The De Meulder heart at WSOP time

In the spring we were playing the Belgium Poker Challenge in Middelkerke and, as a matter of fact, Matthias even won the tournament.

You could say our time there is somewhat the start of a new era for me. Not because of my brother's win, which was great obviously, more so due to a big change in my personal life. Someone that I've known for several years now suddenly came a whole lot closer. I don't know if it was something in the air, like the sea breeze, but it hit me. Sparks entered between the two of us and now things got real...

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It's a little unfortunate that I'm going away for a month for the WSOP just as our new relationship is starting. But I'm very excited about going back to Las Vegas. It is the place to be for poker players during the summer. The plan is to play a lot of tournaments and hopefully manage to do well and make a nice profit.

The WSOP can be stressful, but like we did previous years, we've rented a house. The house is close to the Strip and I will be staying there with some close friends from my hometown.

I'm sure we'll have a good time.

Vegas can be a tough place to be for as long as a month or more, as is our plan. It can really consume you. But being with my brother and some of my close friends together in a house is going to make it easier to handle the ups and downs that can come from playing the Series.

Like I said, I don't really like leaving my new girlfriend behind for a month. But work has to be done.

You can compare it with starting a tournament and having to get up from the table early on and miss a couple of orbits. You miss a bunch of hands and the chance to observe players and everything, then when you come back you have to get reoriented a little, almost like you're starting over.

That said, I feel like she and I have gotten off to a great start. It's like I've been dealt aces and I get to play them every hand -- like I don't have to give them back to the dealer! So that makes me feel pretty good about the relationship, even when having to go away for a month.

While I'm sure I'll have fun at the WSOP, with my new relationship I'm also looking forward to getting back and moving on to the next phase.

Christophe de Meulder is a member of Team PokerStars Pro