HomeBlogRadiant poker enthusiasts: The transformed life of Randy Ohel.

Radiant poker enthusiasts: The transformed life of Randy Ohel.

Posted on 21.06.2023 Posted Under: News

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Poker can be a grueling journey when the negative aspects of variance become prominent, particularly when the downturn hits extreme levels. At times, taking a break from poker, either completely or partially, can have a transformative effect on one’s life outlook and appreciation for the game. Randy Ohel can attest to this. The formidable mixed-games player took a hiatus from poker following a couple of challenging years in 2021 and 2022, when his sporadic successes were overshadowed by numerous tournaments and cash games that didn’t go his way.

Ohel has been a consistent figure in mixed-games events at the WSOP for over fifteen years. He won a bracelet in 2012 in a 2-7 lowball triple draw, has a few second-place finishes among many deep runs, and has accumulated over $2 million in winnings at the WSOP alone.

However, as he has confessed, he was noticeably dispirited during the 2022 WSOP as his slump continued. What transpired next, according to him, is that he distanced himself from poker and ventured into the “real world,” where he found himself healthier and happier, and now enjoys poker — on a part-time basis — more than ever.

Here’s how Ohel narrated the story of his life’s unexpected twist:

“I had been contemplating for a few years that I needed to explore something else,” Ohel shared with PokerOrg. “So, after the WSOP of 2022, I spent the next six months engaging in activities like online boot camps and the like, to enhance my technical skills. I consulted with people about where my skill set could be most effectively utilized in the real world.

“After completing the boot camps, I began job hunting, and I applied to over a hundred jobs. I told my wife that with my unique resume, the moment I found someone who looked at my resume and expressed interest in interviewing me, I believed I had a good shot at securing the job. I assumed that getting the interview would be the most challenging part, but I got the job at the first interview I attended.

“I am currently employed by a company called Red Dog Media, and I am extremely happy there. It’s a wonderful company to work for. And it’s just seven minutes from my home! My role is essentially that of a data analyst in a search-engine marketing company.”

Was this the correct decision for a former full-time poker player? For Ohel, there’s absolutely no doubt. “Firstly, I’m the happiest I’ve ever been in my entire life,” he stated. “I wasn’t sure if I would enjoy being the type of person who has a job, but it seems I’ve adapted to it quite naturally. I would also mention that, except for the present company, my company does an excellent job of hiring, and every day I get to work with a group of intelligent, kind people… I look forward to going in every day.

“I believe the most significant difference between poker and having a real job, from a mental standpoint, is being part of a team at work. Being surrounded by people who want you to succeed and whom you want to succeed. It’s much healthier mentally and better for me than the ruthless world of poker, so to speak.”

The new equilibrium in Ohel’s life includes his company’s support when he wishes to participate in a poker tournament occasionally. “They’re very accommodating when it comes to me participating in a few WSOP events this summer. What I’ve been doing is leaving work an hour early when I want to play a tournament, then informing my supervisor at the end of the night if I need to take the next day off.”

Ohel was enjoying one of those specialdays off when he had a conversation with PokerOrg, while making a deep run in a $1,500 H.O.R.S.E. event. “I sent a brief message at one in the morning and marked my calendar as ‘Out of Office.'”

Limiting the “grind” factor also has its own advantages, Ohel acknowledged. “It certainly improves my mood. I’m not sure if it enhances my gameplay or anything of that sort. I’ve heard some people suggest that individuals with a job [outside of poker] play better. I can’t confirm if that’s true, but I can say I’m having more fun being a hobbyist player than I was as a professional. A few people have mentioned that I appeared quite downcast and defeated last year. I wasn’t aware it was that noticeable until everyone started commenting on how much happier I seem this year.”