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Holiday travels and visiting PokerStars office

by Eugene Katchalov |  Published: Aug 21, '12


End of July and beginning of August is probably the longest time that a professional poker player has off from poker tournaments.  Me and Elky decided to make the best of this “vacation” time and planned out a trip starting in Colorado and then traveling all over Asia.   Neither one of us has every been to Colorado before and the only reason we went there, was to go to a famous longevity clinic near Denver for 3 days of rigorous testing.  We planned and timed our whole trip way in advance and being big “Batman” fans, we even timed our last night in Denver to coincide with the midnight opening of the movie in the US.  This would turn out to give us the scare of our lives.

Our original plan was to find a movie theater close to our hotel but we happened to have made a friend that worked at the clinic and she invited us to show around Denver and also take us to see “Batman”.  We were happy that we didn’t need to look for a theater in an unknown to us city, and went to a midnight showing not too far from our hotel.  After the movie was over and everyone was coming out, I noticed that many people were on their phones and unusually quiet!  I then overheard something about a shooting nearby, went on on my phone and saw the “Breaking News” alert stating that there was a (now infamous) mass shooting at a midnight showing of “Batman” in Aurora, Colorado.  Our theater was about a 15 minute drive from this theater and our hotel was a short 5 minute drive from it!!  We were in complete shock.   If we didn’t make this new friend who would choose a theater for us, it would have been HIGHLY likely that we would have chosen that same theater where the shooting took place to watch the movie.  As you can imagine we were in absolute shock for the next few days.  We also found some dark humor in how ironic it would have been to travel to Colorado to visit a Longevity Clinic to help us live longer lives and then to possibly end up getting shot or killed.

After that scary incident we were quite happy to start our vacation in Asia and concentrate on enjoying ourselves and relaxing.  We spent a total of 3.5 weeks in Asia starting 1 week in Koh Samui, Thailand, then 3 days in Bangkok.  After that we flew to Seoul, Korea for 1 week and finally spent the last week in Tokyo, Japan.   I really can’t say enough about how amazing Asia is.  The food– Starting from the incredible sweetness of the fruits in Thailand, some of the best beef barbeque I’ve ever had in Korea and finally, unbelievable tasting sushi and Matsusaka beef (highest grade of beef even higher than Kobe) in Tokyo.  The people—definitely the best overall service than anywhere I’ve ever been to before in Europe, US etc.  Tips are also not expected or accepted so you know that it is much more of a cultural thing rather than something just about money.  The prices—while korea and Japan were quite pricey, Thailand was incredibly cheap.  I got a professional 90 minute massage there for $8.

After Tokyo we went to London for 1 day to visit the headquarters of Pokerstars and attend a couple of meetings.   The next day our vacation was officially over and we flew to Barcelona to start off season 9 of the EPT with the 50k Euro buyin Super High Roller.  While I enjoyed the vacation, I was really itching to get back into competing in Poker.   I finished 24/64 in the tournament and while I didn’t receive any money for it, I was excited to play the main event coming up in which I placed 3rd the year before.  Alas, the day before I was to play day 1B, I got some very bad news from home.  My grandfather passed away and I had to fly back home for the funeral and to spend some time with my family.  So, Barcelona was not meant to be for me this year, but I am excited to get back on my poker “journeys” and will be playing a full schedule of WCOOP about which I will write about in my next blog.  Also, me and Elky will have a very fun bet on who performs better overall and will be on the WCOOP radio every day with updates on who’s winning and will definitely have some funny rewards/punishments for he loser in the end.

The post Holiday travels and visiting PokerStars office 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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