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Then nothing else tastes as sweet.

Breaktime in Bratislava

I love a good break. There’s only usually one fifteen minute break every two hours of a major poker tournament, and when that clock reaches zero the players all rise as one and start to mass, stream, and mill. All you hear is people talking about hands.

Mike Sexton is at the bar shaking his head in bewilderment. “The guy turns over jack-ten and the other fellow mucks. He wins the pot with jack high!”

James Akenhead and Martins Adenya are bounding up the stairs to get some fresh air. “So I 3-bet him.” “You three-bet him?” “Yeah.”

Giovanni Safina is muttering about the kings in Italian. Rizzo had a straight flush draw. The Swedes are grouped together asking about bet sizing.

To me it sounds like the greatest symphony on earth. It’s music to my ears.

Show 34 (April 4) with Mike Sexton is online now! Click the play button to listen:

[podcast][/podcast] Prefer to download? Right click here and Save As.

Bratislava is for sure worth coming to for the WPT. It may be the nicest hotel I’ve ever stayed in, right on the banks of the river Danube. It’s so fancy that when you take a shower, you enter your desired water temperature on a digital pad.

From Brits to French, to Germans and Swedes

At night after the tournament breaks, the bar is heaving with poker players from every country. Beers are bought all around, club sandwiches and hamburgers litter the tables and couches. Laptops are plugged in everywhere, with tournament grinding galore.

McClean Karr, who just won the highroller in Vienna two days before, has sixteen tables fired up in a corner. Later I go to ask him about a hand form the TV coverage, and he’s down to only six. But he’s still in a great mood.

A few nights later he’s shaking his moves on the dance floor as the whole party moves to one of the most exclusive nightclubs in town. Everybody is there, from the Brits to the French, to Germans and Swedes. It’s bottle service and Red Bulls, but at less than one fifth the cost that you’d find in any other country. Even then, the talk is mostly poker.

It sure sounds easy. Who wouldn’t want to be Mike Sexton, Kara Scott, or Giovanni Rizzo and have the sweet life of a Party Poker Pro. Travel the world, stay in the lap of luxury, eat strawberries for breakfast, steak for dinner, and champagne for lunch. Finish out every night with bottle service in a heaving club.

And in between, go into the poker room and bink a few tournaments against the undermanned locals. It sounds too good to be true. And it probably is. Because the only thing not guaranteed is the winning at poker.

And there’s the rub for a poker player. Because when that’s not going well, everything else can taste like sawdust. And a poker player is only as good as their last hand. No matter how good you play, the deck sometimes thinks different. It’s a tough way to make an easy living and one heck of a ride.

Show 34 (April 4) with Mike Sexton is online now! Click the play button to listen:

[podcast][/podcast] Prefer to download? Right click here and Save As.


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