusiast Kevin Hart is having a terrible month. Hart suffered severe injuries in a car accident in California earlier this month, so much so that he had to be taken in for emergency surgery. He had only just started recuperating when news broke out that Montia Sabbag with whom Hart was caught involved in a sexual escapade and a subsequent sex-tape scandal in 2017, had filed a new, $60 Million lawsuit against the actor. She had alleged in her lawsuit that Hart was aware of their encounter being recorded and still let it happen without her knowledge and consent with intentions of gaining publicity. Though Sabbag’s case was dismissed by the federal court owing to technical glitches, this is most likely only a short-lived reprieve for Hart as Sabbag is very likely to file an amended petition. Do we smell a fat settlement here?!
It was the Summer buzz that started doing the rounds beginning in May that poker pro Ronnie Bardah would be seen as one of the castaways in Season 39 of the CBS show, Survivor – Island of the Idols. This would not be the first time a noted poker pro would appear on the popular show. Anna Khait, Garrett Adelstein and Jean-Robert Bellande have all been on the show and while Khait and Adelstein couldn’t survive the fierce competition of the show’s U.S. edition, Bellande who was part of Survivor: China was the only participant with a poker resume who survived till Day 24 to make the jury.
So last week, when the list of contestants was finally made public, and Bardah’s name featured on it, anticipation started building up that the former WSOP champion with over $1.3 Million in live tournaments could make a deep run in the reality show.
Unfortunately, Bardah made a record but not the kind to boast off. His time in the show as it turns out was the shortest among all his poker players peers who have been on the show before him. Bardah was, as a matter of fact, the first ‘knockout’ of the hugely popular show, making his way out on just the third day of the show! Not only was he cast out early, but he was also voted out by an astounding 7-to-2 margin!
In the aftermath of it all, a clearly upset Bardah shared his feelings on Twitter.
For someone who always has so much to say, it’s hard for me to express how I feel. The expectations I had for myself and what you had for me, sorry I let you down. I feel so privileged to have played the great game of @survivorcbs Thank you for all your support.
— Ronnie Bardah (@RonnieBardah) September 26, 2019
Later, in an exit interview with Rob Cesternino, 35-year old Bardah admitted, “I was blindsided pretty hard. I did not expect that. I thought I was contributing to my tribe and it just sucks. It’s pretty embarrassing to be voted out first. It’s a pretty big disappointment to the poker world and to myself. But hey, I made some mistakes and in the game of poker you gotta learn from your mistakes.”
Before the show kicked off, Bardah was described as a strong contestant. “I just feel like I’m built for this game, for my background being a poker player, “a confident Bardah had told news channels before the show began. So what really went wrong?
Show host Jeff Probst later talking about his exit said, “Ronnie is a sharp guy and if we started over and played again he might have a very different result. But if there is a general lesson about first impressions and first moves, maybe it’s this: You can’t win the game on day one, but you can definitely lose the game.”
Bardah who was part of the Lairo tribe in the show first popped up in the 90-minute premiere when he ran into Elaine. He admitted later that he was following a strategy he usually advises other poker players – sit and watch the competition. Bardah summed up Eliane as super likable and thus, she was for him the most significant threat. The two talked privately on a board and discussed the possibility of helping each other out, while on the show. As it turned out later for Bardah, Eliane was taking him for a ride.
After their meeting, Elaine said, “I don’t trust Ronnie. He’s got to go.”
The tribe had an early loss – it miserably failed the immunity challenge where Bardah had proved his prowess with a hook. This broke the tribe into groups – Bardah and others campaigned against Elaine, and it seemed like Elaine would be the first to leave the show. But that obviously wasn’t what happened.
Even before the tribal council got talking, most of his tribe members had turned against him – fellow castaway Aaron Meredith was the only member of the tribe who sided with Bardah!
Bardah was also at the receiving end of malicious behavior. Elaine projected Bardah as a “weasel” among the tribe members and even the show made fun of Bardah, listing out the jobs he’d done in the past – working at McDonald’s, Layaway Manager at Walmart, Bartender, newspaper delivery, casino game dealer, etc.
Not that Bardah was too affected. Used to the swings of poker, Bardah ended his exit on a good note, “Coming on ‘Survivor’ definitely wasn’t about just the money. You know, a million dollars is great, but you can’t put a price on an experience like this.”
Here’s a clip from the show:
Famed Hollywood comedian and poker player Kevin Hart suffered a severe back injury in a car accident that took place in California earlier this month. The Hollywood A-lister was still recuperating when he got hit by a $60 million lawsuit filed by model and actress Montia Sabbag in the Federal Court of Los Angeles. In what comes as a temporary reprieve for Hart, the court has dismissed the case on technical grounds!
Hart was first dragged into the scandal in 2017 when a video showing both him and Sabbag in a consensual sexual encounter that took place at a Las Vegas hotel room went viral on the internet. Sabbag later took Hart and some of his friends including Jonathan Todd Jackson, to court charging that Hart had, along with others, allowed video-recording of their time together, without her consent.
Though Sabbag had initially trained her guns more on Jackson and others, stating that she believed that Hart was also a “victim,” this time she implicitly charged that the recording took place with Hart entirely in the know. Sabbag, who had in her original complaint alleged that her life had been “turned upside down” after the video got out and that she “continues to suffer from substantial emotion distress on a daily basis.”
In her petition, she also alleged that Hart had planned to use the video as a publicity plank for his “Irresponsible Tour.”
Hart was facing charges of invasion of privacy, negligence, and infliction of emotional distress.
As for Hart, when the scandal broke out, the comedian, who was at that point a PokerStars ambassador, initially decried the allegations, claiming that he was being extorted over the sex tape. He later publicly apologized to his wife Eniko saying he had made an unfortunate error in judgment, “I put myself in a bad environment where only bad things can happen, and they did. And in doing that, I know that I’m going to hurt the people closest to me, who I talked to and apologized to. That would be my wife and kids.”
Sabbag denied that she had anything to do with the extortion attempts.
The third prominent character in this story, Hart’s former friend Jackson was earlier charged with extortion by Sabbag. She filed a new lawsuit against him recently, but the tide seems to be on Jackson`s side since the felony extortion charges brought up against him were dropped on September 27, for lack of evidence. Jackson, however, still faces felony charges on other counts in the case.
As for Hart, his reprieve may be short-lived. The judge turned the case down for several technical issues, including how Sabbag had defined the website Fameolous – that published the sex-tape online – in her complaint. Sabbag has time till September 30 to file an amended complaint.