Homecoming on the Isle of Man
When I qualified for UKIPT IOM, I looked forward to the idea of my first UKIPT. I knew it would be another good tournament and an great opportunity to visit PokerStars headquarters. I did not imagine it would be the most surprising and enjoyable tournament of the year.
I expected a heavily-secured PokerStars headquarters protecting the global poker system, the integrity of the game, and all the players' dreams. I found that, but I also found something else: a heartwarming company .
The lady who welcomed us at the airport had a particular obliging tone, and from that minute on I noticed that, in the Isle of Man, everybody is trying to offer you a little bit more than just hospitality .
PokerStars' staff was for the first time ever invited to play the official "home" tournament, and they all looked so happy to play. Some were tight as rocks, others were adventurers, but all of them looked like children at the Christmas tree of poker tables. Most of the faces were unknown, but all welcomed me with a friendly, surprising, touching, "Hello Pierre." It felt like an old family reunion where we were all happy to meet again after years!
Most surprisingly, all the personal comments about PokerStars were unanimously loving ones. I never experienced 100% of the employees of a world-wide leader speaking with such praise about their company: "Ah, yes very happy to work here."... "They take care of us so nicely." ..." Enjoying the family company spirit"..." "Great to be an active part of that great adventure."
It went on and on.
It is no secret that PokerStars is successful because it takes such good care of their customers, but I discovered the roots of their success lie in the remarkable care for their people. Even the top Team Pro members who had made a long journey contibuted a special atmosphere in the £1K tournament. Daniel Negreanu was all smiles and came to share his recent triumphs at my table.
Gifts were everywhere and varied; even my two English teachers followed one another at my table. I'm still trying to reach a decent level of English. I usually learn the most from the charming words of Vicky Coren from her abundant online chat, and from the colorful, imaginative, and literary PokerStars Blog posts Brad Willis writes.
The local fairies offered me both, and I was almost ashamed when my luck of cards busted them. But in all fairness, I was delighted to steal a kiss from Vicky and shake hands with the top poker blogger. Brad might have thought that I said "thank you " for his chips, but my thanks were only for his great contribution to the growing love of poker world wide.
I appreciated the Hendon IOM flag from a final table, but above all I realised here in Douglas, Isle of Man, and in the middle of all of these marvelous people how blessed I am to have been elected among millions of poker fans as a Friend of PokerStars. I am more than grateful to share so many heartfelt friendships. I am honoured to have been invited in their team of young geniuses to share with them my experiences and...age diversity.
May the PokerStars shine with luck on all of you!
Pierre Neuville is a Friend of PokerStars and one of the most frequent satellite qualifiers in the world.