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Paris, Kiev and Prague!

by Eugene Katchalov |  Published: Dec 28, '12


After leaving Asia, we arrived in Paris in mid November with Elky and Lincon and rented a nice 3 bedroom apartment in the center of Paris.  Elky had some meetings to go to and play the FPS and for me, I just went mostly because I wanted to continue training, enjoy Paris and just the geographical convenience of it because I had to be in Kiev a little over a week later.   Paris is very famous for its food and me, being a huge food lover, although I am on a diet, I really wanted to use my once-a-week cheat days properly and knew that I could definitely do so there J.  Upon our arrival Elky and Lincon took me to Kaiser bakery which is quite famous for being one of the best in Paris…and that’s saying a lot!  As I couldn’t really have too many sweets, I sampled a few of the breads and was completely blown away by the taste.  Suffice it to say that whenever I will be back in Paris next, I will most definitely pay them a visit.

quite possibly the best bakery in France

As I would be spending about 10 days in Paris, I decided that I may as well play the FPS (French Poker Series) main event.  It was a 1k Euro buy-in with over 800 players and so turned out to be a good tournament even though the buy-in is somewhat smaller then usual for me.  I ended up making the money, but having lost 2 huge pots, which were essentially coin flips for double-the-average stacks, I couldn’t survive and busted.  A few days later a friend of mine flew in and it was time to go sight seeing.  After seeing many of the famous and beautiful landmarks in Paris, it was time to fly to Kiev for a week full of work, interviews, making an appearance at the Pokerstars Academy and most importantly to start introducing Elky to the Russian language!   My dad had really helped out and had his friend set us up with transportation and an incredible apartment in the center of Kiev large enough for all of us with beautiful views.  As it was Elky’s and Lincon’s first trip to Kiev, I suspected that we may have some adventures, but what I didn’t expect was just how soon they would start.  Upon settling in into our apartment sometime in the late afternoon, me, Lincon and his fiancé Petra went to go food shopping and Elky stayed behind because he was extremely tired and wanted to take a nap.  About 2 hours later we come back to the apartment with about 20 shopping bags full of food, we find our landlord standing outside the door and knocking for what she said was already 15 minutes without Elky answering.  Even though we all had keys, Elky managed to lock the door from the inside and we had no way in!  Being the heavy sleeper that he is, calling him was unsuccessful and we were left with very few options while waiting on the stairwell.  After considering almost everything that we could possibly come up with, including calling the firemen to scale the 3rdfloor and come in through the window, we realized that our only real option was to wait him out while he’s in his beauty sleep.  About 30 mins have now passed by and it was around 6:30 and I knew that he had to wake up a little before 9pm because he had to play at exactly that time on   While we hoped that he would wake up earlier, we ended up sitting on that very cold stairwell, banging on the door every so often, with our 20 bags of food for a full 3 hours before finally at 8:58pm Elky opens the door and still in his sleepy state simply asks “Why are you guys sitting around here”??   After blowing off some steam, we all laughed it off and this will certainly remain a very funny memory from our first night in Kiev.

Us waiting on the stairwell with the shopping bags and the landlord ringing the doorbell nonstop

Me and Elky posing in some Ukrainian gear :)


Me and Elky taping for a local MTV show

On December 3rd it was time to play poker again and so we all flew to Prague to first play the WPT and a week later the EPT.  We settled in the Hilton for the full 2 weeks and it’s really one of my favorite stops on the EPT tour.  Not only is Prague a beautiful city where you could spend days walking around, but the hotel itself has probably the best hotel gym I’ve ever seen outside of Las Vegas and since we train every day, this is very important to us.   Poker itself was quite uneventful for me, and from the 7 tournaments that I played, I only cashed once and that was in the 10k Euro high roller at the EPT.  December 15th we had the last live events of the year and on the 17th I finally went home to NY to spend time with my family for the holidays.   2012 has probably been the worst year in poker for me as I barely had any results and it’s funny how streaks sometimes work as 2011 was by far my best year.   However, I attribute my losses in this year not to bad luck, but mostly to some bad play on my part in general and lots of experimentation with some new plays that I’ve seen people make.  Even though it didn’t work out for me this year, I’m honestly thankful for having experienced all of it, because it has taught me a lot about myself.  It’s forced me to again work hard on my game and to remember some successful approaches that used to work for me that I may have forgotten over the last year.  I still love poker as much as I ever have and greatly enjoy the new-found interest in working on my own game.  I’m very much looking forward to 2013 and feeling very confident about my chances.   I hope all you guys have a happy upcoming New Year and may it be your most successful yet!

Beautiful Prague

The post Paris, Kiev and Prague! appeared first on Eugene Katchalov.

Eugene Katchalov has been a professional poker player since 2003 and is a World Series of Poker and World Poker Tour champion. The Ukrainian native has won over $8 million on the live tournament circuit and is a member of Team PokerStars Pro.

You can read more about Eugene on his website, and follow him on Twitter and Facebook.

Any views or opinions expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not necessarily represent those of the ownership or management of
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