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Old 04-28-2015, 04:33 AM   #1
Tannhauser
 
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From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Hey everyone!

I am Ivan. I was born and grew up in Moscow, Russia, and now live in Europe splitting time, for the most part, between Prague, Warsaw and Vienna.

A few years back I used to regularly play PLO $200-600, however, for over four years now I have been involved in professional staking and developing various poker-related projects.

Here are some of them:
- MTTMarket.com - a staking platform, cornerstone of which is an assessment of each player who places a staking offer. [Link to a TwoPlusTwo thread]
- 2CardsCollege.com - the largest poker school in the Russian-speaking community (over 100 students enrolled), currently expanding into the international realm. [Link to a TwoPlusTwo thread]
- Backing Fund - a large staking fund, offering staking to players on comfortable conditions. During its existence, we have already managed to work with over 400 players. [Link to a TwoPlusTwo thread]

I will be writing about these ventures in corresponding threads. In this blog I will write about my personal matters and topics that have become the basis for my similar blog in Russian language and have made it one of the most popular blogs in Russian poker community.

Thus, the main topics for this blog will be:

1) The Theory of Staking
Surprisingly enough, this topic is almost untouched in the poker world from the theoretical perspective. Most of the people purchasing stakes constantly do it with a large negative mathematical expectation. Many of them do not understand the math of staking, however, they are willing to buy any offer on any conditions from any player with a total profit of $200K+.

2) Arts
Literature, visual arts, music, theater, cinematography – these are my hobbies, and I devote a lot of time to write about them in my Russian blog.

3) Business
Prior to starting the projects mentioned above, for several years, I had been an investment manager for one of the investment funds that specialized in investing into internet-related projects, and had been involved directly in management of different internet companies.

4) Life in Russia
Generally, in my Russian blog, I write about life in Europe, since that is what interests my readers there the most. However, I presume that here the topic of Russia will be more intriguing for you. So, please do not hesitate to ask questions.

5) Traveling
I love traveling and do it quite often, for the most part around Europe. I will be posting photos from various trips here.

Here goes!
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Old 04-28-2015, 10:35 AM   #2
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

link to russian blog?
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Old 04-28-2015, 12:50 PM   #3
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

[link deleted, sorry]

Enjoy

Last edited by niss; 04-29-2015 at 11:56 PM.
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Old 04-29-2015, 11:55 PM   #4
niss
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

sorry you can't link to an outside blog, even if it's written with some funny looking letters
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Old 04-30-2015, 12:16 AM   #5
spaceman Bryce
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

I have a lot of relatives in prague, we may be related op!
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:13 AM   #6
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by niss View Post
sorry you can't link to an outside blog, even if it's written with some funny looking letters
Even with Church Slavic letters?


Sorry, I'll keep that in mind for the future. Be sure, no more links will get posted.
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Old 04-30-2015, 07:47 AM   #7
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Being in Prague, you quickly develop a peculiar skill.

When you get to the tourist area of the town on business, the crowd immediately picks you up: some tipsy Englishmen attempt to hug you, shills invite you to some disgusting tourist concert at the cathedral, dear compatriots accost you with questions on how to find Dior and Hermes boutiques (yep, this happened just yesterday), black dealers on Wenceslas Square attempt to sell you weed, a bunch of overexcited people dash between shops and pubs, and your primary goal is now to get out of this whirlpool as soon as possible.

In one year of living in Prague I’ve managed to develop this skill to a highly advanced level. My personal routes include not the cathedrals and towers, but deserted streets, arches and gates that allow me to inconspicuously abandon the old town and find myself in Prague that I love.

Don’t get me wrong, the Prague’s center is gorgeous, and I don’t find it difficult to explain to a desperate lady where to find a dear to her heart Dior (you can’t imagine how her eyes lit up with happiness!), however, the atmosphere of a tourist rollercoaster and total wasting gets exhausting very fast and you long to leave this celebration of life and dive into the “other” Prague, the one that you would feel in tune with, to blend with it and sink.

I am always astonished that tourists cannot find the strength to abandon this well-equipped reservation, and yet the city is beautiful where it lives its own life, at its own rhythm, and is not a squeezing-money-out-of-tourists machine.

One of my favorite portals is located in at the end of Wenceslas Square. You walk just bare 100 yards and find yourself in a completely different world.



Quiet Square




There no shills or tourist-oriented restaurants here.




Some of the showcases remind you Soviet Union (there are a lot of these in Vienna, as well)




The architecture is breathtaking.




Calmness and grace.




One very distinct feature: two identical houses are painted different colors.




In general, things are like this.




Winter decoration of a balcony.




Occasionally you encounter unusual views of the city.




Let’s get closer.




Elementary school building.




Soon after he estates show up.




Impressive.




Prague – that’s the way she is.

Last edited by Tannhauser; 04-30-2015 at 07:58 AM.
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Old 04-30-2015, 08:19 AM   #8
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Looking forward to more posts from you, will be a great thread.

I am also an eastern european, living, working & studying in Vienna and of course, playing poker.

Tomorrow I am heading out for Prague for a couple of nights so I'll definitely take your advice on that whole subject.

I take it you don't play poker anymore?

Cheers
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Old 04-30-2015, 02:11 PM   #9
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ac3play View Post
Looking forward to more posts from you, will be a great thread.

I am also an eastern european, living, working & studying in Vienna and of course, playing poker.

Tomorrow I am heading out for Prague for a couple of nights so I'll definitely take your advice on that whole subject.

I take it you don't play poker anymore?

Cheers
Hello, thank you for kind words.

Your question is quite general. What are you interested in? Jazz, opera, beer, walking around the city? How long will you stay in Prague for?
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Old 04-30-2015, 02:20 PM   #10
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Oh, I meant what you said about the places frequented by tourists vs the less frequented areas.

But to answer your question,
I like jazz a lot, will have to try the beer there and I want to walk around a lot. Will be there for 3 days.

Thanks!
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Old 05-01-2015, 03:15 AM   #11
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.



The park continues all the way down.




Same park.




Prague is the record holder for the number of remarkable views.




A palace.



Summer galleries.




A young man overestimated his strength.




More estates.




It starts getting dark.




“Cinema café”. A pretty stupid setup: a bunch of men drink beer and stare at some second-rate movies about special agents. This is something very much Czech.




Street.


A lot of very interesting architecture.




Everything shown on the photographs above is located in a tiny area that you can walk through in a half hour.
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Old 05-01-2015, 03:19 AM   #12
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

i like your pics. keep it up
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Old 05-01-2015, 03:58 AM   #13
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ac3play View Post
Oh, I meant what you said about the places frequented by tourists vs the less frequented areas.

But to answer your question,
I like jazz a lot, will have to try the beer there and I want to walk around a lot. Will be there for 3 days.

Thanks!
Beer:

http://www.u3r.cz/en is my favourite one.
http://www.umedvidku.cz/index.php/en/ is also great.

Jazz (my choice):

01 May

It seems to be very unusual.
http://www.agharta.cz/index.php?p=index&site=agharta_en

02 May / 03 May
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=zP-bYbiiHKc
http://www.agharta.cz/index.php?p=index&site=agharta_en

02 May

Not bad blues.
http://www.jazzdock.cz/en/programme

All events: http://www.pragueticketoffice.com/events/jazz/
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Old 05-01-2015, 04:42 AM   #14
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ac3play View Post
Oh, I meant what you said about the places frequented by tourists vs the less frequented areas.
My favorite districts:



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Old 05-01-2015, 11:54 AM   #15
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Wow great!! Will check some of these out, depends on my friends.
Just had lunch at Lokál in old town. Food was great and also there are a lot of local people here.

Thanks a lot for the tips!!

Have a nice weekend!
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Old 05-02-2015, 04:24 AM   #16
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Quote:
Originally Posted by ac3play View Post
Wow great!! Will check some of these out, depends on my friends.
Just had lunch at Lokál in old town. Food was great and also there are a lot of local people here.

Thanks a lot for the tips!!

Have a nice weekend!
Thank you, enjoy your holiday!
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Old 05-02-2015, 06:57 AM   #17
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

GL Ivan on this forum
U had made awesome work at russian poker community !!
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Old 05-11-2015, 08:37 AM   #18
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Budapest is the most underrated European city.




A fairy-tale city.




It’s so nice here.




Budapest is an amazing city.

If I were asked to rate European capitals in terms of best places to live, it would definitely take the last place. Nevertheless, I think that Budapest is by far the best place for hanging out with friends or taking lone walks.

If you are traveling to Europe for the first time, I would be inclined to recommend you Prague, Paris, or Barcelona. In any other case, go to Budapest.

It is an amazing city, miracle-city, fairy-tale city.

For the longest time I could not gather my thoughts and write this first post – there is so much that I want to say, that I cannot come up with any good way to organize the ideas. Probably, it is because that the city itself lacks any kind of structure, there is no mainstream idea about it that could be expressed in a few sentences.

This is a city of incredible contrasts, relieves, textures.

Luxury here overlaps with poverty and filthiness. Wild nightlife is accompanied by the worst wine in the world. Pest, pulsing with dynamic life, is balanced by serene, almost village-like, Buda, which is separated from it by just a five minute walk across any of the bridges. Ultimate Europe meets Asia here. Walking along a quiet little street at four in the morning, you turn into some gateway between two buildings and plunge into a real whirlpool with jazz, gypsies and the weed. Come out on the other side of this gateway and you end up in the neighborhood filled with aristocratic mansions. Every other tree here blossoms with heavenly pink flowers; every other bench is occupied with a homeless person.

---



Just like in Prague, most of the architecture in Budapest belongs to the period when city was part of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. However, unlike Prague, there are almost structures here from the prior periods – the city was completely destroyed in 1686 after Austria liberated it from Turkey.



The city consists of two parts: valley-bound Pest, located on the east bank of Danube, and rocky Buda, outspread on the hills to the west of the river.
Most of the municipal buildings, interesting streets, cultural institutions, museum, nightclubs and restaurants are located in Pest. Nonetheless, affluent residents of the city prefer Buda.



These two parts of the city are two completely different worlds. I have spent most of my time in Pest, however, there will be some pictures from Buda, as well.



The city has a multitude of architectural gems.



The modern Budapest architecture is unique.



On the one hand, it inherited a lot from Viennese Jugendstil (which is not surprising – the leading Hungarian architects studied in Vienna). On the other hand, it is completely distinct, it includes influences from the East and the Balkans, wild mixture of colors, bravery of shapes.



Nowhere else you can find anything like this.



There is a bookstore in this building. The top floor features a café of an astounding beauty…



… which is, by the way, quite inexpensive.



The city is very bright and festive.



In terms of construction integrity and its “fairy-tale” qualities Budapest noticeable loses to Prague, this is easy to observe even in the most favorable bird’s-eye views. However, it decisively defeats Prague in the number of architectural gems of Art Nouveau period.

To be continued.

P.S. The photo of the cafe interior is not mine, got it from http://itthon.hu/
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:34 AM   #19
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Just came across this, the house of blogs section doesn't have a lot of traffic. Count me in as a follower.
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Old 05-23-2015, 05:59 PM   #20
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Yeah, I feel like good blogs should be promoted in NVR or MTT Community
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Old 08-12-2015, 08:24 AM   #21
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Hello everyone!

After some delay, let's return to our walks around Budapest. So, you are walking along the street in the downtown, not bothering anyone, checking out the little houses:



OMG, What is that?



Some weird fences and czech hedgehogs.



Some security checkpoints, traffic lights and the gates just like in the high security prison.
And all this is located in the main city square.



No kidding, half of the square and some nearby streets are blocked by some ugly looking fences and chains.



You can’t really enjoy all the beauty of the city behind all that.



And what is it all about?
Thats right, it's about the USA embassy.



If you are walking around a European city downtown and see the ugly fences shamelessly blocking parts of the streets or any other attributes of the military base or secret prison, you shall know - yankees are in town.

The area is often covered by different kinds of litter. For example these construction trailers have been here for at least two years. They probably symbolize the first step towards the American dream.



In that case, they could have built somethinig more “poetic”:



Maybe a local baron Hausseman must be hired here in Budapest? He could destroy the ugly fences, clean the litter and surround building with something more exquisite, if having a fence is that important?

By the way, in this respect the americans could learn something from us.

Here it the Mikhailovski Garden fence in Saint-Petersburg:



And thi is the fence around the civil building in the Kropotkinski Alley in Moscow, designed by F. Schechtel.

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Old 08-14-2015, 04:31 AM   #22
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

I was in Budapest two years ago.
It became the most romantic city for me)))
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Old 08-20-2015, 03:29 PM   #23
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

I have already said many good things about Budapest and will to tell even more. But as I wrote earlier, Budapest is a city of contrasts, it is beautiful and ugly at the same time, and it's so much intertwined that it might be difficult to mention all the good in one article, and all the bad in the other, as some bloggers do. Besides, in general, the opinion on many things depends a lot on the point of view.

Therefore I am going to tell you tell you why I would not live in Budapest. What will be written below is not the list of claims or renovation to-do list, but rather a subjective view of the potential resident.

First and foremost, as I have already written, the Hungarian language is very difficult to learn, but that is not even the most important thing. Studying the Czech and Polish languages, I discover for myself the world of Slavic languages. For example, now I am capable of reading in Croatian, in Bulgarian, Slovak and so on without any preparation. Half of the globe speaks Spanish and Portuguese. German and French are the languages of the European culture, each of them opens up an endless world of personalities and texts, that are significant for more than one country. I do not even mention English. The Hungarian language is focused on itself, it doesn't have a big family around the world, (the closest are the languages ​​of the Khanty and Mansi), and the learning of it does not give any extension into any other language or culture, nor provides the entrance into any wider community outside Hungary.

Secondly, at this time Hungary is experiencing political events that I would describe as alarming.

Here are few quotations:

Last summer, the Prime Minister has caused outrage in Brussels, announcing an effort to build an "illiberal state based on national foundations" - just as Russia, China and Turkey.
(c) Source

We will build the anti-liberal state where there is no place for the liberals
(c) Source

And to sum up, the words, belong to an unknown author:

But the fact that Orban wanted to expropriate land from non-Hungarian landowners, smells a little bit fascistic. (c)

I'm not ready to be responsible for the accuracy of Orban's quotes, but that is what I've heard from the locals, who I had a chance to talk to and they say that the vector of the mentioned quotes is right. Also, I wouldn't like to discuss Russian choices in this direction, but I would rather find living in such a state uncomfortable, especially when I'm a part of the risk group, as a foreigner.

Thirdly, the city is poor, and it is immediately noticeable. I am engaged in business, and it is an important factor for me.

Fourthly, the city has very badly organized urban environment.

There are cities convenient for the pedestrians, such as Barcelona. There are cities where the pedestrians live a difficult life, let's say, Berlin, but the drivers recline (yes, I love Berlin crossroads, where the street is crossed in two steps, as the green light is on for 5 seconds only). Then, there are cities like Vienna, where everything is well-balanced (although driving is expensive there, but what to do).

And there are cities, such as Budapest or Moscow. Where it is bad for everyone.

I was sure that I was cheated by the taxi drivers, who were constantly choosing the longest route. Today I have driven around the city on my own. Nope, traffic scheme is so disgusting that the route from the point A to point B is almost always associated with large overruns. The city is in a state of permanent traffic jams (though not as bad as Moscow gridlocks), while the pedestrians constantly face the inconvenience in the way: wider streets are poorly arranged, there is a long wait for the green light, disgusting navigation and so on.

Fifthly, the city is not stylish. This refers to both: people, shop windows and some other things. Here I will not write any more comments - it's a matter of taste. Perhaps someone thinks that the billboards on the roof are normal, and the windows may look like in the picture from the previous article about the city.

Sixthly, the city is very filthy. There is a homeless on every second bench! Do not tell me about Paris, it is way cleaner and there are much fewer homeless people around.



This is the center of the city, a typical pattern. There are urine marks everywhere on the walls and pavement. (excuse me for not taking the pictures).



And this is how they fight with it.



Does not help much.



And here is one of the most beautiful places of Budapest, a rock on the bank of Danube. The exact center. Next to the biggest attractions of the city.



At the foot of the cliff a hobo organized himself a hobo amusement park. There is a half-meter blade in his hands, that he throws to the ground, accompanying it all with some muttering.

The police and the city government are not interested at all in any of this. It is evident that the problem of the homeless is completely bypassed and ignored, moreover it can not be solved at once.

This is not only unpleasant (haven't ever seen every second city corner stinking of urine anywhere else), but in general, it describes the attitude of citizens and municipal authorities to their city.

So, if you like a sugar sweet Europe with neatly laid tiles, full of cleanliness and order, it is better to choose another destination for traveling. This is not so important for me during the vacation, I value cities for other things, but I definitely will never live in Budapest.
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Old 08-27-2015, 01:03 PM   #24
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Lets continue sorting out pictures from Budapest.



Most of the courtyards of the houses in the city center look like that. It's amazing.



The shared balconies lead to the entrances of the most apartments.



You can also find many fountains and interesting sculptural ensembles in some patios.



Still life: champagne and cider mixed with shampoos and detergents.



A very nice southern house.



The front group is remarkable.



But if you move for about 100 meters you can find yourself in the dump with the bodies on top of the garbage piles.



On the benches in the Andrassy Avenue (one of the main streets of the city) homeless have their rest. There was some parade that day so the police stopped near every bench and asked homeless to sit up. That show was amusing.



Showcase of the Syrian restaurant was covered with the portraits of Assad and Putin. I did not understand what it was all about.



Streets are being renamed actively.



There are a lot of tattoo parlors and tattooed people in the city. Sometimes it's is harder to find a bakery than a tattoo parlor.

And also people here love to drive with an opened window, putting one hand out, just like in Dagestan. This is especially annoying in a taxi. Nobody switches air conditioning on, only opened window even if it's +30 C (+86 F) outside.



The street near the Opera. Where do you think that welcoming door at the corner leads to? A fitness center!



Here is one more amazing Budapest detail, there is no such thing anywhere else. The gym is sure to be located in every tenth house in the city center. Not a luxury one but whatever, with 1-2 rooms full of simple machines and iron. I counted about six such gyms near our house.



Here's another room. Windows are open, as always. British tourists from the neighboring hotel consistently came to spy at the working out ladies.



Police force

Last edited by Tannhauser; 08-27-2015 at 01:09 PM.
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Old 08-28-2015, 10:44 PM   #25
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Re: From Russia with Love: Poker & Arts & Business.

Very interesting pictures Ivan!

I've lived in Budapest for 2-3 years now and can't see myself moving. Admittedly I very rarely go out from the centre of the city (districts 4-6) and understand that poverty is ripe outside the main city but within the main city centre I think it's a great place to live.

Regarding the homeless people they definitely used to be a problem but recently the government made a new law that were literally expelled from districts 4-6 (Andrassy like on your picture) so they have became a very small problem.

Regarding traffic, I would literally have zero idea, Budapest has, without doubt, the best public transport system I've ever seen in a major city. I, nor my friends have ever driven here simply because you can get to anywhere you want to go to very quickly, very easily and very cheaply.

Safety in budapest is also great. I have never seen one fight, arrest or any other criminal activity in my time living here. I feel extremely safe walking through the streets at any time of the day (or night).

Yes, Budapest is not a rich city. The average wage is very low but for me that is perfect, I work online so my relative cost of living is very good. It's also very easy to find good, reliable people to work for you. I get 4 good quality meals delivered to me every single day from a good chef and somehow it only costs me €300 (including the food price!) personal trainers, yoga teachers, private chefs, assistants etc are all very easy to find at high quality and low cost. Despite it not being a rich city, people really take care of themselves and want to look good etc (hence all the pictures of the gyms )

Admittedly the new political system is a worry. For me it is not a short term problem but depending on how it developed I could see it being one of the only reasons why I would want to live here.

In terms of Budapest being bad for somebody who wants to do business I coudltn disagree more. If you want to work online then it's a cheap place with great airport close to the city centre and fantastic Internet. If you want to do offline stuff there is also a lot of opportunities with generally weak opposition.

Let me know next time you come to visit and I can invite you to my bar!
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