Think of Rozvadov like a Scout badge. The one you need in order to move up in ranks. The badge of honour that all poker players should earn.
You might think you’ve done it all in poker.
You’ve played in Las Vegas and London and Dublin; battled in Macau and Melbourne and Monte Carlo; inflicted sublime suck-outs and endured brutal bad beats; won and bubbled and been the first to bust in too many tournaments to mention.
But let me tell you something. If you’ve never played a full tournament series at the King’s Resort in Rozvadov, you simply have not completed poker. Not even close.
Think of this place like a Scout badge. You’ve got your emergency aid badge, your martial arts badge, and your swimming badge.
But you still need your Rozvadov badge before you can move up the ranks.
Not everyone makes this trip. It’s something of a badge of honour among tournament poker players.
And only when you’ve been here, done it, and got the t-shirt (or badge), will you know why.
MAKE IT HERE, YOU CAN MAKE IT ANYWHERE
Tell non-poker people you’re going to Rozvadov and their first question probably isn’t why, or for how long.
It’s usually: “Errr…where’s that?”
That’s not surprising. A small village in the Czech Republic with a population of approximately 800 people was always going to make for a unique poker setting. But King’s Resort founder Leon Tsoukernik knew what he was doing when he set up the casino in 2003.
READ: The history of poker in Rozvadov
Rozvadov sits right on the Czech border with Germany, making it easily accessible for those travelling in from other European countries. The Resort itself is entirely self-contained, with an enormous poker room, plush hotel, and lavish spa.
But because this is a quiet countryside town, there’s not a whole lot to do outside of the Resort.
No famous sights to see or trails to hike or decadent nightclubs.
In fact, there are no outside distractions at all, and that’s what makes Rozvadov such a unique–and sometimes intense–poker proposition.
“I personally like to have some outside activity because that helps me recharge and get more focus for the tables,” says PokerStars Team Pro Felix Schneiders, who has been here all week leading the vibrant German poker community.
“But I’ve really enjoyed this trip,” he continues. “I had three deep runs.”
The lack of distractions in Rozvadov makes it the perfect place for a focused grinder to ply their trade. You can truly eat, sleep and breathe nothing but poker during a big series like EUREKA Rozvadov.
This is especially true if you’re also staying in the King’s Resort hotel, which means you can walk from your room to the poker arena in less than a minute.
“Here, you’re constantly in the poker world,” says Schneiders. “The ‘badge of honour’ is a nice way to look at it. If you can make it here then you have the power to make it anywhere.”
For experienced poker pro Jason Wheeler, the secludedness of Rozvadov makes it ideal for his focus.
“When the event is a really big buy-in, like the World Series of Poker Europe for example, it benefits me to be here,” he tells us. “To just be playing, just be focused without any distractions.
“But Rozvadov and King’s Resort throw tournament series all year round, and most of these events have multiple Day 1s where you might bag and then have a couple of days off. In those cases, I would love to have some things to do.”
Originally from Chicago, Wheeler has lived in Prague for several years, so he’s practically a local. He’s had great success on Czech soil too, finishing second in the PokerStars Championship Prague in 2017 for €570,000, his largest career score.
“Obviously, Rozvadov is a bit weird when you’re used to having activities and restaurants to go to,” he says. “But for what you have out here, it’s nice. You get in and you get out.”
SOMETIMES, YOU DON’T WANT TO GET OUT
Wheeler has been a poker pro for more than 15 years now, so he tends not to get distracted by things outside of poker anyway. “I play and I go home, as opposed to the ‘go out’ crowd,” he says.
But for those times when he does need a distraction, the King’s Resort Spa is perfect. So good, in fact, that he sometimes comes here even when he has no live poker on the agenda.
“They take amazing care of the players here,” he says. “In fact, I’m staying in Germany today because I’m playing online, but I came back across the border just to go the spa and have some lunch at King’s Resort because they have a really nice restaurant in the casino. Then I’m going back to play online.”
Wheeler estimates he was at the spa for around two and a half hours this morning. That should give you an indication of how nice it is.
“The spa is really great,” confirms Schneiders. “I’ve been there quite a bit.”
But seriously, you’re thinking. There are plenty of restaurants and bars outside of the King’s Resort that I can visit in Rozvadov, right?
No, there aren’t. In fact, you can count the nearby restaurants on one hand.
But as Wheeler pointed out, when you’re in Rozvadov to play poker, your culinary requirements are all taken care of inside the King’s Resort.
Here, there’s no need to worry about where you’re going to eat, and no need to sprint out of the tournament room with a minute remaining on the clock pre-break to ensure you arrive in time for your reservation.
At King’s Resort, there’s an all-you-can-eat buffet open for around 21 hours of the day, serving breakfast, traditional Czech food, pizza, burgers, vegan options, salads, hot drinks, and soft drinks. You can simply stroll in and help yourself to the never-ending trays brought out by the excellent staff.
Fancy something a bit more upmarket? They’ve got that covered, too. The Radimský Restaurant lets diners indulge while surrounded by paintings by Czech impressionist Václav Radimský.
And as this is a casino, you better believe they can make a good cocktail, should you fancy one.
WILL YOU GET YOUR ROZVADOV BADGE?
Have we sold Rozvadov to you? Are you going to try and get your Rozvadov badge at the next opportunity?
Well, you probably won’t have to wait long until the next big tournament series.
One thing’s for sure: the King’s Resort will take good care of you.
Need to get here from an airport? You can book a transfer directly through King’s Resort.
Lose your suitcase in O’Dwyerian fashion? Fear not – there’s the King’s Shop in the centre of the casino just waiting to kit you out.
“King’s Resort originally put themselves out here to attract the gamblers from other countries, because we’re right on the border,” says Wheeler. “But now they’re getting international people who come year-round, so they really go out of their way to take care of people.
“It’s one of the reasons why I always come here. It sort of feels like a second home to me.”
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