Living the live life & working on my brain

I've been playing a lot of live poker over the last few weeks. It was nice to be on the road again, and even nicer to pick up some good results.

The first stop was at the UKIPT Isle of Man. I finished second in the Main Event there a year ago, so I was pretty pumped to go back there again. It's always fun going to the Isle of Man as well as to reunite with all of the PokerStars staff. The atmosphere there is great as well as everything is played in a theater where spectators can watch, and a lot were there watching, too.

I finished in the money again this time. Speaking of meeting up with PokerStars staff members, it was Lee Jones who knocked me out in 38th. That's right -- Lee recklessly destroyed our working relationship just to get deeper in a tournament!

Right after that I played UKIPT London, which was quite the contrast after the relative calm and serenity of the Isle of Man. I was staying at Leicester Square right in the middle of all the hustle and bustle.

I managed to finish in the money again in the Main Event at UKIPT London as well, ending up just inside the final 60.


It's always bittersweet, of course, to get somewhat deep in a tourney -- deep enough to start thinking about the final table and the big money -- and then get knocked out. You're almost more bummed out than if you get knocked out shy of the cash altogether, but that's just human nature, I guess. I was very happy, though, to cash again and keep up my streak of cashing in UKIPT events -- four out of four!

EPT London was next up, and again I did well in the Main Event, making it to Day 4 and finishing in 28th. That was a nice run to cash in all three of those tournaments and do better than just min-cashing, too. I also think EPT London probably attracts one of the tougher fields on the tour, so it was very satisfying to do well.

In fact things went so well once I got home I was wishing I could still play, but I'll be taking a break for a little while. One of things I plan to do on this break is to take what looks like a very interesting course in human profiling with an expert in the field. I know Leo Margets recently did a similar course on a different topic (emotional intelligence), and I'm very curious to see what I can learn about profiling, body language, and picking up on people's intentions -- to train my brain, you might say, before the PCA in January.

When it comes to poker, there are so many ways to keep learning and preparing yourself to improve. I felt like during all of those tournaments I learned a lot, and of course it was nice to have that confirmation of good results, too. But even if you don't cash you still can learn every time you play, and I think you can find other ways to learn, too, even when you aren't at the tables -- to keep mentally "in shape" and thus be in a position to perform your best when you play again.

I hope these mental workouts serve me well when I get back to the tables.

Fatima Moreira de Melo is a PokerStars SportStar