Robl Breaks Down After Explaining Fear of Failure in Poker

Long-time high-stakes grinder Andrew Robl has given a revealing interview about his life and rise through the poker ranks. Robl is one of the most familiar faces in the poker community known for both his online and live prowess.

By: Mark Patrickson

When Lee Davy begins by asking who is Andrew Robl today, the answer is not as exciting as what many might have hoped for. He is a married man who enjoys spending time with his family and dog. Simple pleasures in life are often the best.

Robl tells how he got into poker in much the same way as many did back during the poker boom - by watching World Series of Poker footage with his dad on ESPN during his early mid teens. By the time he was 17 or 18 already his skills were beginning to become apparent and already in his early twenties he was able to call himself a self-made millionaire. Quite a feat, even during that age of much softer games.

“I really like to play games... I started playing poker in high school with my friends, I got into it because it was a game.  Then the whole gambling element makes it more exciting. Sometimes games become repetitive but in gambling there’s so much chance that every day is different. You never know what’s going to happen.”

In the early days he was driven by an urge to travel and to buck the trend by escaping a life confined to a cubicle in an office. Like with many of us, it didn’t go smoothly at first and after a bad run he was forced to take a job as a janitor. This wasn’t the only normal job he had ever had but it did spur him with added motivation to escape it.

After returning full time to the felt Robl had another bad run, this time leaving him with $50K - $60K left in his bankroll and shattered confidence once more. An anxiety attack in an airport then prompted him to seek help from his good friend Phil Galfond before everything spiraled out of control. This led to renewed confidence and a firm belief that he was playing decent poker after all.

Robl and Davy discuss how people have preconceived notions about gambling in general, possibly because observing a professional poker player’s life choices makes them question their own in a way that makes them feel uncomfortable.

“It makes them start to question are they making the right choices in life? Is that really what they want to do?”

Robl reiterates that his choices have been down to a yearning for freedom. He mentions how he knows billionaires that had that same drive but are now crippled with a fear of failure. He too has struggled with this over his entire playing career and agrees with Davy that this is a double edged sword. It may drive you but it can also lead to an unhappy life. They add that money does not equal happiness and people must adapt their life fundamentals and always play for a purpose.

Seven minutes into the interview Robl actually begins to choke when he relives his experience of everybody in his life thinking he was crazy, even a madman, for wanting to dedicate his life to being a professional gambler. Many viewers have no doubt had the same experience from their own families.

Now financially secure enough to retire if he wanted, Robl plans to spend this year designing a new house with his wife, and the next few years, he hopes, will see the beginning of a new family.

The interview ends with Robl saying even now he is still learning about poker every day that he plays or studys because it is such a rich and deep game. This is the reason we all love it.

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