Life&Travel

Baltimore Sun Sunday - - REAL ESTATE - By Sameer Rao

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The hos­pi­tal­ity in­dus­try, un­fairly or not, bears a rep­u­ta­tion for work-hard-play-hard de­bauch­ery, de­gen­er­acy, vice and fis­cal ir­re­spon­si­bil­ity by both its pa­trons and em­ploy­ees. De­spite own­ing a pop­u­lar restau­rant and lov­ing poker, Ron­nie Pasztor doesn’t em­body or iden­tify with that stereo­type.

“I wouldn’t con­sider my­self an overly risky per­son” he said dur­ing an in­ter­view in early May at Sticky Rice, the Asian­meets-pub-fare-fu­sion spot he co-owns in Fells Point.

Seated in a pri­vate room with graf­fiti-cov­ered walls, Pasztor, 42, cuts the im­age of a ser­vice in­dus­try lifer. His in­tense eyes and demon­stra­tive ges­tic­u­la­tion sug­gests the gre­gar­i­ous­ness of some­one used to man­ag­ing the front and back of the house. But Pasztor, self-em­ployed since com­ing to Bal­ti­more from south­ern Cal­i­for­nia al­most a decade ago, is an ac­coun­tant by trade who knows he can’t bet the farm on poker.

“I never bought into a game try­ing to pay rent, buy food or pay my em­ploy­ees,” he said. “As far as risk is con­cerned, I would never scratch to­gether $10,000 to go play when I didn’t just have $10,000.”

That’s the sum Pasztor would have had to pay to buy into the no-limit Texas hold’em com­pe­ti­tion at the 50th World Se­ries of Poker (WOSP), which starts on Wednes­day, July 3 in Las Ve­gas, had he not won a spot through a satel­lite tour­na­ment at the Horse­shoe Bal­ti­more Casino. . Games with smaller buy-ins that kicked off May 29 all lead up to this con­test, also known as the “Main Event,” at the Rio Al­lSuite Ho­tel & Casino this week

The in­ter­na­tional me­dia

KARL MER­TON FERRON/BAL­TI­MORE SUN

Ron­nie Pasztor, co-owner of The Rice Bowl in Fells Point, will com­pete at the 50th World Se­ries of Poker in Las Ve­gas af­ter win­ning a tour­na­ment at the Horse­shoe Casino.

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