So, I’m sitting here at the NH Hotel (Center) in Amsterdam waiting to fly to Paris, France in a couple of days to play the 10k Euro tourney at the Aviation Club. I’ve been here for a couple days relaxing and it’s been great. Seeing the advancement in society among these Europeans make me wonder if the United States will EVER catch up to their level and standards. The truth is, these Europeans are just naturally smarter than the average Americans. What makes this possible are the diverse environments they grew up in, the cultural differences that they innate, and their individualism mentality. These people grow up wanting to be individualistic, so that if they were ever to bump into an American in the future, they’d be more prepared and would know exactly what to say to them, compared to normal Americans, who went through normal public schooling. Anyways, swaggering from the topic, in the past couple months. I’ve been mostly busy travelling around the world playing poker tournaments and vacationing. What most people don’t understand is that these tournaments are extremely exhausting, and adding to all the travelling involved, it makes it very tough to be able to focus throughout the tournament. Also, there’s the dilemma involved where you don’t want to tire yourself out before the series of the biggest poker tournaments in the world in WSOP. So, I guess what I’ve been doing is pretty risky, considering that I want to do so well in this year’s WSOP, but in the end, I’m glad I chose that choice. Anyways, I’ve been doing quite well in the past couple previous tournaments. I’ve been making it deep in like EVERY tournament I’ve been playing (pretty crazy thinking about it all actually. lol). However, I have to admit, I did go complete mind blank at the 25k Bellagio tourney in late April. I had 1.4 million in chips at the 1500-3000 level. Do you know how that feels to have that many chips which such miniscule blinds?? It’s like inexplainable. Anyways, I decided not to discuss this with anybody, since theoretically, I knew I’d be the first to tell you not to do such a dumb thing in that spot. I guess that’s what created that saying, “Do as I do, don’t do as I say.”
I got paid somewhere around 40k US for my effort. Even though I truly, truly believed that I was going to win the tournament, I’m still glad that I saw some accolade for it. But that didn’t stop me from my constant thinking of the blow-up that I made with 1010 against AA.
After Bellagio, I went to Monte Carlo, Monaco, with my friend X, which I’ll just call him that just in case. X and I went to Monte Carlo expecting it to be just another tournament, and came back (although I’m still in Europe) with a complete surprise. This feeling of surprisement is by far the most magical feeling. For instance, seeing the different cultures collide, was a beautiful thing. They did it so smoothly, and it just kept making me wonder if the United States will ever get to the level. It felt like I left US in 2009, and went to 2029, still living like 2009 in 2029 and wanting to adjust to 2029. So I decided this is where I need to be.
In Monte Carlo, we stayed in Novotel which when we were first looking for rooms told us it was only 10-minute walking distance to the actual casino where the tournament was held. However, later we found out it was more close to a little over an hour walk. It was very beautiful there. The scenery is unmatched. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a better-looking views from a hotel room in my life as I did in Tmay’s room. That was just stunning. Anyways, the tournament started off great, was a little bumpy in the middle, and then at the end I really got screwed in a pot where I got rivered and although I did pay him off on the river, it was a complete blank and I did put him on Aces Up, but I still called him. But I was just annoyed by the river in such a critical spot in the tournament. Then it happens.
It’s morning, playing a little online poker, still a little shocked by my beat and busting out in like 40th place, X is chillin’ in the room getting ready for Day 2 of the High Rollers tournament, I get a messaged from a friend on AIM. He tells me my friend Jackie passed away. My first reaction was a complete numbness to my whole body. I just couldn’t comprehend the words like I knew I was supposed to. It felt completely indescrible. Who would murder such a beautiful, loving, caring, trustworthy person? I just didn’t get it. Who would dare throw the most warm-hearted person in the world down a 11th floor hotel building?? What the fuck! I’ve been trying my hardest to get by with this whole situation, but it’s hard. I might not have known her as well as certain people, but I did know her. I knew how she was and what kind of person she was. You’ll be very missed Miss Jackie Rhee (1984-2009).
The day I found out about Jackie’s death, I decided to play the 5k Euro 6-handed while sweating my friend in the High Rollers. I felt like it was the best thing to do to get things off my mind as much as I could. So, when I got to the casino to register, they told me the person in front of me was “the last” entrant. I was completely shocked! I felt like i NEEDED to play this tournament and couldn’t let anything stop me. So, I tried to use all the possible charm I had left in me, and she somehow agreed to register me in. Although, I ended up bubbling this tournament with some ridiculous beat I’d rather not talk about because it’s almost unbelievable, I had a great time expressing my complete inner feelings through this short-handed where I was able to play more hands with more variance.
Now we went off to Venice, Italy. I honestly didn’t know what to expect. All I have heard was that it’s a city by the bay, and you have to travel everywhere by boats and ships. Also I, having this strange phobia of eating certain type of food, already prejudicely stereotyped the whole city in itself. But, unlike I expected, I have able to eat the food there! The seafood was just fabulous. This one seabass dish called “Brazino con Vendure” had the freshiest feeling I’ve ever had eating fish. Also, the casino where the tournament was held, was fabulous. It was very high-classed (trait which completely attracts me about Europe) and had a great staff behind the whole ordeal. So X and I decided to play on day 1a, so that if we busted early, we could go back and could’ve tried to make it to Jackie’s funeral which was going to be held on Saturday. The tournament was quite possibly the most softness high buy-in tournament I’ve ever played. Long story short, I played all day 1 of 9 levels, and another level of day 2 feeling extremely confident, and ended up busting and feeling more miserable about the fact that I blew a huge opportunity of beating up on with such easy players. By the way, X ended up busting on day 1. So, we decided to GTFO and where else better than Amsterdam! Right?? Now, X left couple days ago, and I’m still here waiting on the Paris tourney; that’s where I’m currently standing.
I have decided to move to “somewhere” in Europe. Not only are the people and the environment so amazing, the tournaments here are still growing while it’s dying in the US, and most importantly, it’d be where I’d be the most happiest. So, I don’t know exactly where and the exact dates yet, but I have made a firm decision to move to Europe sometime after the WSOP. I’m just going to give it a try and see what happens from it. Maybe it will be the beginning of a new chapter in my long, adventurous life…