How do pros like Sam Trickett, Fedor Holz, Daniel Cates, Timofey Kuznetsov and Paul Phua keep level-headed while living the poker lifestyle? It’s all about the poker/life balance.
Poker can be way tough to make a living which is why it’s important to get the poker-life balance just right. The game can be glamorous, but even at the highest level, it can be a hard, hard grind, and losing streaks are demoralizing. Even the best tournament players can fail to cash in ten tournaments in a row, which means, unlike other sports, the best players have to get used to the idea of “failing” quite often.
This can mess with your head. Add to this a lifestyle that is largely sedentary and can also be nocturnal, and you wonder how the pros stay healthy of mind and body. Paul Phua Poker wanted to find out, so we asked them.
We quizzed Sam Trickett, Fedor Holz, Daniel Cates, Timofey Kuznetsov, Rui Cao, Koray Aldemir, Steve O’Dywer and Paul Phua himself, on just how they keep the poker/life balance in check.
Attaining the poker/life balance
“It’s long hours through the night and sometimes when you wake up it’s midnight and then there’s no game so you’re up through the night so there’s not much to do so,” agrees Sam Trickett.
“There’s a lot of lying around and being lazy and not doing much. I’ve come from a sporting background and I’ve always played sports and always kept myself relatively fit. I use the gym on average two to three times per week, I eat pretty clean and I just try and be as fresh as I can for when the games that are very good and big. I like doing other things in my life, like getting up and going to the pool with my wife, having a few drinks and then going to play. I’m not as professional as some of the guys. I’ll turn up late sometimes but I quite like having that balance in my life of normal and because poker is anything but a normal lifestyle.”
“I try to exercise as much as I can,” adds Paul Phua. “The most convenient thing is that we travel to hotels with swimming pools, so I try to swim a lot, play some table games, pool. Relax your mind, have a beer with friends – not like before when you would have a whiskey you know, so I try to go lighter with drinks, sleep more, which is very important and also concentrate on other aspects of my life, like family and business, investments, basically.”
Of all our pros, only Steve O’Dwyer admitted that he “didn’t do a very good job” of retaining a good balance, although it all seems to be working out pretty well for him.
Daniel Cates: It’s simple. Just do other stuff
Daniel “Jungleman” Cates, meanwhile, wondered whether it was important at all, and if it was, he said, the answer should be rather simple.
“It’s hard to gauge the importance,” he said. “I mean, definitely other players value that more than me. I think it just really comes down to what you prefer to do, I mean what your priorities are, I should say, and then as for how you achieve a balance it’s rather easy. I mean, you just do the other things besides poker. It’s that simple.”