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Over half of Japan firms want Olympics canceled or postponed – survey

Aljun Melecio

This picture taken on January 19, 2021 shows detail on the forehead of Miraitowa, the mascot for the coronavirus-delayed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, at the office of the Tokyo Organizing Committee of the Olympic and Paralympic Games in Tokyo. – When the Tokyo Olympics were postponed last year, officials promised they would open in 2021 as proof of humankind’s triumph over the coronavirus. But six months before the delayed start, victory over the virus remains distant, and fears are growing rapidly that the Games of the 32nd Olympiad may not happen at all. (Photo by Philip FONG / AFP) / TO GO WITH AFP STORY OLY-2020-2021-JAPAN-VIRUS-HEALTH BY ANDREW MCKIRDY
TOKYO – Over half of Japanese firms believe the Tokyo Olympic Games should be canceled or postponed, a survey by think tank Tokyo Shoko Research showed on Monday, casting further doubt over the fate of the troubled Games.
Japan is struggling to contain the coronavirus and lags behind western countries in rolling out vaccines, even as Prime Minister Yoshihide Suga vowed to get conditions in place to host the once-postponed Summer Olympics from July 23.
The survey, conducted online on Feb. 1-8, showed 56.0% of the companies polled feel Japan should cancel or postpone the Games, up from 53.6% in the previous survey in August.
Only 7.7% of the firms surveyed said the Games should proceed in full form as scheduled this year, down from 22.5% in the previous survey.
Nearly 20% said the Games should be held with a limited number of spectators, while another 17% said it should proceed with no spectators, the survey showed.
Over 70% firms said cancelling or postponing the Games will barely have any impact on their earnings.
The survey, which covered over 11,000 firms, was conducted before Friday’s resignation of Tokyo 2020 Olympics chief Yoshiro Mori over sexist remarks that left the Olympics searching for a chief five months from the opening ceremony.

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Ex-champ Saludar banners first title fight in PH during pandemic

โฮสต์คุณสมบัติ PH ของ Gilas ถูกลบไปแล้ว แต่ยังคงล็อกอยู่

FILE — Vic Saludar of the Philippines (C) celebrates his win over Japan’s Ryuya Yamanaka after their WBO minimumweight title boxing bout in Kobe, Hyogo prefecture on July 13, 2018. (Photo by JIJI PRESS / JIJI PRESS / AFP) / Japan OUT
MANILA, Philippines — Former boxing world champion Vic Saludar will headline the first world title fight in the country since the COVID-19 pandemic started when he takes on compatriot Robert Paradero on Feb. 20 in Laguna.
The bout is for the vacant WBA minimumweight title and will be held at an open-air football stadium in Biñan.
The all-Filipino clash had already been pushed back twice due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The two were originally slated to fight last Dec. 5 before their encounter got moved to Jan. 30.
But the delay only prolonged what promises to be an exciting matchup.
“I can’t tell what’s going to happen in the fight. We’re both trained hard and prepared to win,” said Saludar in Filipino in an interview with philboxing.com.
The 30-year-old Saludar (20-4, 11 KOs) is coming off a sixth-round knockout of countryman Mike Kinaadman back in December 2019 in Naga City.
Paradero, meanwhile, is undefeated at 18-0 with 12 knockouts but hasn’t fought since he knocked out fellow Filipino Jonathan Almacen in April 2019.
Saludar became the WBO minimumweight champion when he outpointed Japanese contender Ryuya Yamanaka in July 2018 in Kobe, Japan.
He successfully defended his belt seven months later against another Japanese in Masataka Taniguchi via unanimous decision in Tokyo.
Saludar’s reign, however, didn’t last long as he yielded the crown to Puerto Rican Wilfredo Mendez in San Juan, Puerto Rico in August of the same year.

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Kyrgios brings the noise to subdued ‘People’s Court’

Sander Totuli และ Roman Mathieu ชนะการแข่งขัน WCOAP

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Australia’s Nick Kyrgios during his first round match against Portugal’s Frederico Ferreira Silva REUTERS/Jaimi Joy
MELBOURNE – Nick Kyrgios did his best to create his own atmosphere in a subdued John Cain Arena on Monday as he cruised into the second round of the Australian Open with a 6-4 6-4 6-4 victory over qualifier Frederico Ferreira Silva.
The Australian can usually expect a febrile atmosphere when he plays on his favorite court, but a local coronavirus outbreak and unseasonably cold weather kept many punters away.
Those who did turn up were treated to some vintage Kyrgios moments – a racket thrown across the court, a few choice words toward his box and a few more at the umpire as well as a trademark “tweener”.
Scattered fans in the open air stadium, at best a quarter full, wore puffer jackets and blankets, clearly backing the home favorite with occasional cheers and fist bumps.
“Honestly it was pretty average. I haven’t played a Grand Slam match in over a year. I was very nervous walking out here and I knew I wouldn’t be able to play my best game,” Kyrgios said after the match.
“I was very fortunate that COVID didn’t affect me or my family. I used it as a massive reset and I’m just glad to be back out here.”
Kyrgios, who fronted GQ magazine Australia’s digital cover, is undergoing a rebrand after he put in place new management and looked to reform his bad boy image.
His public support for communities hit hard by Australia’s horrendous bushfires last year endeared him to a wider audience than fans of the game.
Kyrgios certainly played to the local view of top tennis players being divas when he called world number one Novak Djokovic a “tool” when the Serbian, under Australia’s 14-day quarantine, requested houses with tennis courts for players to see out their isolation.
The 25-year-old Australian has always had plenty of tennis talent and the world number 47 had far too much for his Portuguese opponent, who was once a rival in the junior ranks but was making his Grand Slam main draw singles debut.
Kyrgios next plays French 29th seed Ugo Humbert — almost certainly on what he calls the “People’s Court” — as he looks to at least match his run to the quarter-finals here in 2015.

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Biden plans to use NFL stadiums for vaccinations

Tokyo Olympics

FILE – U.S. President Joe Biden waves while boarding Air Force One as he departs Washington for travel to Wilmington, Delaware at Joint Base Andrews, Maryland, U.S., February 5, 2021. REUTERS/Joshua Roberts
With the NFL season in the books, the league offered the use of its stadiums for mass COVID-19 vaccinations.
US President Joe Biden said on CBS’ Super Bowl pregame show Sunday that his administration intends to take the NFL up on its offer.
“Absolutely we will,” President Biden told Norah O’Donnell. “I’m going to tell my team they’re available and I believe we’ll use them.”
Seven NFL stadiums were already being used as vaccination sites — the Arizona Cardinals’ State Farm Stadium, Atlanta Falcons’ Mercedes-Benz Stadium, Carolina Panthers’ Bank of America Stadium, Baltimore Ravens’ M&T Bank Stadium, Houston Texans’ NRG Park, Miami Dolphins’ Hard Rock Stadium and the New England Patriots’ Gillette Stadium — but NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell sent a letter to the President earlier in the week offering the remaining 23 stadiums.
Biden also expressed his “hope and expectation” that next year’s Super Bowl would be played in front of a fan-filled stadium.

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TAGS: coronavirus, COVID-19, Joe Biden, NFL, pandemic, quarantine, stadiums, Super Bowl, Us President, vaccinations, vaccine

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Biden: ‘Remains to be seen’ if US will send team to Olympics

Tokyo Olympics

FILE – In this March 30, 2020, file photo, a man jogs past the Olympic rings in Tokyo. (AP Photo/Jae C. Hong, File)
US President Joe Biden said late Sunday it remains to be seen if the US will send a team to the pandemic-postponed Tokyo 2020 Olympics, in a radio interview in which he also weighed in on diversity in sport.
Japan’s government, organizers and Olympic officials all insist the Games will go ahead this summer, and that extensive virus countermeasures will ensure the event is safe.
Asked in a Super Bowl half-time radio interview with network Westwood One if he thought the Games would go ahead, Biden said any decision “has to be based on science”.
“I hope we can play, I hope it’s possible, but it remains to be seen,” he said, stressing that Japanese prime minister Yoshihide Suga was “working very hard to be in a position to be able to safely open the games.”
Biden also addressed the topic of diversity, at a time when National Football League teams have faced accusations of systemic racism for their failure to promote minority coaches to senior roles.
When asked by the show’s host if he had any advice for the NFL going forward, the president said teams had to “go out and look, there’s numerous incredible qualified African-American coaches out there.”
“I don’t understand why they cannot find — because they exist — so many African-American coaches that are qualified that should be in the pros in my view,” he added.

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Former champion Kerber rues hard quarantine after early exit

Tokyo Olympics

Tennis – Australian Open – Melbourne Park, Melbourne, Australia, February 8, 2021 Germany’s Angelique Kerber in action during her first round match against Bernarda Pera of the U.S. REUTERS/Asanka Brendon Ratnayake
MELBOURNE – Former champion Angelique Kerber made an early exit from the Australian Open on Monday and said spending two weeks in hard quarantine ahead of the Grand Slam had contributed to her first-round loss.
The German former world number one was one of 72 players who were unable to leave their rooms to train during quarantine after passengers on their flights to Melbourne tested positive for COVID-19.
Her opponent Bernarda Pera was not among that cohort and the American ousted the 2016 Australian Open champion 6-0 6-4 in little more than an hour on the first morning of the tournament.
“Of course, you feel it if you are not the hitting ball for two weeks and you are not in the rhythm,” Kerber told reporters after her earliest exit from Melbourne Park for six years.
“I was really trying to staying positive and doing the best out of the two-week situation but you feel it, especially if you play one of the first matches in a Grand Slam … against an opponent who didn’t stay in the hard lockdown.”
Kerber congratulated Australia on its success in containing the new coronavirus and said she had enjoyed playing in front of fans again, however briefly.
The 33-year-old thought, however, that she might have reconsidered the long trip to Australia if she had known she would have to remain locked in her room for 14 days.
“When I look back, of course I was not planning the two weeks in hard quarantine,” she added. “I don’t know, maybe if I knew that before to stay really two weeks in the hard quarantine without hitting a ball, maybe I would think twice about that.”

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Japan pledges safe Olympics, medical experts aren’t so sure

Tokyo Olympics

FILE PHOTO: A man wears a protective mask amid the coronavirus disease (COVID-19) outbreak in front of the giant Olympic rings in Tokyo, Japan, January 13, 2021. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo
Japanese infectious disease specialist Atsuo Hamada wants to see the Olympics happen in Tokyo this summer, but admits if they were being held anywhere else, he’d probably support a cancellation.
“Even without the coronavirus pandemic, the Olympics as a mass gathering fosters all sorts of infectious diseases,” Hamada, a professor at Tokyo Medical University, told AFP.
With less than six months until the pandemic-postponed Games, organizers say they’re confident the event will be safe. But some medical experts aren’t so sure, and think cancellation is safer.
“I do understand the athletes’ sentiments,” said Michael Head, a senior research fellow in global health at Britain’s University of Southampton.
“But I think from… the global public health point of view, there’s nothing about the Olympics that makes any sense whatsoever right now.”
Olympic officials have started outlining virus safety measures, from pre-arrival health monitoring to regular testing in Japan, and limitations on how long athletes will stay at the Olympic Village.
“It is the mantra of all of us — the Games have to be safe,” Olympic Games Executive Director Christophe Dubi said last week.
Organizers point to the success of other sports events during the pandemic, but experts note the Games will be on an entirely different scale.
The numbers are formidable: 26,000 beds in the Olympic Village alone, around 12,000 accredited media, and participants from around 200 countries.
“Even if they’ve been vaccinated, there may be certain variants that have certain resistance to the vaccine,” warned Head.
“Mixing of people from so many different countries will simply accelerate the likelihood of new variants emerging.”
Foreign fans ‘inconceivable’
Hassan Vally, an associate professor of public health at Australia’s La Trobe University, said he was sure “that anything that can be done to reduce the risk is being done.”
“But you can’t reduce the risk completely,” said Vally, who has worked on virus policy.
“If you have your public health lens on, this is doing everything that we don’t want to be doing right now.”
Organizers are waiting until spring to make some key decisions, including whether to limit or bar spectators from events — something health experts consider necessary.
“It is inconceivable to let spectators in from all around the world,” Hamada said, adding that having any spectators would involve “significant risks.”
Head said organizers should be reducing the number of people involved with the Games to the absolute minimum.
“It wouldn’t eliminate the risk, but it would reduce it,” he said.
The global rollout of virus vaccines has raised hopes for the Games, with some countries saying they plan to vaccinate athletes before the summer.
Japan and the International Olympic Committee have not made vaccination a precondition for Olympic participation.
Public health expert Koji Wada warned it was unlikely all the athletes and the Japanese public will be vaccinated before the Games.

“Vaccines are a tool to protect yourself, not others,” added Wada, a professor at the International University of Health and Welfare in Otawara who has advised Japan’s government on the pandemic.
“You should not look to the vaccines as an answer to this.”
‘Concrete plans’
He advised organizers to consider whether some contact sports might be too risky in a pandemic.
“Maybe surfing and table tennis are okay. But judo seems difficult.”
But others see ways the Games can work in its full capacity.
“With frequent testing, and athletes and staff limiting their movement and staying in bubbles, and everyone watching it on television, that is a possibility that I can imagine now,” said Hamada.
Vally said he too expects the Games to go ahead, but that organizers should assume there will be virus cases.
“There’s no way the Games will go by without some drama along the way to do with the virus, it’s a matter of how that is responded to that’s going to be the biggest challenge.”
For now, Hamada said, organizers need to “show concrete plans” for a safe Games.
“If after all that, it’s better to cancel it, then we must cancel it.”

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Brady, Buccaneers rout Chiefs to win Super Bowl

Sander Totuli และ Roman Mathieu ชนะการแข่งขัน WCOAP

NFL Football – Super Bowl LV – Tampa Bay Buccaneers v Kansas City Chiefs – Raymond James Stadium, Tampa, Florida, U.S. – February 7, 2021 Tampa Bay Buccaneers’ Tom Brady celebrates with head coach Bruce Arians during the game REUTERS/Brian Snyder
Tom Brady sealed his place in the pantheon of America’s greatest sporting icons on Sunday, winning a record seventh Super Bowl as the Tampa Bay Buccaneers routed the error-strewn Kansas City Chiefs 31-9.
The 43-year-old Brady — who became the oldest man to play in the Super Bowl — etched another remarkable chapter in his 21-year career as the Buccaneers shattered the Chiefs’ dreams of back-to-back NFL championships.
Brady, who only joined the Buccaneers last year after two decades with the New England Patriots, delivered a vintage display with three touchdowns, 21 from 29 completions and no interceptions at Tampa’s Raymond James Stadium.
But it was a miserable night for the Chiefs and quarterback Patrick Mahomes, seen by many as the likeliest pretender to Brady’s throne.
Mahomes, 25, was roughed up repeatedly by a relentless Buccaneers defense, sacked three times and intercepted twice, failing to register a touchdown as the Chiefs’ vaunted offense failed to fire.
Instead, the night belonged to the Buccaneers and Brady, who added another incredible feat to his extensive catalogue of achievements by leading his new franchise to the Vince Lombardi trophy after a tumultuous season played under the shadow of the Covid-19 pandemic.
Chiefs pay penalty
The expected Super Bowl classic never materialized as the Buccaneers dominated to race into a 21-6 first half lead with two touchdowns from Brady’s old Patriots team-mate Rob Gronkwowski and a third from Antonio Brown.
Running back Leonard Fournette rushed for a fourth early in the third quarter as the Bucs comfortably closed out a win that saw head coach Bruce Arians become the oldest head coach to win a Super Bowl.
The Chiefs were left ruing a disastrously indisciplined first half display that saw them repeatedly give up penalties that cost 95 yards.
The Chiefs were never in the game after taking the lead with a 49-yard Harrison Butker field goal, with the Bucs defense pressuring Mahomes from the outset.
The Buccaneers finally sparked into life on their third drive as Brady cleverly began varying play, using Fournette to pick up a quick first down before hitting receiver Brown for a 16-yard gain.
A further long gain from Cameron Brate and a Fournette rush put the Buccaneers deep in Chiefs territory, and Brady picked out an unmarked Gronkowski to put the Bucs 7-3 up after Ryan Succop’s extra point.
After another Chiefs punt, the Bucs were soon back threatening the red zone. This time however Kansas City pulled off a huge goal-line stand to deny running back Ronald Jones from one yard.
The Chiefs were unable to make that moment count, however, and were forced to punt away on fourth down. Another costly penalty made the punt even longer and left the Bucs in good field position.
The Chiefs looked to have snaffled an interception off a deflected Brady pass but again another holding penalty let the Bucs off the hook.
Defense dominant
It got worse for the Chiefs soon afterward when another penalty, this time for an infraction at the line of scrimmage, turned a Succop field goal attempt into a Bucs first down.
On the next drive, Brady found Gronkowski in the end zone once more to make it 14-3. With the Chiefs again settling for a field goal on their next possession, the Bucs regained the ball leading 14-6 with a minute remaining in the half.
Yet again penalties proved to be the Chiefs’ nemesis. A 34-yard pass attempt from Brady to Evans earned a flag after Bashaud Breeland tripped Mike Evans.
Another holding penalty, this time against Tyrann Mathieu, left the Buccaneers on the one-yard line with 13 seconds left.
This time Brady arrowed a bullet pass through a crowd of defenders to find Brown for a touchdown and a 21-6 lead.
The Chiefs rallied early in the second half, with rookie running back Clyde Edwards Helaire producing two long carries take Kansas City into Bucs territory.

The Bucs defense again shut down Mahomes passing options though, leaving Butker to cut the lead to 21-9 with a field goal.
Tampa Bay’s offense picked up where it had left off in the first half, with Brady’s 25-yard completion to Gronkowski setting up good field position.
From there Fournette found space on the outside and accelerated away from the Chiefs defense for a 27-yard gallop into the end zone. Succop’s kick made it 28-9 and the Bucs were cruising.
It got worse for the Chiefs on the next possession, when Mahomes was sacked by Shaq Barrett before tossing an interception on the next play, safety Antoine Winfield with the pick.
Another Buccaneers field goal from Succop made it 31-9 heading into the fourth quarter, and the game ended as the Bucs grabbed another interception.

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No cheering, no parties: COVID-19 forces different Super Bowl for fans

Sander Totuli และ Roman Mathieu ชนะการแข่งขัน WCOAP

FILE – General view of a fireworks display from downtown Tampa in preparation of Super Bowl LV on February 06, 2021 in Tampa, Florida. Douglas P. DeFelice/Getty Images/AFP
TAMPA, Fla./LONG BEACH, Calif – Fans hoping to watch the Super Bowl on Sunday will face a much different reality this year, with the novel coronavirus restricting the celebration around one of America’s unofficial holidays.
Those who choose to gather at Super Bowl parties big and small in Tampa and across the country face dire warnings from public health officials to abide by basic health and safety protocols, amid the COVID-19 pandemic that has claimed more than 450,000 lives in the United States.
The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance said those who attend large watch parties should avoid “chanting or cheering” and avoid going to the restroom during “high-traffic times.”
For local businesses in Tampa, Florida, meeting the safety standards of the COVID-19 era may mean extra work without the usual super-sized plunder they might have enjoyed with America’s biggest sporting event coming to town.
“We gotta make sure we’re absolutely… taking precautions to the nines,” said Tom Malloy, 25, the manager of Ducky’s Sports Lounge in Tampa, which plans to host fans for a watch party on Sunday with indoor and outdoor seating and 40 TVs blasting the big game.
“We’re willing as a business to accept any of those additional costs to kind of make people feel safe.”
Malloy said the pandemic has been a learning experience in how to stay up to code with local safety measures while weathering the “hefty, hefty hit” to revenue.
“We’re using Super Bowl as kind of an opportunity to maybe rekindle a relationship with people who have, you know, been out of the bar scene since COVID came,” said Malloy. “Thank God Super Bowl has been helping us out.”
More than 2,500 miles away in Long Beach, California, Legends Sports Bar on bustling 2nd street is gearing up for what is traditionally one of the busiest days of the year.
Normally the large restaurant would be packed with revelers but due to COVID-19 restrictions on indoor dining, additional tables have been installed outside facing giant TVs.
“We’re going to go full blast. TVs on, sound on, and just crank it as much as we can,” said manager Daryl Domantay. All of the tables, which are positioned eight feet apart, had already sold out.
He said it will be up to his staff to keep groups from getting too close, which he admitted will be a challenge.
“It’s going to be tough because usually people run up and down, high-fiving each other. Instead they have to stay in their seat unless they are using the restroom.”
But Domantay said he was lucky – similar bars in Los Angeles County that are governed by a different health department are barred from having TVs on at all to discourage large gatherings.
‘Cool it’
NFL fans planning an all-day extravaganza of food and football at home aren’t immune to the strict precautions, either.
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the leading U.S. infectious disease specialist, said this week that the typical house parties of the past should “absolutely not” happen.
“As difficult as that is, at least this time around, just lay low and cool it,” Fauci told “Good Morning America.” https://twitter.com/GMA/status/1356941462802468867
The National Basketball Association (NBA) issued a warning of its own to teams and coaches, according to media reports https://twitter.com/ShamsCharania/status/1358092247896641541, telling them they are barred from attending Super Bowl gatherings outside of their homes.
In host city Tampa, where the 22,000-person attendance cap at Raymond James Stadium has made tickets even harder to come by than usual, residents say they’re cutting back on their traditional gatherings.
“Every year we usually do a big huge party,” said Kevin Schmook, a Tampa resident of 24 years. “We can’t invite all of our friends so we just go to a house where we know people are COVID-safe.”

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7 Ways in Which the Poker Community Is Helping Me Survive the Pandemic

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Generally speaking, I’m a pretty positive and mentally strong guy. My natural state is thankfully to be in a good, jovial mood, appreciative for my very many blessings in life. I feel truly fortunate to lead the life I do, with a family I adore, in my ancestral homeland, doing poker media work for a living.
And yet, since the world turned upside down back in March 2020, I’ve found myself having very real challenges to keep going. With alarming frequency, often out of nowhere, I find myself dealing with feelings of general malaise and depression. Between lockdowns, quarantines, and an incessant 24/7 news cycle bearing bad tidings, it’s almost as though some mysterious force seems to be working overtime to erode my hope and faith in a brighter future, and that things will be OK. This has somehow happened despite my ostensibly having had one of my best years professionally speaking, and more than ever for which to be grateful.
Without meaning to sound presumptuous, I feel that if someone like me is having these sorts of difficulties and issues, I imagine many folks out there who are perhaps “not as strong” – for lack of a better phrase – are truly and genuinely struggling.
Until the world gets back to normal, our collective and individual struggles are sure to continue. Of course, while we’ll all have our weak moments from time to time, it’s best if we try to equip ourselves with as many tools as possible to properly handle the slings and arrows that life throws at us.
I’m no mental health guru, and if you’re genuinely facing serious depression issues it’s critical that you not be afraid to seek professional assistance.
With that said, I’ve taken the time to reflect on what it is that’s helped me slog through this pandemic. Aside from my very strong support system of family and local friends, I can say beyond the shadow of a doubt that my engagement in poker and with the poker community has proven essential to my wellbeing.

Here’s a list of what’s worked for me and what has quite often proven to be the antidote to my recurring malady.
Watching Poker Vlogs
May the Good Lord bless Brad Owen and Andrew Neeme! In a time where travel has been impossible and my natural longing for playing poker in Las Vegas has been forcibly exacerbated, Brad and Andrew’s vlogging has provided a welcome, much needed substitute. Through their lenses, just seeing the inside of the casinos and that there’s still great action going at the felt helps keep my internal poker fire going.
Then there are the special ingredients that make this pair of poker vloggers videos so endearing, namely Andrew’s knack for Neistat-esque cinematography and storytelling, and Brad’s penchant for finding boatloads of humor at the felt. Every time I see the notification of a new episode waiting to be watched, I know I’m in for a real treat and something that’ll surely make me smile.
Home Poker Games
An absolute lifeline for me, I count myself exceedingly fortunate to have played in about three dozen home games since the onset of the pandemic.
When things first went topsy-turvy and nobody understood the magnitude of what the world was facing, we didn’t dare gather in person. Instead we moved the home game online, and incorporated Zoom such that we could see one another.
Over time, more and more members of my two home game groups felt comfortable enough convening in person. As an extrovert who thrives on interpersonal interaction, it’s difficult to encapsulate just how important these poker meet-ups have been for me. Winning or losing has mattered far less to me than just having company, sitting around a poker table, and having a good time with friends. As my buddy Kenny likes to say, “it’s my five-hour vacation.”
On top of that, the pre-game build-up and post-game banter on our WhatsApp groups never fails to put me in a good mood.

My Dad hasn’t played poker for 6 months. He finally returned to the home game tonight.
Let’s show Dr. Joe some love, folks ❤️ pic.twitter.com/kzvhwgsQ4y
— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) September 10, 2020

Poker Podcast Hosting
Starting to host The Orbit and the CardsChat podcast has given me the opportunity to speak with dozens of wonderful people in the poker community and have great conversations that aren’t politics- or pandemic-related. As those two topics have completely overwhelmed our daily discourse, having a “built in” mechanism via which to discuss something else, both on camera and behind the scenes with my co-producer colleagues, have been so incredibly beneficial to my psyche.
Even if you’re not someone who’d consider starting your own poker podcast, just reaching out privately to your poker friends for a phone call can be so beneficial. Back in April I suggested starting a “calling station” campaign, and I still stand by those words.
Public Words of Care and Support
A while back, I learned a very important life lesson from my friend and fellow poker media member Lee Davy: there’s strength in vulnerability. In the age of Instagram, we’re becoming increasingly conditioned to the idea of a picture-perfect life, but for 99.9% of people life is anything but. Even the strongest of us have our weak moments, and IT’S OK TO LET OTHERS KNOW THIS!
Just yesterday, I Tweeted this:

I had been having an impossibly shitty day today; really in a bad, dark place.
Over the last several hours I had the good fortune to speak with half a dozen friends (you know who you are).
I’m feeling much better now, and grateful.
If you’re down, reach out to people for help.
— Robbie Strazynski (@cardplayerlife) January 7, 2021

The responses from the poker community have been overwhelming in their empathy and love. I had decided to share what I had gone through over the course of my day in order to possibly help someone. I literally wrote “I’m feeling much better now.” I was unprepared for just how positive the response would be. The virtual hugs I received in part inspired me to write this today.
However uncomfortable it feels, I believe that putting yourself out there will result in an outpouring of love from others. We’re ALL going through so much.
Private Words of Care and Positivity
The aforementioned notwithstanding, not everyone is comfortable publicly expressing themselves, and THAT’S OK, TOO!
Since the pandemic began, I’ve received dozens of unsolicited emails that have been so incredibly helpful to me. Some have been to privately send words of support and encouragement for the poker media work I’ve been doing, while others have been to thank me for the competitions and giveaways I’ve been running. I cannot fully express how much these have meant to me. To receive acknowledgement that what I do matters to people is so precious.
Moreover, in response to this, I’ve also received plenty of emails asking for poker-related advice. It’s so incredibly fulfilling to feel that my experience can potentially assist someone. To those who’ve written me, you may feel like I’m helping you, but let me assure you that you are helping me just as much.
Writing is becoming a lost art, but words matter so much. I encourage you all to take the time to write to someone, whether you need help, want to say thank you, or just send words of encouragement. It’s completely worthwhile.
My Poker Partners, Contributors, and Collaborators
As mentioned, I thrive on interpersonal interaction. The nature of the work that I do necessitates near constant digital interaction. Whether it’s brainstorming article topics with my many contributing writers, liaising with the many wonderful affiliate managers who work for poker training sites, or planning the multimedia content I produce with top professionals in audio and video production, I feel totally wired 24/6 (Thank goodness for shabbos!).
Between email, Twitter DMs, Facebook messenger, Whatsapp, and other forms of digital communication, the ongoing conversations I’ve been having have not only served to keep me busy and continuously “feeding the content beast”, but they’ve also served to keep my mind off all the chaotic and negative things going on in the world. For that I am supremely grateful.
High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark
May the Good Lord bless the wonderful folks at Poker Central/PokerGO! For years, we’ve all been reminiscing about all those great hands on High Stakes Poker and Poker After Dark. “Ah, such great shows… I wish they’d come back and produce more!” Well, our poker prayers have been answered and we’re all now fortunate to be treated to new, excellent episodes of two of the highest-quality poker shows that have ever been produced.
Beyond the players themselves, specific shout outs go to Brent Hanks, Mori Eskandani, the behind-the-scenes production crew, and the commentators – Gabe Kaplan, AJ Benza, and Ali Nejad. Thank you so much for doing your absolute best to fill the live poker void that’s been created and give us such fantastic content to consume.
Conclusion
So, that’s what’s worked for me. That’s what’s kept my head above water. That’s what’s turned my frowns upside-down. Thank you, dear poker community, for everything.
Perhaps someone reading this will have their spirits brightened. Perhaps some of the things I’ve shared will inspire others. Perhaps I’ve given you some ideas for how to take matters into your own hands and dig yourself out of the doldrums. Perhaps I’ll be happy and relieved to read my own words next time I need a pick-me-up.
And finally, there IS a light at the end of the tunnel. Things WILL get better. The human spirit WILL endure. We WILL prevail… and we WILL get back to the tables!
About Robbie StrazynskiRobbie founded Cardplayer Lifestyle in 2009.
Having quite literally learned how to play poker around the kitchen table as a child, “living a Cardplayer Lifestyle” is something that he’s always aspired to. After having worked as a copywriter and marketing professional in the online gaming industry for a number of years, Robbie transitioned to become self-employed in the poker media industry in March 2017.
Robbie translated Pulling The Trigger: The Autobiography of Poker Pro Eli Elezra, from Hebrew into English. He is also the host of the Twitch.tv/poker roundtable panel show The Orbit, the CardsChat Podcast, and creator of the Poker Notes Live mobile app.
Robbie received the 2018 Global Poker Award for Charitable Initiative of the Year and in 2019 he was recognized by the Women’s Poker Association with their Excellence Award as Media Support Person of the Year.
Connect with Robbie on Twitter @cardplayerlife, or via email: robbie@cardplayerlifestyle.com.



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