Roland Israelashvili

After establishing a successful jewellery enterprise in New York, Roland began playing live poker tournaments on the side.

Sporting the ‘Speedy’ nickname as a reflection of his love for race cars, Roland Israelashvili was born in New Georgia and moved to the U.S. in 1975. After establishing a successful jewellery enterprise in New York, he began playing live poker tournaments on the side. More than $3,000,000 in winnings later, Israelashvili has become known as a prolific grinder of the WSOP.

In 2016, Roland set that year’s record for the most cashes during the series – setting the mark at 13. His total of WSOP scores has reached 70 since his first in-the-money finish in 2005, placing Speedy high up on the list for lifetime WSOP cashes. He has three final table finishes to his name, the most significant of these coming in the 2012 $50,000 Poker Players Championship. High buy-in events like this one usually draw tough fields, and this one was no different with a final table that included Michael Mizrachi, Viktor Blom, Luke Schwartz and Stephen Chidwick. Roland ended up busting in fifth for $317,882 – his largest live tournament score to date.

2012 proved to be Israelashvili’s most lucrative year in poker, following up the final table success by making a play at the trophy in the $10,000 Main Event. Getting past more than 6,000 other competitors, Roland’s WSOP dreams ended when he finished in 25th place for $294,601 in the year that Greg Merson emerged victorious. Incidentally, this was the second time he’d made a deep run in the Main Event – he finished 37th in the same tournament back in 2005 for $235,390.

He made his second WSOP final table the following year – this time getting a little closer to the gold. Navigating his way past 4,753 other runners, Roland proved his ability once again to beat large fields in the $1,111 No Limit Hold’em Little One for One Drop event. He ended up finishing in third place for $295,433 – still quite the achievement given the scale of the tournament.

Along with all of his WSOP successes, Roland has also picked up a circuit win at the $5,000 No Limit Hold’em Main Event in Atlantic City, earning him another six-figure payday. Add a PCA title and a WPT final table finish to his list of live tournament cashes that now exceeds 230, and Israelashvili has shown that he is here to stay in the poker world.

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