POKER LIFESTYLE

The Most Challenging Poker Game of My Life

I miss Miriam and my kids a lot. It’s been way too long since I’ve hugged and kissed them.

I miss the ambience of my shabbat table, and the feeling of not being “the only one” treating it as “not just another regular day of the week.”

I miss my Dad.

I miss the ability to make myself hot food in the oven, on the stove, and having a microwave to heat up leftovers instead of leaving food to heat up in the 100-degree sun. Yeah, that’s a thing when you’re in a hotel on a summer shabbat.

I miss my home poker game friends.

To be sure, there’s plenty I DON’T miss…

But above all I really just miss actively being a husband and daddy, and I’m “ready” to go home.

family cruise

But even after almost three weeks in Las Vegas, it’s STILL so hard to say goodbye to this magical place.

I’m going to miss walking into any poker room around the city and knowing I’ll recognize at least one friend (usually more) and have a hug waiting for me.

I’m going to miss being tapped on the shoulder by someone asking “hey, are you Robbie?”, and sharing that they listen to the podcast I host.

I’m going to miss wanting to play poker and knowing that a game is just minutes away instead of days away. That’s a biggie… I was able to play more and improve more during these three weeks than I do in an entire year back home.

Robbie big game

I’m going to miss a great kosher restaurant called Mother Falafel that’s literally open 24/6 – perfect for an orthodox Jew like me – including at 3:30 am after winding up a poker session.

I’m going to miss being in “poker environments”, where people really understand me and what I do.

I’m going to miss looking into the distance and seeing the bright lights of the Strip, or further into the distance and seeing majestic desert beauty.

vegas daytime

I’m going to miss meeting new and interesting people all the time, with whom I might have relatively little in common, and yet share so much more in cultural commonality than the overwhelming majority of people at home outside the little bubble I’ve created for myself in Israel.

I’m going to miss not paying attention to the news and being too busy and active doing, working, and playing versus “just sitting in front of my computer all day” with forced breaks to run to the supermarket or walk outside to pray on the balcony just to make sure I get out a little.

Robbie balcony praying

A Live Straddle, Worlds Apart

Perhaps I’m too open, emotional and public about the challenges I face. It’s not difficult to step back for a minute and realize just how fortunate I am… quite literally having the ability to live and experience “the best of both worlds.”

But simultaneously living in two worlds is very, very, VERY hard.

At home in Israel, I record and send audio files out into the ether. I click Publish only to feel like I can be productive and knock something off my to-do list. I send newsletters advertising a Mixed Game Festival and can barely find a soul who gives a damn.

Here in Las Vegas, my words resonate and are impactful. People listen. People read. People care. And they let me know! And they circle dates on their calendars and literally schedule trips around events I promote! All of that equals the most incredibly fulfilling professional feeling.

Here I have the exquisite privilege of rubbing shoulders with Hall of Famers and getting invited to attend Honors ceremonies… but I never have a “plus one”, as my queen, prince, and princesses are just so far, far away in the castle.

“When’s the next event, Robbie? When will you be back?”

I don’t know.

I just need my wife right now. I need my kids right now. And while I’ll miss this place and I’ll be missed here, I know my absence is felt where it matters most.

Having all the professional success, poker chips, diamonds, clubs, and spades in the world just isn’t the same as being flush with heart.

And home is where the heart is.

Robbie family dinner

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Written By.

Robbie Strazynski

Robbie founded Cardplayerlifestyle.com in 2009. A veteran member of the poker media corps, in addition to writing and video presenting, Robbie has hosted multiple poker podcasts over the years, including Top Pair, the Red Chip Poker Podcast, The Orbit, and the CardsChat Podcast. In 2019, Robbie translated the autobiography of Poker Hall of Famer Eli […]

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