My experiences with Paris in the past have not been the greatest. I always have problems, either with the hotel or flight or weather or everything! But with a positive attitude and outlook, I was set to go back to Paris this month for the Team Poker Cup at the Cercle Gaillon. This competition will happen between poker rooms and poker communities, each represented by three members, composed both by pros and amateurs.
As one of the rooms authorized by the authorities in France, Chilipoker will take part into this competition, represented by two professional players, and one amateur.
It didn’t start out that way, though. Haha. I left Las Vegas on March 10th, and there were no problems with the flight. I also checked only one bag, so that was going to make things easier, or so I thought! I got off the plane, got my bag from baggage claim, and suddenly the airport security guys stop me and start asking questions. (Did I look like a terrorist? I didn’t think so!) When they asked me what I do for a living and I said that I was a professional poker player, that was it, they took me into a back room. They searched through all my bags, every single corner and edge of every bag, even running the bags - open with all of my belongings right there - through a scanner. Then he got to my computer bag and started to open the side zipped pocket, I was so annoyed that I said to him “stop!” Don’t open it, there’s sex tapes in there. (joking of course) Haha. I noticed the officer’s eyes suddenly lit up … Hmm I wonder why?
They still asked me questions, though. They wanted to know how much cash I had with me, so I told them about $7500 in USD and British Pounds. They counted everything and found some Euros and asked why I didn’t mention the Euros. I just told them I forgot, which was true. I was really irritated by the whole process, after about an hour they finally let me go.
I took a cab from the airport to my hotel, and the driver was acting a little strange. He kept trying to tell me to put my computer bag on the floor, but I didn’t want to put it there. He seemed really annoyed with me, and it wasn’t until I was on my way back to the airport at the end of my trip that I figure out why. That second cab driver explained to me that theft is big in Paris, and the cab drivers try to protect their fares by telling them to keep their luggage in a certain place. Oops! I wish my first driver had told me that! Even so, though, he was a little pissy, especially when I didn’t have the exact change for my ride. Oh well, I went into the hotel, and my room wasn’t ready so I had to wait. But when I did get my room, it was upgraded very nicely!
The next day was the tournament, and there were 20 teams of 3 people each for a total field of 60 people. It was a great event, actually! The team poker concept is a little different to me, but I had a lot fun with my Chilipoker.fr teammates Xavier Niel, CEO of Iliad, and Lionel Rozenberg. I was seated at the featured table for part of the day, which should be shown on European television when it airs on April 1st.(Liz Lieu with Xavier Niel)
Everyone played pretty well, even the amateurs, but that meant that I didn’t get a ton of action. There was nothing I could do, it seemed, to get calls or raises when I had hands. For example, I had K-8 of diamonds in my blind, and when the UTG players raised 2x, I called. The flop of Q-8-3 gave me a pair, but we both checked. The 5 on the turn was a blank, so I checked hoping for him to bet so I could check-raise, but he checked. The Q came on the river, and I checked again hoping for a raise opportunity, but he just checked to me! I won it with my two pair but it was a pretty small pot.
I was on a table with a few French players who loved to gamble. Two of them were running good and really on a heater, and it seemed like they couldn’t lose. So I knew to stay out of their way. On one hand, player in seat 8 moved all-in for 2800 chips, I picked up AK and decided to call. The player to my left, who had a ton of chips, puts me all-in! I mucked because I knew how he was running, and he showed A-Q. The all-in player had pocket fives. The board was A-7-3-Q-2, and that would’ve put me out of the tournament, so I’m glad I trusted my read.
By the dinner break, Xavier was out, both Lionel and I were still in, both of us had about 10k left in chips . I went to dinner with Alex, Xavier, Lionel, Antoine Arnault and his sister Delphine. We had a lovely dinner and talked about everything from poker to shoes to fashion to handbags. It was a very nice distraction, and I’m always willing to talk about those topics! But then it was back to poker, and I ended up shoving the last of my stack 15 minutes after we returned with pocket nines, but my opponent had pocket aces. And that was the end of my tournament! It was a great time, though, and I was glad to be a part of it.
The weather in Paris was not pretty. It rained almost every day that I was there, but I still got out to see some of the sights in Paris. How could I pass up that chance?! I went to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe. I also did a little shopping along the Champs-Elysees and a famous outdoor mall that I can’t remember the name of! I packed a lot of sight-seeing and shopping into those couple of days I had left of my trip, but if it wasn’t raining so much, I would have liked to have seen more of the city, walked along the Seine, and more. But I did what I could, enjoyed Paris in a way I hadn’t before, and finally headed back to the United States. By the way, it was sunny on the day I caught my flight out of Paris!
Back in Vegas, I’ve been catching up on life and news. What is the deal with Charlie Sheen, everyone? I’m finding some of his videos and tweets pretty funny, and most other people seem to be entertained too. The “tiger blood” saying is funny, and I obviously like “winning!”
Speaking of winning, I’m SO ready for spring! One of the first places I went when I got back to Vegas was to Red Rock Canyon for some hiking. I enjoyed it so much that I’m going to hike about three times each week. I’m also in the mood for more outdoor activities, so I’m going to start thinking about other possibilities for exercising and clearing my mind in the spring months. Mostly, I’m feeling a happiness and calm these days. I believe some changes in my life are in order that will lead to a very positive year, and I’m starting to put those things in motion. It could get interesting! But it’s definitely going to be “winning!”