Saturday 28 May 2016

The break and the comeback!

Hello everyone!

As you may have noticed, I've been a bit MIA from this blog lately. Lately as in... The past year. Sure I did write an occasional post here and there, but it was mostly to keep you guys updated on the latest PokerStars promotions and things like that. It's been quite long since my last typical Katerina-ish kind of post where I talk about my poker adventures and everything else that revolves around them. I apologize for this "gap" of blog posts. But let's get this one started cause we have a lot of catching up to do!

2015 was a very interesting year and it brought many changes. Until April, things were fairly normal although my time was divided between poker and wedding preparations. Poker was not going great, but it could be because of multiple reasons: moving in a poker office and working with 8 more people, not studying enough cause the wedding stuff didn't leave me much time for it, not putting in enough volume, variance, etc. There were so many things going on at the same time that I wasn't giving poker my full undivided attention like I used to. It's only fair I suppose that it was treating me the same way.

I attended a PokerStars VIP Club Live party in Sofia towards the end of May and that was a nice distraction but the closer we got to July and the date of the wedding, the more difficult things got. Menu tastings, trying to puzzle out the seating chart, going over the last details of the venue decorations, visits to all the relatives who wouldn't be able to attend the wedding, wedding dress fittings and poker grinding cause I still had to make enough VPPs in order to maintain my Supernova status is a pretty good summary to what the first half of July looked like. I couldn't wait for the time where it would be just me and my new husband away on our honey moon vacation with no obligations in sight!

At the party in Sofia with Team Pro Online teammates Liay5 and Innerpsy

2015 - The Break

And then it happened out of nowhere: On the week of our wedding (only a couple of days before the big day!) PokerStars stopped providing real money games in Portugal. It caught us all by surprise. I was still grinding my VPPs like crazy, I wanted to be done before the wedding and before the honeymoon so that I'd leave no loose ends. 

For many years there was no regulation in Portugal regarding companies that offered poker services online. In June 2015 a regulation was voted and one of the things it encompassed was that all poker sites would have to obtain a licence in order to be able to operate in Portugal. PokerStars has applied to get a licence, but no licences have been given to anyone up to this date. Until they get it... We cannot play poker on our favorite site from Portugal.

At the time it happened I didn't worry too much about it. I didn't want anything to ruin the wedding and truth be told, the situation was out of my hands. There was literally nothing I could do about it. So I just put that on hold and enjoyed my wedding to André to the fullest. It was the best day of our lives! We also enjoyed the honey moon afterwards: we visited 3 different destinations in Asia and it was the most amazing journey ever!

Best day ever!

In September I went to Greece for another VIP Club Live Party. The party in Athens was probably my favorite one by PokerStars! Maybe I'll make a separate blog post about it cause it definitely deserves one. Back in Portugal, André and I faced a big dilemma: should we stay in Portugal and wait for the Portuguese government to give out licenses or should we follow the example of our poker friends that one by one had moved abroad to countries where PokerStars was operating as usual?

We decided to stay and see what happens, but we put a deadline: we'd only stay in Portugal until the end of the year. If the problem had not been resolved until then, we'd temporarily move to Greece. Why Greece, you might ask. Most of our poker friends moved to Czech Republic, or northern European destinations. But the fact is that I am Greek, I have family there and although the player's withholding tax is not ideal, the country is fairly similar to Portugal in terms of climate, food, mentality of people etc. Not saying that there aren't many differences, of course there are plenty, but it's not as big of a cultural shock as going to a northern European country.

2016 - The Comeback

So there we were, André and I, a bit before Christmas 2015 on a plane with a one-way ticket to Athens. The new year found us staying at my mother's house. Welcome 2016! The plan was simple: we'd stay at my mother's who had an extra room for a couple of months until the situation back in Portugal was resolved. We'd get an internet connection and work from there, nothing too fancy but hey, it's only temporary, right? We can handle it!

Nothing like mom's homemade cooking!

Problem one: As ridiculous as it sounds for a European capital of the 21st century my mother's house is situated in an area that didn't support fast internet connections. The one we could get was not fast enough for us to work and not nearly reliable enough (it would go down about 10 times per day on average). After my countless phone calls to different Internet providers, I accepted the sad truth: we'd have to move out.

Now, my father, lives in a different area of Athens. That area did support a fast Internet connection, as the Internet Providers assured me. It meant that we'd have to move into my childhood bedroom (which by the way you can have a glimpse of at my Team Online video) and even though not ideal, it meant that we could have a roof above our heads and get back to working. I made some room for our stuff among my teddy bears and old Magic: The Gathering cards, bought an extra foldable bed for me to sleep in (André got my old bed but it wasn't big enough to fit us both) and got ready for work.

Problem two: The new network that supported the fast internet stopped quite literally one block away from my father's house. That left us with the same problem as when we were at my mother's. I'll admit I was quite frustrated at that time. I had in a way migrated back to my own country as silly as that may sound, trying very hard to get back to business, only to find myself a block away from good internet and not being able to work.

I'll save you all the endless details of the conversations I've had with André... The way we decided to solve this problem was to find a small space close to my father's place that supported fast Internet and that we could use as an office space. Have you ever been house hunting not based on the specs of the house, but based on its address? Well I have and it's not a very pleasant experience. I managed to find a tiny studio within a 20 minutes walk. It was far from being great and the rent wasn't super cheap considering the condition the property was in, but it supported the internet connection we needed so I snap took it.

To my defense, I did NOT choose the decoration. It came with the house.

Sink, toilet and shower all in one. Wouldn't believe it without seeing with my own eyes.Yes, this is the entire bathroom. All of it.

With all these adventures, by the time we had everything up and running, January had already passed us by. André and I started getting into working rythms, which I interrupted for a 10 days trip to Dublin to play the EPT (my first ever EPT!). Things were okay generally speaking, but something didn't feel quite right... Most people live with their parents while they're single and then move into their own house when they find and marry their significant other. André and I did it the other way around: after over 5 years of living by ourselves, we moved in with my dad shortly after getting married. And even though my dad is a wonderful, easy-going person, I think you can all understand that it's not the same as being in a house of our own.

Problem three: The lack of privacy was starting to be hard to deal with. Apart from that, André and I only had one computer and one tiny working space to work from, which meant that I was working when he didn't and vice versa. We hardly had time to see each other. By March André and I decided to move again, this time to a house that would be just ours and would be big enough for us to work at the same time. We got a second computer and rent a house from April 1rst and on. We spent most of March in Portugal to celebrate Easter with my husband's family and to take care of some stuff related to André's real estate investments. We had both really missed our house in Lisbon and those days went by a bit too fast.

On April 1st we got into our new house in Athens, no joke! We got an apartment that was fully furbished, although I still had to get a couple of things to make it feel more "homey". I can say that that was the first time since we came to Greece that I felt like I could fall into a nice routine. I registered at my local gym and started being a lot more productive at work.

Our current place in Athens. Huge improvement comparing to the previous one! :P

Moving in this house was definitely a +EV move and you may be wondering why we didn't do it earlier and had to go into all that trouble of moving around... Well, it may seem like an easy choice in retrospect, but at the time we saw staying in Greece as a very temporary solution. It still is temporary and we are planning to go back to Portugal eventually, but I guess we came to terms with the fact that we're staying in Greece longer than we originally thought we would. It's okay though, living in Athens comes with a bunch of positive things, like being around my friends and family again, eating souvlaki whenever I feel like, having amazing beaches close to where I live, etc. I'll try to make the most out of my time here!

As many of you already know, "work" has changed a lot for me this year. My hyper-turbo grinder self has been substituted by a Twitch streamer. I have a lot to say about this new poker reality (which I am enjoying a lot so far), but this post is getting too long so I'll end it here. I'll follow up with a separate post on Twitch-land soon!

I just wanted you guys to catch up with all that's been going on in my life lately, say that I am finally back to blogging and that you can count on more frequent posts from now on. If there's any topic you would like me to make a blog post on, let me know in the comments. My blogging skills are kind of rusty and I can use the inspiration! :)

See you soon!


  1. Hey Kat John_Av here,nice to hear from you!!! Yeah there issues like that everywhere in Greece,you were fortunate enough to find a place that you could have a decent connection..Since you asked about suggestions for topics a nice one would be to talk about your twitch stream and the 10$ to 1K challenge you currently run at Pokerstars!



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