WPT Step Winner – Austin – March, 2021


Ricardo Castaneda

TCH Austin sat down with Ricardo Castaneda, the very first winner of the WPT Step 2 Monthly Tournament, to chat about his story as a poker player. Ricardo is originally from El Paso, Texas and first moved to Austin to attend the University of Texas, where he graduated as a Mechanical Engineer.


Ricardo’s professional life took him to Saint Louis as a Product Engineer, position that allowed him to travel and eventually back to Austin to get his MBA and Houston a few years later. His career continued to allow him to go overseas, Azerbaijan, United Kingdom and Libya.


While living in Houston, Ricardo started playing poker, but it wasn’t until he lived in Azerbaijan that he really started getting into the game. Him and his friends would get together Friday nights and weekends to play different card games, including poker.


When back in Houston and Austin he started playing home games and in card rooms like Texas Card House, the Austin one in which he played at on its opening days.


Poker is a recreational activity for Ricardo that he tries to include whenever he’s traveling; he enjoys being able to play at the local casinos of the destinations he visits.


Initially, he played a lot of tournaments and eventually got into the cash games, which he enjoys as well. Nowadays, Ricardo only plays here and there, as much as his small business owner and personal life allows.


Coincidentally, he was available to come and play the Sunday of our first WPT Step 2 tournament. He checked out online what was going on at TCH Austin and decided to make it in. Tournaments are a commitment if you’re in for the win, so he cleared his schedule for the day.


Ricardo knew about World Poker Tour but was unfamiliar with the Steps Program at local card room. He’d always wanted to play tournaments and travel to play them, so it’s exciting to be advancing into the Semi-Annual and having the opportunity of advancing into the Annual Championship.