Living and grinding in Cambodia

September has been a good month for me so far. I had my worst personal losing session in my life, but immediately the next session thankfully I bounced back with my biggest win ever. But I’ll leave that for my monthly postmortem as we still have 2 weeks of the month to go.

Many people asked me about living in Cambodia. If you told me that one day I would be playing poker professionally in Cambodia I would never have believed it. Cambodia does not come across as a poker destination and if you haven’t been here before, you might have a negative image of the place. But in just a short few months, I have adapted well to life here and have accepted it as my home for now.

evening walk near Nagaworld casino after poker

Cost of living in Cambodia is higher than I first imagined, but I guess due to the influx of mainland Chinese business people, it has raised the living standard of Phnom Penh but also the costs as well. If you don’t mind the traffic, a decent studio would cost about USD 600 (including utilities) but if you stay close to the casino area, expect to pay about USD 1000 a month. If you think about how most locals live, and how much they earn (average salary about USD 250), it is super expensive. Just take the average salary of your city and times that by 4 and you’ll get the idea.

Food is also quite expensive. But if you’re like me and like to cook, it can be somewhat lowered. Eating out costs about USD 5-10 per meal but if you cook at home then it is maybe USD 3-5 per meal depending on your ingredients of course. If you followed my recent posts, I am trying to lose weight so it has been mostly a low-fat, high fiber diet for me. I play futsal twice a week now and try to squeeze in some evening strolls by the riverside. Also I have completely stopped having supper at games. No more late night munchies and surprisingly I can fight off the urge.

buying vegetables in Phnom Penh

I don’t drink, I don’t club, I don’t party, I don’t smoke, so don’t ask me about night life in Phnom Penh. Anyways I am usually playing poker at night, if not I am pretty content with YouTube, or movies in bed or playing computer games. If you’re a night owl then you might find it disappointing. Plus I save a lot of money by not partaking. I would imagine it is pretty expensive here other than the local beers.

It’s really hard to describe Phnom Penh as it is somewhat a melting pot of cultures. Some buildings have obvious French influences and if you squint it does feel like you’re in Europe. Then there are Chinese enclaves that feels like old Guang Dong. Yesterday I took a stroll to the Korean embassy and that block felt like a block out of Myeongdong. If you go to a bit further, it has a typical Southeast Asian feel to it, like street food stalls and markets. So depending on where you live and spend most of your time, you will have a different feel of the city.

Would I stay here for the rest of my life? I would say no. But right now it serves a purpose. Hopefully I can build a good bankroll to either play bigger stakes somewhere else, or invest it into other things. Right now I don’t know what the next step is yet, but I am just plugging away, trying to enjoy every day of my life as it comes.