Wednesday, 16 January 2013

PCA 2013

Hello and Happy New year! :D

I know it's already the 16th of January so people are already done with wishing each other "Happy New Year", but this is the first post on my blog for 2013 so I thought it was appropriate!

And what better way to start a new year than taking some time off to go to the Bahamas? Well, that's sort of a lie, cause on January 2nd I was back at the tables and we only left for the Bahamas on the 5th, but whatever! I'll skip those couple days of work cause this post is all about vacation!

I was super excited for this trip. In case any of you are wondering I wasn't going to the Bahamas to play the main event of the PCA or any other event for that matter. André had his Team Online meeting there and he would spend a couple of days with work stuff, but other than that it would just be our week in paradise! We didn't go anywhere together in 2012 so I felt like those vacations were very much deserved.

To add to the excitement, on our way back we would have a one night stopover in New York. I think I was more happy about those 24 hours in NY than the week at the Bahamas to be honest, but anyway. Overall, it was a very promising week and I just couldn't wait for it to get started!

However, we got a pretty rough start when we boarded the plane in Lisbon and the captain announced that there was some problem with the 2nd engine. We waited in the plane for two hours before the problem was solved and then we had a 9 hours and 40 minutes flight ahead of us so... Loooots of time sitting around with not much to do. Eventually, we landed at Miami. We waited another half hour after it landed before they'd let us out. Just for the fun! Of course, since our flight was delayed and we still needed to clear through customs and all, we missed our flight to Nassau.

And that's when the downswing begins. To cut a long story short, Miami's airport is the most unorganized I've seen in my life. And I've been in quite a few. We were never able to find a transfer desk or anyone else to help us with rescheduling our flight. Eventually, we ended up playing some ping pong game between TAP (Portugal's airline company) and American Airlines. The game is fun, except when you are the ball. Oh, and I forgot to mention that American Airlines was on one end of the airport while TAP was on the far other side. Which was a 30 minutes walk. Maybe 20 if you're almost running. 

Somewhere in the long waiting lines, André grabbed coffee from Starbucks. I loooooooove my Starbucks and I don't get the chance to have it often in Lisbon. So, even though the situation was bad, we kept our spirits up and enjoyed our coffees. Highlight of the day? When we were walking/running to the next airline counter trying to see if we could still make it to Nassau when I tripped and fell flat on my face. I put one hand in front of me to cushion the fall and held the other one high to save the coffee. Talking about reflexes! I found the whole thing hilarious and just stayed there laughing on the floor of the airport. I got some tears in my eyes but I'm not sure if they were from laughing so hard or the pain in my hand. The important thing is both me and the coffee were fine so we kept on running!

Anyway, thanks to a nice lady from American Airlines that refused to help us and sent us over to TAP, we ended up missing the next flight to Nassau that day and were obligated to spend the night at a hotel in Miami, along with other misplaced passengers. I could go on and on about the troubles at the hotel, re-booking our flight or finding a way to get back to the airport, but that's more of the same so I'll fast forward a bit.

We got to the Bahamas with only 5 hours of sleep. I was obviously regretting my decision to not sleep on the night before our departure cause those 5 hours were all the sleep I'd gotten in two days. Yet surprisingly, we were finally at the Nassau airport. Guess what Pokerstars sent to pick us up...

...A limo! Nice touch, huh? Shorly after we arrived at Atlantis hotel and André was only like an hour late for his Team Online meeting. We checked in, he left for the meeting and I went to the room. We were staying at the Cove, one of Atlantis' most luxurious towers. The resort was great overall and the staff was very friendly. This was the second best hotel room I've stayed in, losing only to The Palms Place at Las Vegas (surprise, also booked by Pokerstars). Here are some photos of the room:

Complimentary bag to hit the beach!

View from the room

View from the room/ The Cove's private pools

Pretty awesome huh? The bed looked super inviting and since André was busy for the day I decided to take a nap. I woke up a bit before sunset and was feeling hungry. Since André wasn't back yet I decided to go get something to eat.

Later that night we met with other Team Online members for drinks and I got to meet most of them. I am now officially a Team Online fan! Those people are great! I could literally spend the entire night talking to them and I don't think I'd be bored for a second. Great personalities, hard working people and surprisingly down to earth. Too bad we couldn't stay until late cause André was exhausted! Then again if I was in his shoes, I wouldn't have the courage to even go out for drinks, I'd just go to bed after the meeting...

The next day we hit the swimming pools. Atlantis has a great water park with a lazy river, slides and other fun stuff! It was a nice day, but to be honest the weather didn't feel hot enough for us to be spending the entire day in and out of pools. Another thing is that during our entire stay the whole place was pretty windy. Not sure if that's a common thing or if it just happened during the week that we were there but... I didn't find the weather so great. Then again, that's the Greek in me speaking, if you ask a Canadian they would probably have a different opinion. 

The Cove swimming pool

Piña Colada

See, not so great weather, is it?

The beach was beautiful

Water Slides

Walking inside the shark tank

The had similar signs all over the resort, lol!

Anyway, the worst part of all was that outside the weather was hot and very humid while inside (casino, restaurants, hotel corridors, elevators etc.) it was very cold and dry because of the air conditioning. I honestly had to wear a jacket every time I was indoors. Of course, that's an excellent recipe to catch a cold. On day 3 of our stay I got a sore throat and it only got worse from that. Half of the people I knew around the resort were either very sick or had some sort of cold. I only went to the pool one more time and then every day I'd just wake up worse and worse until the last day of our stay I decided to not move from my room. 

Well, apart from breakfast that is. Breakfast at the Cove was by far the best one I've seen in a hotel. It had such a big variety that even after staying there several days I don't think I got to try everything at least once. Here are some photos:

My breakfast

André's breakfast

Atlantis had a lot of great restaurants but since we were mostly hanging out with Team Online we went to what the majority preferred. Unfortunately for me, 3 nights in a row it was Asian cuisine which I'm not a big fan of but oh well! The company was great so it totally made up for it!

Team Online cheering up for Adrienne (talonchick) at her final table

I think Adrienne's opponent got intimidated. Wouldn't you? :P

But I'm getting out of subject here... So as I was saying earlier, the last day I decided to stay in the room. André stayed with me to keep me company. As for food... We had to go with room service which didn't feel at all like a compromise:

Caesar's Salad

One thing that I forgot to mention but is very important is that I made my first withdrawal from my poker account! And boy, did I make it in style! :P I'm not sure if I've mentioned this before but up until now I've always been focused on building my bankroll. I've never ever withdrawn money from my Pokerstars account. This however, is the first month where I start paying myself a salary. I heard that Pokerstars would have a bank in the Atlantis casino where players could withdraw from their online accounts. André and I decided to take advantage of that opportunity. When I went there and filled in the form, the guy at the cashier's gave me a chip. I was kind of surprised because when you go to a bank to make a withdrawal you expect to get money, right? For a moment I thought he was giving me a promotional chip or a card protector or something... Until I noticed that the value printed on it was the amount of money I had chosen to withdrawn. I took a side-glance at André who was at the next cashier in the process of receiving two chips so I thought everything was normal. I played it cool, got the chip, thanked the guy and left. Even though I'm  a poker player I've never actually held a casino chip in my hands so that was a strange way for me to withdraw money. Anyway, then we went to the casino's cashier to exchange the chip for money. The first withdrawal of many! :D

Last Saturday was finally time for us to leave. The plan was to go to New York, spend the night there and then leave for Lisbon on Sunday. We did get to NY just fine, although the tip from the airport to the hotel took longer than we had expected. We left our bags and went to get something to eat which I can't classify as lunch or dinner cause it was 18.00 and that was our first meal of the day after breakfast. Then we went for a walk around Times Square and 5th Avenue when André said that he was not feeling well so we headed back to the hotel. We didn't get much sleep that night cause guess what... Both of us got food poisoning! I'm not sure if it was from something we ate back at the Atlantis or from our meal in NY, but it was pretty bad. On Sunday we were both feeling trashed and it was the toughest trip back home I've ever had to make. I was completely dehydrated because my stomach would refuse to keep even a single sip of water or chamomile. The next time we ate again (with extreme precaution and only after taking anti-vomiting medication) was on Monday night.

Of course now I'm full of pills to fight not only the food poisoning (that's almost gone by now), but also the cold. I needed a couple of days to recover from this vacation but I think that I'll be heading to the office tomorrow. I have a lot of plans for 2013 and I won't let a cold ruin them!

Anyway, this year's PCA turned out to be an adventure alright even though not exactly what we had in mind... Now I just have to get back into my daily routine. My next post will be with my plans for this year, I hope I'll be able to put it up either towards the end of this week or the beginning of the next one.

Until then... See you all at the tables! :D


  1. WB :)

    Nice Tripreport, was fun to read and some awesome pics!

    gl in 2013!

  2. Great photos and a nice vacation.
    Would love to go to the bahamas one day :)

    I've been playing these Hyperturbo-Satelittes for some time now and i got a pretty decent grip on them. But im still strugglin to have a poisitve ROI prerakeback. I know i asked this querstion before, but ive been lookin all around the internet for some kind of coach for these SNGs, not had any luck yet. Really desperate to get this positive ROI because im takin the year of to concentrate on poker and may try to become Supernova Elite playing these Hypersats if im able to start winnning some $ prerakeback. I have all the time in the world to reach Elite, as i only need to be good enough to be a breakeven player to make it.

    So if u or Andre ever should consider coaching i would love to be coached by either one of you.

    Anyways, fun read and gl at the tables!

    Kind Regards Martin Ledal

    1. Hello Martin!

      Neither André nor I are currently interested in coaching, but if that changes at some point I'll make sure to announce it on my blog. Thank you for your interest!

      About the ROI, I don't know what stakes you are playing but I can tell you that the most difficult time for me was when I was playing the microstakes cause I was completely clueless. It gets a bit easier later on cause even if you're not beating the levels, at least you have an idea of what to do to fix it.

      I'd suggest you put a lot of time studying while using some ICM tool like ICMizer. It should help clear out a lot of doubts.

      Good luck and thanx for following my blog!

  3. Hi Katerina, my name is Simão, my nick is sbarbosas83, i usualy ask andre for change tdol for dol, but now with this challenge he cannot do it. so he says for me to talk to you, can you exchange 245tdol? if yes please say for how much, and send me your nick... to start the exchange, and then i tell u! if needed my email is my facebook is tarotsb


    1. Hello Simão,

      I can exchange t245 for $240. My nick at Pokestars is katerina289. Let me know if you initiate the exchange.

  4. First of all congrats for the block and especially for your results. i would like to ask you something that is not clear to me. I was reading most of your posts and from what i understand you play your games and instead of real $ you earn Tournament money is that right? and if so why you dont play normal 6max hyper turbos sng and instead you play the games for tournament sats.
    Thank you in advance

    1. Hi Taso συμπατριώτη!

      What you asked is a common misunderstanding. The hyper-turbo satellites share the same "street name" as the regular hyper-turbo satellites but the structure is entirely different. At the satellites you start 10BB deep and they pay 50% to the first, 50% to the second (sometimes they pay a very small amount to the third but it's insignificant). In these games you don't get to play heads-ups. Normal hyper-turbo sngs on the other hand start 25BB deep and the payout is 50% for the first, 30% for the second and 20% for the third.

      All these things make it a completely different game. If I were to play the normal hypers for example, I'd have to forget what I know and start studying them from scratch. Also, at the satellites the edges are even smaller I think, so you get more variance.

      And yes, I win $t instead of real dollars, but tournament money is easily convertible. Also, the 3rd places are always paid in $ so I am slowly but steadily converting my $t.

      I hope this clears out your doubts. Anything else, just ask!

  5. Thanks for getting back to me. In the previous post its obvious that block means blog :P anyway.
    Yeap its clear now. I am just thinking with what criteria someone would choose to play normal hypers or sats hyper. The second one yeap has more variance cause of the short stack but on the other hand you probably have weaker players who trying to win a seat in the tournament.
    Anyway i find what you doing inspiring and since i was playing sng 180 mainly i probably stick with sng even though i have a huge downswing these days. I might give a try a 9 max should be softer as a game. I wont bore you more with this..:) Good luck at tables and have fun.

    1. The criteria is a matter of personal preference really. Why would someone choose to play Omaha instead of Holdem? It's whatever you like or you think you're best at.
      Thank you for your nice words, hang in there till the downswing is over!
      And you're not boring me, I like talking about poker! :)

      Good luck!


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