The long and winding road
I'm writing this just after returning from LAPT Panama. In fact, I've been traveling a lot
lately, including a trip to EPT Barcelona as well as another to a PokerStars gathering in Costa Rica where there was a staff tournament, a freeroll for all of the employees. I actually ended up winning the tournament which, of course, is always a fun thing to do, but that trip was fun for other reasons, too.
There were probably about 100 people participating in the freeroll, and the best part of the experience was getting to talk to a lot of people with whom I communicate via email or maybe meet in passing at various events. It was great to get to know everyone a little bit better. Everyone was super nice to me and they're all obviously very hard workers.
I met a few guys on the language team who do a lot of translation work, as well as people from the support team and the security team. It was interesting to hear about all of the measures they take to keep the site safe from collusion, multi-accounting, and so on. Part of that effort includes having a team who analyze hands, and they are always studying poker and improving their knowledge about the game, like players, really, so they can interpret hand histories and understand every situation to prevent cheating.
Chris Moneymaker was there as well with me, and he and I made a last longer bet. There were two tourneys, and as I say I won the first one. There was a prize of 60,000 FPPs, and I gave it to everyone at the final table which meant those finishing second through ninth all split it up. Then Chris played the second tournament with me and he ended up going deeper and so won our bet.
After Costa Rica I came back to Mexico for a party celebrating our Independence Day. That was the plan, anyway. It turned out I played some tournaments while I was there and had a very deep run in the Sunday 500 where I finished third, which caused me to miss the party.
From there, it was on to LAPT Panama where I had a decent run in the Main Event, finishing 46th out of 570 players. I also played the High Roller and finished fifth, which was good. The whole trip was enjoyable as I have a lot of friends in Panama and we were able to hang out and party a lot.
I'll be back on the road again as I'll be going to Los Angeles (to see my girlfriend, Lynn), to London (for the EPT), and then to France (for the WSOPE and WPT Paris). I'm traveling with a couple of Mexican brothers who have been playing and winning a lot lately, Santiago and Jose Manuel Nadal. They've been winning a lot on the LAPT, and in fact both had deep runs in the WSOP Main Event this year with Jose Manuel finishing 174th and Santiago 278th.
The road can be hard, but it's great to have friends to see and to take the journey with you.
Angel Guillen is a member of Team PokerStars Pro.