Not that kind of bet
Last fall, I watched my friends Eugene Katchalov and ElkY roll into the EPT San Remo on bicycles. Drenched in sweat, they popped champagne and smiled for the cameras, having cycled almost 100 km from Cannes, France. It was the result of a prop bet they came up with during the WCOOP, and instead of the loser making the journey solo, they decided to take it together. It sparked an idea. I wanted to raise the stakes when it came to working on my own fitness, so I turned to ElkY and Eugene and proposed a bet of my own.
We decided that each of us would select a competition in our home country for all three of us to participate in. I picked a triathlon in Rio. It involves a 10 km run, a 40 km bike ride, and a 1.5 km swim. Right now, I don't know if I could finish one part of the triathlon, let alone all three! Eugene chose a race called the Urbanathlon, which takes place in New York City. It's a ten-mile race and along the way you encounter all sorts of crazy obstacles like climbing over walls, maneuvering through traffic jams, and jumping over taxicabs. ElkY picked what I think is the hardest race of them all--the Tough Mudder. This one requires serious conditioning to finish and the obstacles are just insane, like crawling through tunnels, jumping in ice water, and even being electrocuted!
We are going to put some money for charity on the line, but this bet isn't about money. And although all of us are really competitive people, it's not about winning or losing either. It's about improving our lives, getting into better physical shape, and supporting each other along the way. We only have seven months to train, and are going to jump-start the process with a week of training in Rio de Janeiro. ElkY and Eugene have rented a house in Barra da Tijuca and are bringing out their trainer, Lincon. He's a former UFC fighter and now travels around the world with the two of them.
I met Lincon for the first time at the PCA. He's such a nice guy and incredibly professional when it comes to how he trains ElkY and Eugene. They invited me to work out with Lincon and at my first session I thought I was going to die. He put me through a circuit that was supposed to keep my heart rate up for 45 minutes straight. He made me run on the treadmill, then jump over to the bicycle, then run again as fast as I possibly could. It never stopped. And that's just the morning session. You get to rest a little bit, then do it all over again in the afternoon. It was pretty tough for me, but I kept up with them for four or five days while I was in the Bahamas. In the end I was really happy I did it because it made me feel so much better. I decided on that trip that until we finished the competitions, I was going to travel to poker tournaments with ElkY, Eugene, and Lincon. Rather than staying in hotels with all the other poker players, they rent houses and stick to a special diet and exercise regimen. It will not only keep me on track for the bet, but I think it will help my poker as well.
So wish me luck in Rio. I'll be the fat guy gasping for breath next to the two really fit Europeans!
Andre Akkari is a member of Team PokerSTars Pro from Brazil