Poker players tend to focus exclusively at the task at hand as this is one of the essential qualities for being successful in this line of work. When on the road, they spend long hours at the tables and act like tourists for the rest of the time, but not Vanessa Selbst. She goes to great lengths to re-create the same familiar environment that she enjoys at home and this includes cooking her own food and exercising daily.
Instead of booking a hotel room and spending a couple of hours at the gym, she prefers to round up some fellow poker players and compete in a game of tennis or basketball. It goes without saying that it is much more difficult to find nine other players for a basketball match, than it is to pair up with a friend and get things going on the tennis court. Luckily there are several other players who share her vision and via Twitter and other social networks, word gets around and a team is eventually assembled.
The reason for why Vanessa and other poker players who travel a lot to compete in major tournaments exercise daily is that they need to stay in good physical and mental state. Tournaments can be long and tedious events that require poker professionals to stay focused and in order to play you’re a-game, it is mandatory to be healthy and fit. Sightseeing is great and Selbst enjoys visiting beautiful cities such as Barcelona, Prague or Monte Carlo but she tries not to turn every road trip into a vacation.
It is easy to lose focus of the big picture and indulge in pleasant but unhealthy things, so playing basketball and tennis has a two-pronged effect. On one hand, the sports are every bit as fun and immersive as any other activity that one can enjoy in a foreign city, on the other hand they are essential for a proper healthy routine. Finding a free tennis or basketball court can be a bit tricky, but where’s a will there’s a way and Vanessa always manages to find a place to play her favourite games.
Speaking of favourite games, she confessed that she has been playing tennis since middle school and she is just as passionate about the game as she was one decade ago. Vanessa always packs one racket when travelling and with the help of the Internet, she finds both available courts to play and worthy opponents from within or outside the poker circuit. Just as important for Selbst is to find local grocery stores that sell fresh vegetables and healthy food, although she confessed that she frequently brings food from home just to stay on the safe side.
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