SPADEPOKER>POKER NEWS> Roman Hrabec: I used to spend fifteen hours a day, seven days a week…

Roman Hrabec: I used to spend fifteen hours a day, seven days a week studying poker

The fundamentals of a professional athlete can be very useful in poker, as Roman Hrabec has been demonstrating for several years now. Read on for an interesting interview with a regular at the highest stakes, a successful online player and the current top six on the Czech all-time money list!


Hi Roman, we caught up with you in Rozvadov - where do you live now?

"I live in Vienna. So I'm mostly there. But of course I travel a lot, so then I live all over the world and sometimes I come home."

Can you tell us what your favourite place to play poker is?

"The Seminole Hard Rock Hotel in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. That's probably my favorite place to go, I love the hotel, the casino and the overall life there. Although, in general, I'm more comfortable with Asia than America. I like the Asian culture, the food and the people better."

When we were catching up for our interview today, you texted me that you were on your way to the Gym. Is this part of your routine to keep yourself mentally and physically fit?

"Definitely. I always try to either go to the gym or work out. I also do yoga and breathing exercises. I try to combine it all so that I am in good shape at the table afterwards. The game can last for long hours and being in good mental and physical shape is the key to being a better player than others, in my opinion. Anyone can use solvers and improve their game, but keeping in good physical and mental shape is often underrated in my opinion. People often don't take this into account, but professional poker is essentially a professional sport. So you have to approach it that way. I don't even drink alcohol, for example."

You talk about poker being essentially a professional sport. I know you played hockey when you were younger, do you think that's helped you in any way with poker now?

"My dad introduced me to hockey, and I'm very grateful to him for that. He wanted me to be the best hockey player I could be. So I practiced a lot, always doing something extra. And that stayed in me, so I always worked hard to stay in top shape. I used to devote fifteen hours a day, seven days a week to studying poker. Then I'd sleep in, work out, and study again, and that's how I did it 365 days a year. I did this nonstop for two years, and I think I played really well after that. I spent a lot of hours in front of the computer studying and playing poker. About 4-5 years ago I was one of the biggest online grinders. I may not have been the best, but I played a lot. Because that's what it's all about, consistency. That's a big thing I took from hockey. Just following your path, your dream and learning from that."

When you compare that, how much time do you spend preparing for poker versus actually playing the game?

"I've always been more of a gamer, I like the action of the game. Maybe I should have studied more, but I do enjoy the game, I try to test different strategies a lot while I'm at it and see how it works. Some might say I do random things. Rather, I try to study by playing with weaker players, for example, and observing what works and what doesn't. Sometimes I study classically, of course. Now I try to enjoy life more. I basically spent years in front of the computer, which paid off, and now I'm more enjoying life and playing a little less."

You've had a lot of success both online and live, but you probably prefer one of those, or?

"It's not that I like one more than the other. Sometimes you get bored of one or you're not as good at one as you are at the other. So for example, I play online for a month, but then I'll say I'm not enjoying it anymore, I don't want to play anymore, and I have a downswing, for example. So then I switch to live poker for 1-2 months and suddenly I see how the field is weaker and I get a bit more confident. So I play it for a while, get my confidence back and go back to online. I like to mix it up like that and try to be the best at both. Although even to say who's the best is probably not even possible. I probably wouldn't even want to be the best right now, seeing how much time and effort some players put into it, it's incredibly challenging. I know from my own experience that staying in top form is extremely difficult. Sometimes you also have to think about what's best for yourself and what makes more sense for you."

You mentioned that you're trying to enjoy life more now. In what way?

"I like nature, I like to travel a lot and overall I try to live as much as possible. I like to spend time with my girlfriend, we do a lot of different activities together, we cook together, we go for a walk, a hike. We explore nature, we travel. For example, we go to Vietnam for one or two weeks and we are free there, living as much of life as possible. I've worked hard for it and now I can enjoy it. That's how I feel now. Exploring new things, seeing what it's like on the other side of the world, meeting new people. Of course I travel a lot for poker too, but I'm not so driven to win trophies and money anymore. If I win a tournament it doesn't make me a happier person, but I'm happy when I play good poker in general."

Is there any advice you would give to players if they want to get serious about poker?

"Work at it as much as you can. It should be the only thing you focus on at the time. I see a lot of people who play poker two or three times a week for a couple of hours but in the meantime, for example, they spend a lot of time bitching and stuff like that. But that's not the way to be really good, if you want to do it at the pro level it takes a lot of work and time. So if someone wants to do it seriously, it should be the only thing they focus on in that time. Maybe somebody can get good even over a long period of time little by little, but I obviously didn't do that."

When you look to the future, do you see yourself leaving the poker tables in about 10 years?

"I probably do. I like poker, I enjoy it. Even if I was a millionaire, I'd definitely play occasionally. I don't think that's going to change. I'll probably still go to tournaments and play online. Ten years from now, I'll definitely still like poker, I'll still like to go and play and see old friends."

Your girlfriend is also a poker player, ACR Pro team member and vlogger Monika Zukowicz - do you ever study together, do you give each other advice?

"Sometimes yes, but not that often. Sometimes I try to coach her and give her some advice, but I take it more lightly. But whenever she wants to do so, yes, we sit down and discuss some strategies."

Roman, we're glad you took the time to talk to us and thank you for the interview!