Leaving the Bahamas without a suntan
I have a confession to make. I'm leaving the Bahamas today and I didn't spend any time in the sun. The only time I've spent outdoors has been walking back and forth between the tournament area on one end of the massive Atlantis resort and the Cove at the other end, a walk that is partially outdoors but entirely on covered walkways. I haven't worn my sunglasses once and my swim trunks are still folded up in the suitcase. I haven't made a single lap of the lazy river. And I am exhausted! I do not feel like someone who has just enjoyed a 10-day caribbean vacation.
But you know what? I'm pretty pleased with that fact. It's been a very good, very productive 10 days. The lazy river is fun and all... but so is playing a ton of high buy-in poker tournaments against most of the best poker players in the world. It requires quite a bit more concentration (and a lot more money, too), but it's so much more rewarding when it goes well. Your best case scenario on the lazy river is that you have a good time, that it's not too windy, your innertube doesn't flip over or smash your foot into a rock you didn't see coming. That's a nice way to spend an afternoon but there's just no way it can compete with the potential upside of a 25K buy-in tournament with more than 200 entries. I played about 60 hours of live poker this past week against so many formidable opponents from all over the world. That's a pretty exhilarating feeling.
I also had the chance to spend a good amount of time with friends who I only see once or twice a year, at the PCA or the World Series, the two huge tournaments pretty much everyone reliably shows up for. I got to spend time getting to know my PokerStars Team Online teammates better. I got to participate in a q&a session about buying and selling action alongside David Williams and Vanessa Selbst. And I got to spend several hours doing guest commentary for the EPT Live Stream of the best final table we've seen since EPT Monaco last spring. These are the sorts of times that, even when I'm on a kind of brutal down streak, I'm always sure to take a moment to appreciate how lucky I am.
Even if an annual 10-day trip to the bahamas turns out not to be so glamorous in the way you'd expect it to be. It's not always waterslides and sunshine and Nobu every night. Turns out it's something better: it's twelve hours a day of live tournament poker at the highest level, of being immersed in a world where everything is poker, every conversation you overhear in a restaurant is about a poker hand.
So, I'm exhausted. And I have one more long day in front of me before I do get to spend a little time on real vacation. Today I'm flying from Nassau to Toronto to Vancouver to Manila to Hong Kong, my favorite city, where I'm going to be spending a little time before heading down to Melbourne for the Aussie Millions. There's a 50HKD tournament in Macau I've got my eye on as well...