Monday, 16 June 2014

PokerStars VIP Club: Live Lisbon


As you've probably heard by now, earlier this month PokerStars VIP Club: Live threw a party in Lisbon. If you didn't attend, let's face it. You missed out. And the best way to remedy this situation is to give you some visuals. So instead of me blabbering about how cool that party was, I'll just make this a photo-based post so that you can see for yourself how it was.

Let me start by saying that I was very excited for this party! The first cool thing about it was that I didn't even have to get on a plane in order to attend... It was only a taxi ride away! The party was held at Portas do Sol, which has an ideal location in the heart of Lisbon. The view from up there is amazing...

There was a red carpet on the entrance and the best party reception I've ever seen! Each person arriving was greeted by two ladies dressed up in poker themed costumes and received their wrist band. 

Walking a bit further down, you realized that what you thought was just a red carpet ended in an actual person! I don't know who thought of that, but it definitely looked cool!

Sorry for stepping on your dress miss!

This was definitely the classiest party I've been to. Formally dressed waiters were going around offering champagne and canapés to the guests. Did anyone say diet? Those delicious looking (and tasting) gourmet snacks were hard to resist! 

Not the champagne type? The open bar is the place for you!

There were various entertainers at the party. My favorite was a magician that was "infiltrating" small groups of people and performed some tricks. To this day, I'm baffled by the fact that he put one sponge ball in my hand, asked me to close my fist and when I opened my hand again there were two balls instead of one...

But I said there were other entertainers so let's not forget the fire show, the unusual bicycle and the gabardine lady... Wherever you turned to look, there was something going on at this party!

Spitting flames. Literally.

Go ahead, take a look!

She was giving out cool glasses! Wait, what did you think she was doing?!?

And of course PokerStars wouldn't leave us with just a couple of snacks... Later on during the night, there was a big buffet inside waiting for the guests to attack!

Anyone feeling hungry?

After eating while enjoying conversations with other poker players, it was time to party! Portuguese band "Da Chick" was there to give a live performance. While enjoying the music, I was surprised to discover my break dance teacher among the crowd. Small world! After Da Chick's performance was over, one courageous poker player challenged the band members to a dance-off.

"Da Chick" on stage

Dance battle

That was enough to ignite the dancing mood and soon various break dancers hit the stage, giving a very impressive performance!

I bet you can't dance like that. It's okay, neither can I!

My teacher Speedy shows off how he got the nickname. Too bad I don't have a video for this one.

But even with all that going on, the best part of the night was definitely meeting other poker players. This time I even got to meet some of my opponents, which was totally awesome! I sort of think of them as co-workers and it's nice to see the face behind the screen name. I also met a lot of people I didn't know at all and I enjoyed listening to their stories of how they got into poker and what exactly they were playing. It's just fun to get a chance to mingle with poker people, that's not really something you can do every day!

In case you haven't had enough yet, here are some more photos from the event:

I've said it in the past and I will say it again: the VIP Club: Live parties are awesome! If you haven't been to one yet, you should definitely make plans to attend when there's a stop near you! 

PokerStars VIP Club: Live Λισσαβώνα

Γεια σας!

Όπως μάλλον θα έχετε ακούσει μέχρι τώρα, νωρίτερα αυτό το μήνα η PokerStars VIP Club: Live οργάνωσε ένα πάρτι στη Λισσαβώνα. Αν δεν πήγατε, ας είμαστε ειλικρινείς. Χάσατε. Και ο καλύτερος τρόπος για να διορθώσουμε όσο γίνεται αυτό το γεγονός, είναι να σας δώσω μια ιδέα για το τι έγινε. Αντί λοιπόν ν'αρχίσω να μιλάω ασταμάτητα για το πόσο ωραίο ήταν το πάρτι, θα βασίσω αυτό το post σε φωτογραφίες για να δείτε και μόνοι σας.

Θα ξεκινήσω λέγοντας πως ήμουν πολύ ενθουσιασμένη γι'αυτό το πάρτι! Το πρώτο θετικό ήταν ότι δεν χρειαζόταν να πάρω αεροπλάνο για να πάω... Ήταν μόλις μια διαδρομή με το ταξί μακριά! Διοργανώθηκε στο Portas do Sol ("Οι πόρτες του ήλιου"), το οποίο έχει μια ιδανική τοποθεσία στην καρδιά της Λισσαβώνας. Η θέα από κει πάνω είναι φοβερή.

Στην είσοδο ήταν στρωμένο κόκκινο χαλί και ήταν σίγουρα η καλύτερη υποδοχή που έχω δει ποτέ! Δύο κοπέλες ντυμένες με στολές που είχαν θέμα το πόκερ υποδέχονταν τους καλεσμένους και τους έδιναν και τους φορούσαν το βραχιολάκι τους.

Προχωρώντας λίγο παρακάτω, έβλεπες ότι αυτό που νόμιζες πως ήταν απλά ένα κόκκινο χαλί κατέληγε... σε άνθρωπο! Δεν ξέρω ποιος το σκέφτηκε αυτό, αλλά σίγουρα έδειχνε ωραίο!

Συγγνώμη που σας πάτησα το φόρεμα δεσποινίς!

Αυτό ήταν σίγουρα το πιο κλασσάτο πάρτι στο οποίο έχω παρευρεθεί. Σερβιτόροι ντυμένοι με κοστούμια πηγαινοερχόντουσαν προσφέροντας σαμπάνια και καναπεδάκια στους καλεσμένους. Είπε κανείς δίαιτα; Ήταν δύσκολο ν'αντισταθείς σ'αυτά τα μικρά σνακ που έδειχναν (και ήταν) πεντανόστιμα!

Δεν είστε ο τύπος της σαμπάνιας; Μην ανησυχείτε, υπάρχει και το ανοιχτό μπαρ!

Υπήρχαν διάφοροι διασκεδαστές στο πάρτι. Αυτός που μου άρεσε περισσότερο ήταν ένας ταχυδακτυλουργός που "διεισδούσε" σε γκρουπάκια καλεσμένων και έκανε διάφορα τρικ. Μέχρι και σήμερα με προβληματίζει το γεγονός ότι έβαλε ένα μπαλάκι από σφουγγάρι στην παλάμη μου, μου είπε να κλείσω το χέρι μου και όταν το άνοιξα υπήρχαν δύο μπαλάκια αντί για ένα...

Αλλά όπως σας είπα υπήρχαν κι άλλοι διασκεδαστές στο πάρτι οπότε ας μην ξεχνάμε το σόου με τη φωτιά, το ασυνήθιστο ποδήλατο και την κοπέλα με την καμπαρντίνα... Όπου κι αν γυρνούσες να κοιτάξεις, κάτι γινόταν σ'αυτό το πάρτι!

Φτύνοντας φωτιά. Κυριολεκτικά.

Ρίξτε μια ματιά!

Η κοπέλα απλά μοίραζε γυαλιά! Γιατί, εσείς τι νομίζατε ότι έκανε δηλαδή;!;

Και φυσικά η PokerStars δε θα μας άφηνε να τη βγάλουμε απλά με μερικά σνακ... Αργότερα υπήρχε και ένα μεγάλο μπουφέ που περίμενε τους καλεσμένους να του επιτεθούν!

Πεινάει κανείς;

Αφού φάγαμε απολαμβάνοντας συζητήσεις με άλλους παίκτες πόκερ, είχε έρθει η ώρα για το γλέντι! Το πορτογαλικό συγκρότημα "Da Chick" είχε καταφτάσει για μια live εμφάνιση. Ενώ ακούγαμε μουσική, πρόσεξα ότι μέσα στο πλήθος βρισκόταν και ο καθηγητής μου από το break dance. Τι μικρός που είναι ο κόσμος! Μόλις τελείωσαν οι "Da Chick" ένας θαρραλέος παίκτης πόκερ προκάλεσε τα μέλη του συγκροτήματος σε μια χορευτική μονομαχία.

Οι "Da Chick" επί σκηνής

Χορευτική μονομαχία

Αυτό ήταν αρκετό για να μεταφέρει και σε άλλους παρευρισκόμενους την όρεξη για χορό και σύντομα διάφοροι χορευτές break dance ανέβηκαν στην πίστα και εντυπωσίασαν τον κόσμο με την επίδειξη των ικανοτήτων τους!

Εσείς μπορείτε να χορέψετε έτσι; Εγώ πάντως όχι!

Ο καθηγητής μου ο Speedy δείχνει πως πήρε το ψευδώνυμό του. Κρίμα που δεν το έχω και σε βίντεο.

Αλλά ακόμα και μετά απ'όλα αυτά, το καλύτερο μέρος της βραδιάς ήταν σίγουρα το ότι γνώρισα άλλους παίκτες πόκερ. Αυτή τη φορά γνώρισα και μερικούς από τους αντιπάλους μου, κάτι το οποίο ήταν φοβερό! Τους θεωρώ κατά κάποιο τρόπο συναδέλφους μου και είναι πολύ ωραίο να βλέπεις το πρόσωπο που κρύβεται πίσω από κάθε ψευδώνυμο. Γνώρισα επίσης και πολλά άτομα που δεν τα ήξερα καθόλου και μου άρεσε που άκουσα τις ιστορίες τους, πως ξεκίνησαν να παίζουν πόκερ και τι παίζουν ακριβώς. Είναι ωραίο το να έχεις την ευκαιρία να συναναστραφείς με παίκτες πόκερ, δεν είναι κάτι που μπορείς να το κάνεις κάθε μέρα!

Σε περίπτωση που δε σας έφτασε, ορίστε μερικές ακόμα φωτογραφίες από τη βραδιά:

Το έχω πει στο παρελθόν και θα το ξαναπώ τώρα: τα πάρτι του VIP Club: Live είναι φοβερά! Αν δεν έχετε πάει σε κανένα ακόμα, τότε να προσπαθήσετε να πάτε την επόμενη φορά που θα έρθει κάποιο κοντά σας! Αξίζει τον κόπο!

Tuesday, 10 June 2014

May Overview


This overview is coming a bit late, but I have to admit I was feeling seriously burnt out when May was over. I'll explain why shortly. But first let me say that I achieved my goal for May! I got 50k VPPs in a single month, which is the biggest volume I've ever put in!

Now let's get to the bad news. On the 27th of May and with the month being almost over, I got a major downswing. It was around 60 buy-ins, not the kind of downswing you get very often. It was a significant hit not only to my bankroll but also to my psychology.

I have had a couple of downswings like that before so I knew that these things happen and that it's normal. The fact that it happened in just over 300 games should make me feel better, because anything can happen in such a small sample. But I felt pretty bad. In those moments it's like it doesn't matter what hand you have, you're gonna lose either way. And even though your mind and your logic tells you that that's not true, that you're just being unlucky, looking at the screen while your chips are flying away in every direction makes you wonder. What if it's not just luck and I'm playing bad?

I only played 3 hours and a half that day. I started tilting. When I realized that I couldn't think clearly anymore I stopped opening tables and took the rest day off. I thought that doing things I enjoy that are not related to poker would help relax my nerves. And it did.

The next day, when I sat in front of my computer again I was 100% ready for the grind. Feeling refreshed, I put the previous day behind me and started playing. I was prepared for the possibility of having another losing day, I knew that just because I had a major downswing it didn't mean that I'd go straight back to winning. What I wasn't prepared for, was a losing day that would be worse than my previous one.

So on the 28th of May, I lost around 70 buy-ins. It felt bad to be losing and I wanted to stop, but I was almost reaching 50k VPPs and I didn't want to quit so close to my goal without making it. I kept going and going and I kept losing. I remember that at some point, I was feeling so bad that when I flopped a full house I thought "Okay, let's see how I'm gonna lose this one". We were all-in pre-flop so all I had to do was sit back and watch the cards as they were revealed. Sure enough, my opponent hit runner runner 4 of a kind. I laughed at that one, I just didn't know what else to do.

I've never broken anything while playing poker, but if there was a day that I came close it was that one. I kept picturing myself throwing the mouse at the computer screen. Instead of doing that, I started recording my session. I wanted someone else's opinion on this. When reviewing the videos with André later, he did make some corrections here and there but I certainly didn't play as badly as my results indicated.

I was only a thousand VPPs short of reaching my goal, so I had to play another hour or so the next day. As soon as I hit the 50k mark I stopped. On one hand achieving what I set out to do felt gratifying but on the other hand the -130 buy in downswing stung. I wondered if I should have stopped earlier, give up the goal and save a bit of my bankroll. But then I thought, I stopped playing when I felt I was tilting and played okay on the second day. What more could I have done? You can't postpone variance by putting off the grind. It will happen whenever you sit at the tables whether you like it or not.

I've already made detailed reviews about each week of May, but just for the record here's the overall graph for the month:

I felt mentally and physically exhausted after that so I decided to take the entire next week off. André and I had tickets to a music festival for two different nights which was nice. The rest of the time, I felt like doing nothing at all. I spent most of the day watching TV, reading books or sleeping. It's nice to be vacationing in your own house. It costs nothing and most importantly it lets you do what you need the most: REST.

Last Saturday we attended the VIP Club: Live party in Lisbon which was great fun and I'll make a separate post about it. This week, I'm planning to work on my blog, take care of the household chores that I have neglected, study a bit and go back to my dance school where I haven't set foot in over a month. Usually starting to exercise again after a long pause takes a lot of my energy so I'd rather not be playing poker while I do it.

I will definitely be back at the tables by Sunday though. This week I'm hosting the Sunday Million!


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