I’m off to Panama from the 11th-21st March for the PokerStars Championship!
I’ve been to-ing and fro-ing for weeks debating whether or not I should go, but today I finally took the plunge and booked my rather reasonable £405 return flight from Malaga.
I’m traveling by myself as I’m the only guy I know who is actually willing to organize a holiday around a few Poker tournaments. Most of my friends would rather travel to have time on a beach or see some sites. Looking at it from their perspective I do suppose it is a bit odd to want to travel 16hours to a new continent just to sit in a casino folding your holidays away. However it is something I enjoy and actually gives me reason to travel to new places. Otherwise I may have just traveled back to rainy England and ‘wasted’ my time off.
Its not the first time I’ve traveled for poker by myself. I’ve traveled down the coast to Marbella over the last couple of years, as well as taking a short plane trip to Barcelona and a slightly longer flight to Prague – all for EPT events. None have proved very fruitful. Barcelona was particularly painful as I bubbled the Estrella’s High Roller Satellite and decided to enter directly on sheer stubbornness. Needless to say it proved to be an error as I got caught bluffing 6 hours in and crashed out with King High.
That however wasn’t as embarrassing as last years Marbella event.
I had entered the 1100Euro Estrellas main event and was doing very well after about 5 hours of play. I had made a couple of decent plays and even managed to call someones bluff with Ace high to scoop a big pot. I was feeling quietly confident for the first time on the live tournament scene that I’d reach Day 2 of the event and I decided to relax a bit and order a Pizza to the table. This proved to be a big error. I was one bite into my 12″ nightmare when I got dealt KK v AA on a low board and ended up going out the very next hand. I had to navigate myself out of the tournament hall with the cheesy mistake past hundreds of onlookers and eat it in the corner by myself. I don’t think I’m exaggerating here but I equate that walk to the one Cersei did in Game of Thrones. All I could hear in my head was ‘Shame’ over and over. Amplified by the fact I had left the table before the waiter could bring me back my change, I will never ever order food to a poker table again.
I’m hoping for a more positive experience in Panama. To be honest I’d settle for anything that involves me not embarrassing myself.
I’ll be staying in Hotel Occidental in Panama City. It seems good value for money and I think it’s in walking distance to the casino. Panama has a bad reputation for safety so I may just end up Taxiing it while I’m there anyway just to be safe. I’ll make a judgement call while I’m there.
First tournament on the agenda will most likely be day 1B of the PokerStars National Championship (30 min levels) on the 12th March – $1100 entry. Ideally I would play day 1A (60min levels) on the 11th but I couldn’t get the necessary time off from work to fly a day earlier. From there, depending on how I do I’ll no doubt play in a variety of other tournaments and hit a few cash tables. Still undecided on which to go for, but I can cross that bridge when I come to it.
Full schedule is here for anyone who is interested. There definitely seems to be enough going on to keep me busy.
One month away. I best start practicing my poker-face.