It's not too often that I get to play a poker tournament in my home country, so I was super excited to make the short drive to Middelkerke for the Belgian Poker Series. I bought in to a few events and ended up min-cashing in the Main. When I play in Belgium I always end up running into friends I haven't seen in a while. Plus, this event was at the seaside, which was a bonus for me. I love nature and the sea always makes me very quiet and calm. It's a cool place to play poker.
The day after the BPS Main Event there was a VIP tournament with a bunch of Flemish celebrities. For each one that arrived, I donated $100 to my charity, Gaming for Life. The organization works in cooperation with a local hospital to provide gaming consoles for sick children. Giving these kids something fun to do when they're dealing with surgeries and treatments really brightens their spirits. I'd seen similar initiatives at work abroad and decided to start my own in Belgium. To kick-start the project, I had a campaign on my Facebook page where I matched every dollar donated. We ended up with around $5,000 and now I'm in meetings with the hospital where we're working out how to spend the money. Aside from the gaming equipment, we're also redecorating some of the children's examination rooms with characters from Mario Bros. Now, when the kids are going through a procedure, they'll have something happy to focus on. I hope we can raise enough money this year to expand the program to another hospital.
I'm also excited to report that my boyfriend finally started playing online! He's played in house games with friends for a while, but this is the first time he's really tried to understand strategy and tactics. I've been trying to teach him a little bit and I must say he's a very good student. He has also been enjoying Andre Coimbra's videos about turning $100 into $10,000. I hope he keeps learning fast because I'm really looking forward to discussing hands with him. I think it will be beneficial for both of us. My sister Camille is working hard on her game as well. She came to BPS Middelkerke with me but seemed a bit stressed out when she didn't make Day 2 of the Main Event. I did the best I could to reassure her that it's completely normal and happens to all of us. She still has a lot to learn but I'm proud of her!
Charlotte Van Brabander is a member of Team PokerStars Pro