EPT12 Malta: Moreira de Melo receives travel advice from poker players
Poker may be the American game in origin but it's truly the world's game these days. Think of it as the mental game version of football (soccer), kind of. Even though, here in Malta, we're at a European Poker Tour stop, players have come from all over the world to take part.
Take table 25 for instance. Six players have taken their seats so far, and the five that we recognise, all hail from different countries, from the farthest-flung places on earth.
Seat 1. Fatima Moreira de Melo. The Team PokerStars SportStar comes from the Netherlands.
Seat 2. Doug Lee. A Las Vegas-based professional poker player who's playing his first EPT event.
Seat 3. Simon Trumper. Card room manager and poker player from the United Kingdom.
Seat 4. Yann Dion. A professional poker player from Quebec, Canada.
Seat 6. Benjamin Richardson. Another professional poker player who originates from Tasmania, Australia.
Five different countries across three different continents are represented from that group of players and all have been brought together in a country that none of them hail from. One of the magic things about the game of poker is that's it's a leveller. It doesn't matter what country you're from, what you wear, what you believe in - every one sits down with 30,000 chips and get two cards at a time to do their best with.
If you've followed the EPT coverage - either via blogs or EPTLive - you'll already know that Moreira de Melo likes to talk. For her, the game is as much about interacting with players as it is about the competition. Arriving at the table, she was already in full-flow with Trumper, who was offering her sightseeing advice for Melbourne, a city that she wants to visit in January for APPT Aussie Millions.
"Make sure you do the Great Ocean Rd," he suggested. "It's beautiful and the best time to do it is at sunset."
One might not go to poker players for advice about a lot of things; but travel advice is certainly a subject they can advise on. The job requires them to travel the globe, and often, they have a lot of time on their hands to discover all a city has to offer.
"I like Australians and I want to go back," said Moreira de Melo, "I just got to figure out the flying: Holland to the Bahamas to Melbourne. How do I do that? What route should I take?"
"Maybe via LA," contributed Richardson. "Straight over the ocean," he continued to Moreira de Melo when she dug further in the route options from the PCA.
"But how so I book all the flights?" she asked. "I want to book them all at the same time."
"Buy a round the world ticket," suggested Trumper. "That's what I do and I get to stop in five cities."
"It's easy these days," said Dion, entering the conversation. "Online, it's easy to book multiple flights."
"Oh really?" Responded an attentive Moreira de Melo. "That's really cool, I'll do that!"
Lee was sat there listening to the conversation unfold and seemed aware he couldn't really contribute. "This is my first ever EPT," he said in hushed tones. "I live in Las Vegas and never really travel."
"You like Malta?" asked Trumper who was close enough to hear him.
"I like it here," responded Lee. Hopefully the conversations surrounding him will inspire him to travel more.
From there, the table conversation got back to the wonders of Australia and Moreira de Melo talked about her time representing Holland at the 2000 Sydney Olympics, where she felt trapped in the Olympic Village. It sounds as if she really needs to play the Aussie Millions and see a bit more of the fabulous country. Keep an eye out for her in our coverage of that festival, to see if she finally returns to Australia after a 15-year absence.
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