The late author Thomas Wolfe wrote a novel (it was published after his death in 1940) called You Can’t Go Home Again. In that book, a writer tells the tales of his hometown – warts and all – and bears the brunt of scorn from those he used to live amongst. In essence, Wolfe was lamenting the passage of time which meant that, although your past might be there in physical form, you cannot return to the “way it was.” Former poker professional McLean Karr and his wife, the former Tatjana Pasalic, are proving Wolfe’s adage wrong, however.

From the Bright Lights…Back to the Farm

Journalist Kimberly Dupps Truesdale of the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette ran down the former poker professional and one of the top presenters in the world of poker at their home in Fort Wayne, IN. The duo recounted how they met (originally Pasalic had a “no dating” of players rule; Karr “bent” that rule over a tapas dinner in Madrid) and, after their wedding, Karr’s decision to leave the world of poker. According to Dupps Truesdale, Karr and Pasalic bought the home in Fort Wayne, Karr’s hometown, sight unseen one year ago and have been making their lives there since then.

Neither seems very upset that they have left the world of poker. For Karr, he had been working with the World Poker Tour and Pasalic would be traipsing around the world with her anchoring work for several poker outlets. But when a position opened up with a Fort Wayne company, Franklin Electric, Karr applied and got the job. Pasalic was more than happy to exchange “The Road” for a more sedate life in Indiana.

Pasalic made her own inroads into the Fort Wayne community. Born and raised in Croatia, Pasalic found work with a local business, Joseph Decuis (a farm that hosts a restaurant and books different conferences, meetings and weddings). With the farm, Pasalic says she is working pretty much any job she’s asked to do. “It’s difficult…(but) time flies. It’s fun,” Pasalic states.

How Has Their Lives Changed?

Both Karr and Pasalic have seen massive changes to their lives in the past few years, not only with their marriage but also with their lifestyles.

Karr was one of the top poker players in the game. His first recorded cash was in a preliminary event at the L. A. Poker Classic in 2008 and his first title came later that year at another preliminary tournament at one of the Venetian DeepStack Extravaganza schedules. In 2010, Karr made his breakthrough on the World Poker Tour, earning his first major championship at the Bay 101 Shooting Stars and capturing a $878,500 payday. He then became a staple in High Roller tournaments, winning several of the tournaments back when they were first gaining attention.

After that, however, Karr began to run into some tougher times on the felt. After seeing six- and seven-figures in tournament winnings from 2010-2012, Karr wouldn’t crack six-figures from 2013 on (including a blank year in 2015). After earning only $15,000 in 2016, Karr went to work for the WPT, despite having cashed in 56 events in his career and racking up $2.4 million over his shortened career.

Pasalic basically built her career in poker from her sheer drive and determination. She used every bit of her savings to basically hit the major tournament poker circuits, such as the European Poker Tour and the World Series of Poker, as a blogger. Her knowledge of the game and the players would earn her anchor duties with the WPT, on the Sky Poker TV network and would, in 2015, bring Pasalic to the WSOP as a sideline reporter.

Now, the Karr family is happy to be around Indiana. According to Dupps Truesdale, they often host Karr’s parents for dinner at their home and “(have) unexpected enthusiasm that they are building a life in Fort Wayne.” With their happiness evident from the Dupps Truesdale interview, perhaps McLean and Tatjana Karr and demonstrating that they are the exception to the Wolfe rule regarding “going home again.”

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