I say set it back in the day. Some of the stories you read from Doyle Brunson, driving around Texas
from game to game, potentially getting robbed on the road, or walking into fixed games.
Bit of sports betting on the side, plus some weird games random people approach you with between your regular games, where you need to figure out if youre getting the right odds to give it a go or if youre being suckered. One story ive read comes to mind where a whale approached Doyle and a mate, 5 card draw, paying 2 to 1, where if the whale didnt like his hand hed have the opportunity to throw it away and play a new hand. Youd have to try and figure the odds, plus the general poor/good play of the opponent that youve gained info from your travels on the harsh Texas circuit. You know, stuff like that.
Make it like FIFA, you can "generate" a game youve arrived at, or play it all, or maybe even just do a half generate half play style.
RPG elements come into play when youre being robbed too, you can buy a gun on the way to defend yourself, or pay some rake from the game for security. Along the 'getting robbed' lines you can elect to hide some of your role in your shoe, however a random generator within the game activates every so often, and depending on the generator you lose a % or all of your stack from keeping it in your shoe.
Sorry Ive blabbed a bit, I like this concept, have a million more ideas rolling around in my head