Friday, 13 December 2013

Escaping the British Winter

As the weather in England to continues to decline and the nights seem to get endlessly darker, I've found myself in a very fortunate spot to be heading for warmer climates again this year through mid-December through to early February.

One of my very close friends, Rishabh, who was one of my housemates during university is getting married in Bombay next week and I've been lucky enough with a friend to be invited to his wedding. He didn't have to ask me twice, as soon as he mentioned it I was immediately checking out the first flights over to India in December. I've never been to an Indian wedding before, so I'm not entirely sure what to expect but I do know it's a multi-day event spreading over 7 days so I'm sure there'll be lot's of good food and alcohol involved in the mix. This will be my second trip to India and it's definitely one of the countries which has left a lasting impression on me. Everything from the culture, the climate, the people and of course the food is like nothing I'd ever witnessed before. It's not an ideal holiday destination for everyone, but if you have an adventurous side and are open for new experiences, I couldn't recommend the country anymore. It honestly feels to me like stepping into a different world. Hopefully I'll have some great stories and photos to share in a future blog entry.

After the weeks wedding celebrations in Mumbai, I'll be heading to the beaches of Goa to spend the last few days of the year sipping beers and chilling in the sun. That does mean I'll be spending my second year in a row away from family on Christmas day which definitely has its downsides but a sacrifice I'm currently very happy to take.

Directly after the Indian trip I'll be heading to the other side of the world to participate in the Pokerstars Caribbean Adventure, which could well be my favourite stop on the poker tour all year. I went 2 years ago and it was amazing. The poker schedule looks amazing for it and I've sold a fairly large package including lots of side events. I'm hoping that I can add a few more Bahamas flags to my hendon mob on the trip, but even if it all goes horribly wrong on the poker front, there are far worse places to be stranded for a week in the world!

Finally, in late January and early February I'll be jetting off to Vancouver for a ski trip to Whistler with a big group of friends. I love skiing, it's definitely among my top hobbies and I hear the Whistler resort is one of the best in the world. I'm debating getting an instructor to tackle some of the more challenging off-piste runs available at the resort. There's something about off-pisting which has always drawn me despite the obvious dangers associated with it. The feeling of going through fresh powder no-one else has skiied down is one of the greatest feelings and often the adrenalin of whizzing down slopes coupled with amazing scenery gives you such a rush almost unmatched anywhere else. Oh, and you can't flick in a trip to North America without a cheeky detour via Vegas on the way home of course!

So a very busy, hopefully fun, probably expensive few months coming up!

As far as the poker's concerned, things have been going pretty decently lately. No huge scores but nothing catastrophic either. I managed to get supernova on pokerstars for the first time this past week which is somewhat of an achievement for me. Prior to 2013 I'd never really played that much on stars, always tending more towards the lower variance, smaller fields on the euro sites. These days though I feel that large parts of the pokerstars schedule are pretty unmissable for a mid-stake MTT grinder like myself. I plan on keeping up my stars volume heading into 2014 and hopefully if the stars align can land myself with a few decent scores on there once I'm settled back in England again in the spring.

On the live front, things have been relatively quiet recently. With so much travelling going on in the next few months I fancied some more time at home to spend playing online and seeing my girlfriend and hanging with my other non-poker friends in Nottingham. This all changed when the UKIPT rolled into town a couple of weeks ago which was certainly an experience. I somewhat naievely decided that my new bungalow that I'm living in is more the size of a mansion than it actually is, so after inviting 6-7 people round to crash at mine during the series, only on the first night when everyone arrived did we start to realise there may be somewhat of a logistical problem. And so the Nottingham poker homeless shelter was established! At least temporarily... Even though everyone was huddled together slightly more than we all had planned it was great to have so many friends staying at mine for the week with the highlight being Jon Spinks using some of the house run-good and shipping the £2k high-roller with Mickey Peterson coming in a close 3rd. Represent guys!

For me personally, I just played the £1100 6-max main event. Whilst it was a ton of fun, I didn't get much going in the tournament and sizzled out on the last level of day 1. To everyone's somewhat surprise there was an overlay on the £500k prizepool that Pokerstars guaranteed. Whether that be due to the 6-max nature of the event not attracting as many players, the tournament just coming up to Christmas which is always a difficult time for families financially or that there were less satelittes due to the huge promotions Pokerstars were offering for the previous stop on the tour in the Isle of Man. Most likely it was a combination of all the factors. Huge props to Pokerstars though who after acknowledging the overlay immediately sent press releases out advertising the next seasons stop in Nottingham boasting an enormous £1million guaranteed prize pool. Perhaps the Nottingham poker player homeless shelter will open it's doors once again in April for this event...that's if I haven't put everyone off staying at mine in the meantime!

With that all said, I'll be using my travels over the next few weeks to really evaluate my year and set my focus and goals on what I want to achieve in 2014 and where I will want to be.

 Here's hoping for big things in the future.

Merry Xmas and a Happy New Year and of course good luck at the tables!