Bonding in Byron Bay

2013 is shaping up to be a busy year for me. By the time the WSOP ends in mid-July, I'll only have spent about a month and a half at home in Mexico.

In January I split my time between the Bahamas for the PCA and Australia for the Aussie Millions. That was my fourth trip to Melbourne. Each time I'm there I try to discover or do something new. I'm a big tennis fan, so the Australian Open was definitely on my list this time around. Such a great event. The weather, the location, the people. Too bad Rafa Nadal couldn't make it, I was really hoping for another Nadal vs Federer final. We still saw great action with Murray, Djokovic, and what probably moved people the most, including myself, Sloane Stephens, this 19-year old "kid" beating her ultimate hero, Serena Williams in the quarter finals.

I´ve been really enjoying the summer in Australia, not so much party time but more about relaxing, long walks and eating well, (or at least trying to). I see so many good examples of poker players taking care of themselves through good diets and exercise, and although I´m not very active in the gym department, I´ve been trying to compensate with good food and studying more about it lately. My girlfriend Lynn is actually helping a lot with that. She´s doing a nutrition course, and she's sharing all of it with me. There is so much information that could be confusing at times, but one thing is certain: we know very little about what we should be eating, so fighting that ignorance, I plan to become an educated eater and be aware of what I´m eating.


Lynn and I wound up at Byron Bay after the Aussie Millions ended. Byron Bay is this hippie town in northwest Australia, about two hours by plane from Melbourne. From what I saw, the people there are a mix of very rich people - retired guys with houses who are enjoying life - and low-budget people, like very young surfers living in their cars by the beach. We were planning to visit a few beaches, and neither of us had been to Byron Bay, so it seemed like the perfect idea. Definitely a good call by us. I really enjoyed the time there and would recommend anyone to visit when they come to Australia.

We stayed at an amazing apartment suite near the beach. Team Germany - Igor Kurganov, Philipp Gruissem, Fabian Quoss, Tobias Reinkemeier and Niklas Heinecker were all there at the same apartments, too. They seem like a very cool group of friends, and coincidently this trip was just after they destroyed the competition during the Aussie Millions in all the high roller events, so they were clearly loving life. I didn't really know them well beforehand. I had chatted with them a few times, just at the tables or wherever. In Byron Bay we became much better friends, I think.

In poker, there are some really smart, unique, talented and creative people, which always makes it fun to share off the tables, or away from the strategy forums. We all come from such different cultural backgrounds, and understanding the dynamics of each "region" of the world is something that really interests me. Finding a print of universality regardless if you are Mexican or Russian tell us in some degree who we really are. Before you know, you realize that you share more things that what you would ever expect. Even though to us we might be hearing nonsense sounds, we really all speak the same language.

We had a great time in Byron Bay with our new friends. Since I'm spending so much time traveling this year, I think I'm going to need plenty of moments like that. I still have Skype and WhatsApp to talk to my parents and friends back home in Mexico, but sometimes there's no substitute for low-key quality time with people you genuinely like.

Angel Guillen is a member of Team PokerStars Pro

Angel Guillen
@PokerStars in Team PokerStars Pro