Poker travel is no kiddie game

Well, it's been an interesting year, to say the least. Poker has provided me a lot of great opportunities, including the ability to travel and see the world. I have been on the road fairly consistently ever since I had my first big win at EPT Kyiv back in 2009. Of course, with travel sometimes comes the occasional difficulty, and I'm afraid that has kind of been my story so far in 2012.

Earlier this year, once we arrived at the end of Season 8 of the European Poker Tour and the Grand Final in Monte Carlo, I turned in my documents to get my visa to go play the World Series of Poker. That was not long before the start of the WSOP, near the end of May.

In Russia it's not very difficult to get a visa, although usually I am in a situation where I don't have very long to get it done. And this time things didn't really go according to plan.

When I didn't get a response right away, I started calling over and over and asking "Where's my visa?" Unfortunately it wasn't until August 10th that I got a paper telling me that they had lost my passport with my visa!


I can only laugh now, but it was disappointing at the time -- kind a nightmare, really. I missed the WSOP, and also missed EPT Barcelona (the first event of Season 9). I was planning to play a lot both in Las Vegas and in Spain. I actually won a bracelet at the WSOP in 2011, in the $1,000 no-limit hold'em event -- the last one before the Main Event -- which really made me want to get back this past summer. But it just wasn't in the cards (so to speak).

Kind of a sick story, for me. This was the first time I'd ever run into trouble with traveling, and I'll admit I let my emotions kind of get to me a little about it at first. But then I tried to look at the bright side -- I saved some money, and there will be more tournaments and chances to play.

The fact that poker teaches you patience probably helped me when it came to dealing with this setback. I've folded a lot of hands, and even though I've never had to wait a couple of months to play one, I've had some practice waiting for things to change and for spots to come up where it is finally favorable to play.

The good news is I already have the passport situation worked out for my next travels. I'm planning to spend some time in Thailand getting some rest. From there I may also hop over to Macau for the big ACOP Main Event, and I'm about 90% certain I'll be playing EPT Prague in December as well.

Like I say, I expect the traveling side of things to go fine. Here's hoping I run well at the tables, too!

Max Lykov
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