Partying with the VIP Club in Hamburg
I can't believe that it has actually been a little more than a year now since the last German PokerStars VIP Club: Live event in Berlin. That event was the very first of its kind for me and was a blast (you can read about it here), so naturally I was looking forward to traveling to Hamburg this year together with my wife for the latest VIP Club: Live party. People from last year's event were messaging me beforehand in excitement, and the event sold out quickly. This could only mean one thing: a much bigger and potentially even better party than last year!
But let me get started on my actual trip report: The wife and I dropped our car early Saturday at Düsseldorf airport and jumped on a short flight to avoid the long and grueling drive from my hometown of Cologne to Hamburg. It's probably a bit like traveling from King's Landing to Winterfell for the Game of Thrones fans among you, the only differences being that Hamburg is a harbor town and the second biggest German city (remember that, it will be of importance later).
Upon arrival and check-in at our hotel we explored the city center for a while and chilled with some good coffee close to the Alster Lake before heading to the party down in the harbor. The location chosen for this event was Au Quai, a very modern and stylish Michelin rated restaurant with an amazing view of the harbor and the famous 'Dockland' building.
The party started with our little group of Team Onliners consisting of Lex, Ike and myself sitting and waiting for customers...well not in a traditional poker sense, but people could vote for us in the upcoming Team Online Battle to have a shot at winning an iPad if they guessed correctly. It was a great opportunity to greet players, as well as take some photos and have a little chat with them. The gamesmanship between the three of us begin immediately as we were trying to hustle people into voting for us; I must admit that being a native German speaker helped in attracting votes.
The first part of the Battle was a German trivia quiz presented by Team PokerStars Pro Jan Heitmann. We had to write down our answers in secret and I managed to make use of my hometown edge as I remembered that the most successful German rock band of all time was the Scorpions, and that Hamburg is the 2nd largest German city. I am a little ashamed I didn't remember the year the Berlin wall was erected, but luckily the other two didn't know either.
Right after the quiz we moved on to the magic trick portion of the Battle. Jan Heitmann showed us a card trick a couple of times in private and we had to perform it in front of an audience. While Lex took this one down with a short and flawless performance, I had a little blackout right in the middle of the trick, and Ike had the crowd entertained by completely botching the second half of his attempt.
My results so far gave me a ten second head start in the final stage: a casino obstacle course. Our course included an egg and spoon race to the black jack table where we had to win one hand to move on, hoola hoop'ing for 10 seconds, throwing a seven at the craps table, and ultimately scoring a hockey goal against Team PokerStars Pro George Danzer. A bad run of cards at blackjack slowed me down, but that was compensated by throwing the first 7 at craps. George then proceeded to fend off 10 shots of mine before I finally scored being ahead of the other two and shipping the entire event this way!
The iPad was handed to a lucky voter of my gang and I was even awarded with a trophy. Ironically it is probably the first (but hopefully not last) trophy I got out of winning a tournament...and even featured beating out two of the strongest poker minds in the world to win. Must be nice to run that good at craps!
After the battle was over we all mingled with the party people and I was finally able to get into some of the great food and free drinks. My wife and I were approached by people we had previously met in Berlin last year as well as a lot of new faces. Besides chatting and taking pictures, we were mainly talking about all things poker. The party went on until after midnight when people were slowly but steadily moving outside to head towards the city centre and continue partying on the famous 'Reeperbahn'. We left the party location as some of the last remaining and headed back to the hotel as our plane back home was leaving early morning again.
All in all it was another awesome event that even topped off my previous VIP Club: Live experiences and I had a blast battling it out against my fellow members of Team Online. It's always a great thing especially for us grinders to be able to meet and mingle with other players in a real life setting with such a great atmosphere. Check out the video below for a glimpse of how it all went down, and I hope to see you at the next one!
Felix Schneiders is a member of Team Online