Thursday, 5 March 2015

Greek Poker Cup IV Loutraki Trip Report

Hello hello!

I didn't think the time would come where I'd have to write a trip report for visiting my home country, but here it is: My Loutraki trip report!

A couple of weeks ago PokerStars organized the Greek Poker Cup IV at Casino Loutraki. Of course I had to be there so as soon as I heard about it I booked my tickets and made travelling arrangements. Ι was looking forward to this trip for various reasons. First, I never miss an opportunity to go back to Greece. Secondly, it's a series of tournaments organized by PokerStars so it's bound to be good. Thirdly and most importantly I really wanted to see up close what the greek poker community is like. Normally when I travel to poker destinations abroad I'm always looking out for Greek players. If I hear someone speaking in Greek I always go and say hi. So was I excited to participate in a tournament full of Greek people? Hell yeah!

The entrance of Casino Loutraki

I arrived at the Club Hotel Casino Loutraki on Thursday 19th of February, the first day of the Greek Poker Cup series. After a quick check-in, I went up to my room. I was welcomed by a very cozy and modern space and a wonderful sea view.

I was registered at day 1A, so I went to the casino to get my ticket. I arrived there early but there was a massive line which made me lose the entire first level of the tournament. On the positive side that means that there was a really good turnout for the series and I had the opportunity to chat with other players while standing in line.

The main event

The main event was a €550 NLHE tournament that got over 500 participants in total. I arrived at the table having lost some chips already. Not a big deal though, as playing super deep is not really my thing. I said hello at the players and took a seat.

Some years ago there was a tv show in Greece similar to the X-Factor, where people sang and then got grades for their performance from a panel of judges. The grades would go up to 10, with 10 being the holy grail that only a great singer would get. That show got really popular mainly cause of one judge that would praise the participants, give them all sorts of compliments like "I was mesmerized by your voice" only to end up with "Very well, I give you three!!!" and a big smile on his face.

If I could describe the main event in a phrase, it would be "Very well, I give you three!". I literally got all the combinations of 3 imaginable, apart of course from 33 or A3 (those are what we call "too good to be true"). J3o seemed to be a favorite that day. After a while it seemed to be so consistent that I was laughing by myself every time I saw a three in my cards and then folded. It's very possible that other players at my table thought I was crazy. Oh well!

The defining pot of the tourney was when I was holding KJo on a 9-7-T-Q-9 board. My opponent showed pocket sevens and my straight was not enough against his full house. That was a pot of 15k chips (starting stack was 20k) so I got a significant hit there.

I lost a bit later, at the 5th level of the tourney when I raised UTG with AKo. I got two calls, from the player on my left and the Big Blind. The flop came K-T-Q with two cards of the same suit. I bet half the pot and got raised by the UTG+1. The Big Blind folded and I re-raised all-in. The opponent flipped JT. The turn was a 4, but unfortunately the river was a ten that got me eliminated.

The side events

I wasn't exactly thrilled about losing at the main event, but I had the side events as comfort. I played them all, apart from the PLO one. That means I played a €220 NLHE, a 2-day €330 NLHE and a €165 NLHE turbo. I had high hopes for the turbo in particular, but in the end I didn't cash in any of the side events. Then again after the amazing start I had at MTTs this year and considering this isn't my format, I guess I can't complain. Plus, it was super fun to sit at tables full of greek players! I know this may sound mundane to most of you, but the immigrant in me really appreciated the chance to play poker with fellow Greeks! And I know I'm probably not the most appropriate person to say this cause I'm not an MTT expert, but I found the level of poker to be quite good, which made me even more proud of my countrymen!

The casino and the hotel

Okay, I'm more of an online player so I haven't been to many places to play live poker. Yet I can tell you that Casino Loutraki is a very nice space. The room where the poker series was held was super spacious and pleasant. There was free bottled water for all the players and a cafeteria just outside the poker room in case you wanted to grab a coffee or hang out.

Poker room

The hotel itself is modern, super clean (something I value a lot in hotels) and has a spa. I didn't have time to try out the spa, but I heard it's pretty great (maybe I'll pay it a visit next time around). But with the greek sea right at your feet why would you go to the spa anyway?

The hotel's reception

My room

The bathroom

Room view

Breakfast <3

The slang

I was having dinner with one of the players I met at the tournament when the subject of greek poker slang came up. I was explaining to John that I find it difficult to translate my blog posts into Greek cause I'm missing a lot of the vocabulary. I've been taught how to play poker by a Portuguese and I mostly talk with people regarding poker in English. So if you think about it, it's normal that I don't know how to say most of that stuff in Greek.

Sure enough, while we were having dinner close to the tournament area one of John's friends came up to us and started explaining how he lost. I kid you not, he was talking in Greek yet I understood less than 10% of what he said. If someone asked me to explain how the guy lost I'd be speechless! Needless to say, John spent the next hour teaching me how to talk poker in Greek. That skill will definitely come in handy!

The community

I must admit I was excited but at the same time a bit skeptical on my way to the Greek Poker Cup. I've never been on a poker-related trip without André before and apart from George Kapalas I hardly knew any of the Greek poker players personally. So here's a heartfelt thank you to all of the people that came and talked to me during the Greek Poker Cup and made me feel welcome. You guys are awesome! From playing poker at the tables to having breakfast in the morning, there was a positive energy all around which definitely contributed in making this trip a great experience for me! I felt like I was meeting old friends and I can't wait until our paths cross again. Thank you!

Loutraki beach

I'll be looking forward to the next Greek poker tournament. Until then... See you at the online tables!

1 comment:

  1. I love reading your blog especially this particular post about your trip. Awesome view on your room, wow! I also use poker equity calculator but I would also like to try ICMIZER.


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