Friday, 5 September 2014

UKIPT Marbella - Trip Report

Marbella is a coastal resort in the massive tourist trap of the Costa del Sol in the south of Spain.

Beaches, hotels, bars, drunk Brits, drunk Germans - and not a whole lot else. It's not type of place that I generally visit as I believe there are far more fun, interesting and culturally rich places on earth but I travelled to Marbella primarily to play the UK and Ireland Poker tour event.

Yes, that well known part of the UK in the south of Spain. Actually, Marbella is only 50 miles up the road from the British Overseas Territory of Gibraltar, so I guess that's close enough.

Wednesday, 27 August 2014

Helsinki, Finland - Trip Report

I was sitting at my laptop looking to book a flight ticket from Bangkok to Marbella to play in the UKIPT. The best I could find was a journey with Finnair that was a 10.5 hour flight to Helsinki, followed by an 11.5 hour wait in the airport before a 4 hour flight to Spain. Screw, that!

Whenever a long haul flight has a connection it's generally no more expensive to book it as two separate legs on the same ticket and enjoy a few days stopover in the connection city, so that's what I did. I did the exact same thing last year with an Emirates flight between Glasgow and Bangkok that had a connection in Dubai.

The way I look at stopping over on connections is that it's like taking an extra vacation somewhere but not having to pay for the flights. I surely would have taken trips to Dubai and Helsinki at some point anyway, but this way I did it without the expense of the flights.

Tuesday, 19 August 2014

Hong Kong - Trip Report

After a week of fun in Korea I flew back to Thailand, but not before stopping by Hong Kong on the way. My plan was to spend 3 days there hiking in the rural areas. Yes, apparently Hong Kong has rural areas!

I'd visited Hong Kong before and didn't think much of the place. My experience was one of being surrounded by massive buildings and millions of people. Hong Kong is incredibly overpopulated and it seemed like no area of land was undeveloped.

It was only after reading the blogs of my fellow travellers that I learned there's a lot more to Hong Kong than I'd previously experienced. I learned about the many isolated beaches, incredible forests and mountains with breathtaking views that Hong Kong has to offer. So I returned with the intention of exploring these areas and experiencing a totally different side to Hong Kong.

Sunday, 10 August 2014

Seoul, Korea - Trip Report

Back in February I was in Dublin, Ireland to play a bit of poker. It was a trip that resulted in me losing money but gaining an awesome new Korean friend. That's a net win in my opinion.

Just a couple of weeks later my new friend, Yujin, flew over to Edinburgh visit me for my last weekend in Scotland before moving back to Thailand.

It was a fun opportunity to play tour guide for someone visiting my country for the first time, as well as spend time with someone that I really enjoyed spending time with. I'd been having a fairly miserable Scottish wintertime up until then so it was nice to enjoy my final weekend there.

Wednesday, 16 July 2014

Living in Thailand

In March I moved back to Bangkok - the city that I previously called home.

I had originally settled in Thailand in early 2011 but by the end of 2012 I had to make a tough decision between staying in Thailand but losing my PokerStars contract or moving back to the UK immediately and keeping it.

PokerStars had decided that they needed their Team Online representative from the UK to actually live in the UK and physically be there for most of the year, which although I wasn't happy about it, was a reasonable enough request. It was a tough ultimatum for me though as I was very well settled and happy in Thailand, but I also very much enjoyed being part of the PokerStars team.

I decided that it was worth making sacrifices to remain in the team, so two weeks into the new year of 2013 I cancelled the lease on my Bangkok condo and flew 6,000 miles to Edinburgh on a one-way ticket with all my belongings.

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

Dropped from PokerStars

Last week I travelled to Spain to play the UKIPT / Estrellas Poker Tour Marbella as a member of Team PokerStars Online.

During the UKIPT Marbella there was a screening of the Spain v Holland match of World Cup 2014 at the hotel with unlimited free drinks for everyone.

I went there to support Holland, even knowing that would make me Mr Unpopular with a 95% Spanish crowd there.

Monday, 26 May 2014

Eureka Vienna Trip Report

Recently I had the pleasure of playing poker in an imperial palace. It was quite a a step up from the wobbly kitchen table in a sketchy North London council flat where I played my first poker tournament.

The Hofburg Palace in Vienna is home to the current Austrian president Heinz Fischer and the bloke was nice enough to let a bunch of us poker players take over a wing of his gaff for a couple of weeks.

Saturday, 26 April 2014

Sleepless in Dublin - UKIPT Trip Report

Main Event Day 1

Whenever I have a live poker tournament coming up I always seem to be on some crazy nocturnal sleep pattern, never managing to adjust in time. It's difficult to suddenly switch from going to bed at noon every day to waking up early enough to play a tourney that starts at noon.

My first ever trip to Dublin, to play in the UK and Ireland Poker Tour, was no exception. I travelled there a day early but still couldn't adjust my sleep pattern, so by the time cards were in the air for Day 1b of the main event I'd already been awake for 12 hours. My poker day was just beginning but my body clock day was coming to an end.

Wednesday, 19 March 2014

Malta Trip Report

After my trip to the Bahamas in January I was back in Scotland for all of two weeks before I had enough of that crap and decided to GTFO. The very best thing that you can do during the winter in Scotland is hibernate, and that gets boring pretty fast.

Malta is somewhere that I'd been planning to visit for over a year but I just never got round to it. During the winter it's one of the warmest countries in Europe and Ryanair have started doing direct 4-hour flights from Edinburgh. So I just booked a cheap flight for the next morning and off I went.

Saturday, 22 February 2014

Bahamas / PokerStars Caribbean Adventure - Trip Report.

After freezing my bollocks off for the whole of December in Prague and Edinburgh, what better way to kick off 2014 than a vacation to the Bahamas? Well, it was kind of a vacation. PokerStars flew me over there for a couple of days of meetings and PR / Social Media training but I planned to spend the rest of the trip outside in the glorious sunshine thawing out those aforementioned frozen testicles.

I hadn't even reached the Bahamas yet before I'd met up with some of my PokerStars Team Online mates. Alex 'Kanu7' Millar was sitting right behind me on the London to Miami flight. Despite us hanging out for a couple of days on the Isle of Man just two months previous he didn't recognize me, even as he stood less than arm's length away directly facing me. Surely I'm not that easily forgettable? His girlfriend told me not to worry about it "he's even walked right past me in the street before." Probably too busy thinking about high level poker strategy to be concerned much with what's happening in the real world.