Ask a poker player why they love travelling the international tournament circuit and they will no doubt say they love seeing new places around the world.
It’s arguable that no tournament player has seen more countries than Slovenian Casey Kastle.
He has the honor of holding a unique record in poker – the most cashes in distinctive countries.
“The Guinness Book of Records actually contacted me last year to see if I was interested in being in the book because it’s a legitimate record I guess,” Kastle told us.
“I just don’t know if it is that big a deal to me. But I guess it is pretty unique. Maybe I should appreciate it a bit more.”
Travelling For Pleasure, Not Poker
The thing about this unique record for Kastle is that it was never intentional and it’s not something he thinks about when planning a trip.
In fact, he barely even thinks about the poker.
“I don’t really go to place if I don’t like the city, even if the poker is good. For me to choose some place purely for poker is unusual.”
Kastle even says that his goal is to not necessarily to play in good poker tournaments. His goal is perhaps even a little simpler than that.
“My goal is to be able to wear shorts and sandals 250 days a year. It took me a while to get there, but now I’m above 300 days a year.
“I see no reason to go play poker somewhere with minus five degree weather.”
One thing that Kastle has noticed during his travels is that lots of players seem to be so busy at the tables that they only see their hotel room and the casino and never get to experience the countries they travel to.
Kastle makes sure that is never the case for him.
“I usually get an apartment up to five kilometers away intentionally and I walk to the casino. I want to see the neighborhoods and get a feel for what’s going on. I just want to see the area.”
I don’t see the point in travelling five to ten thousand miles to some spot and then staying in a hotel where the tournament is and taking the elevator back and forth and eating at the food court.”
“Then who cares if you are in Melbourne, Paris, Chicago or Goa, India. What’s the difference if you are just at the casino?”
Memories More Important Than Results
Even when Kastle posts good poker results, he says they aren’t the memories he holds onto.
“In 2008 I went to the Philippines and I did good in a main event, but I hated the city, the pollution, the traffic and the fact everyone has a shot gun. But after the tournament I went to this beautiful old island and spent two weeks in paradise.”
“Even though I did good in the poker, it’s the great experiences I have that I remember.”
Despite Kastle mostly travelling for pleasure and not poker, his experiences in some countries does sometimes have a direct correlation with his results.
“At APPT Seoul a few years ago in March I got a ride back and forth to the tournament every day and never saw a blue sky. It was just a haze and everything was grey because of the dust being blown in from the desert in China.”
“Then in the poker room there were slot machines everywhere and 300 people smoking all around you. Inside 300 cigarettes, outside dust. I got horribly sick.”
“Would I go back and play poker in Seoul in March? No, I won’t.”
Kastle really just doesn’t understand how other players base their decisions on travelling entirely on the value of a tournament. His equation on deciding where to play poker is simple.
Poker the Same All Around the World
“Safety and security are number one and then a healthy environment and enjoyable situation is number two. So to go somewhere because there is maybe a slightly better mathematical edge in some poker games? That’s not enough for me.”
Considering that Kastle is around 10 flags ahead of the next most prolific unique country casher on the Hendon Mob, it’s not likely his record will be broken any time soon.
Keeping the record isn’t a priority for Kastle anyway and it doesn’t seem like he will ever change his refreshing outlook on travelling and compromise for what is ultimately just a game.
“Poker is just a card game, it’s the same no matter where you go. The tables look like this, chips look like this and the cards are the same.”
“People might have a different accent, but poker’s not very different whether it’s Korea or Australia.”