One man's journey to (every) VIP Club Live party
You might not have been to one, but you're probably familiar images from a the VIP Club live party. They're a bit like false memories. Full of vivid colour, squiggly lights and an oddly familiar face obscured by a slight blur in the background. But they're happy memories, even if you're now disappointed that they're not quite your own.
They're one of the perks of being a PokerStars VIP, trips to places like Berlin, Amsterdam, Sofia and Toronto. Once there you're piled with food, drink, and set loose among people who before you might only have known by screen name. The results are usually quite lively.
Just ask Carletheman. Actually we did, for the simple reason that he's been to all of them. He's seen it all, met everyone, and enjoyed every moment. So it'll come as no surprise that he's going to the next one too, in Athens, Greece, on September 5.
He's no international super star, just a regular PokerStars player who plays cash while studying for a Bachelor degree. A Supernova since 2008 (cue muscle flexing), he started playing using trial and error. Then he took to the internet, reading books and joined forums. Lately he prefers to refine his game by talking to fellow players, which he now does while holding a third cocktail and a plate of food.
So, if you want to find out what these parties are like, here's what he had to say on a PokerStars institution.
PokerStars Blog: What is it about VIP events that you find so irresistible?
Carletheman: So many great things come together. Stars treat the players really well at these events. You get free drinks, free food and all kinds of free stuff in awesome locations.
Then you meet players which you know from online or even real life. When you realize that this guy you are talking to is some regular who you played thousands of hands online against, it's usually a really funny moment.
And one last thing I must add is that these parties are a great excuse to go travelling. I am not sure if I would have gone to Sofia anytime soon, but since you hosted a party there, I've visited Bulgaria now, which was a really cool experience!
Blog: How would you describe a VIP club event to someone who has not been to one?
Carletheman: It's almost the kind of party you would dream of if someone asked you to describe the perfect party. With the only drawback of course that it's usually 90% guys. But that's why the parties start around 8pm, so you can go somewhere else afterwards.
Blog: Which has been your favourite so far?
Carletheman: My favourite one has been Berlin. I went with all my poker playing friends from Hamburg. The party was split into two parts, first we had some pre-drinking with awesome food and games and stuff. And then we went to this fancy nightclub, where a concert was happening that evening. And the players had this huge VIP area balcony over the dance floor to themselves, and free drinks for the whole night. Obviously it was pretty crazy.
Blog: Any memorable moments that stand out?
Carletheman: Oh god so many! Pretty memorable was when I talked to Dylan (the guy organizing all the parties) in Prague, because I had some questions about the venue. It was the first time I talked to him and he actually knew my screen name and who I was.
I can't start on all the drunken shenanigans that always happen. But oh well, I think I must give a shout-out to Karolis for crashing the breakfast buffet in Sofia Hilton Hotel after partying all night. That was indeed very memorable!
Blog: Who were the players you most enjoyed talking to?
Carletheman: In general it is the players who I have never met in real life before, but know well from playing against them online. But to be more precise I will name Matze, Dimi, Karolis, Tom, Henrik, Enny, Igor, Tomas and Jennifer. We met in Sofia and are planning our trip to Athens already.
Blog: What part of it most appeals to you? Is it being part of the poker community or more about just having fun?
Carletheman: Being part of the poker community is part of the fun, so I guess... both?
The next VIP Club live event takes place in Athens on September 5. Carletheman will be there. Find out how to join him by checking out the details on the VIP Club homepage.
Stephen Bartley is a staff writer for the PokerStars Blog.