Bad traveler

October 23, 2013

As far as poker is concerned, you might say I haven’t traveled well.

I have played at least two European Poker Tour Main Events each of the last seven years, and I have never cashed a single time. Not once! This last EPT in London, I could have folded to a min-cash, but I bluffed off too many chips near the bubble and went out two spots before the money.

Generally when you aren’t doing well, it’s because of a combination of bad play and bad luck and if you look closely enough into things you can self-assess accordingly. But I have to think there’s another factor in play when it comes to my EPT experiences.

Even though I’m able to sleep on planes which makes me think I shouldn’t be jet-lagged when I travel to tournaments, this pattern of results in EPT Main Events makes me think that traveling must have had some effect on my results. Part of the reason I have probably done poorly when going to Europe is that I usually have to tend to business back home, so that will sometimes put me on an unusual sleep schedule.


I’ve just gone on another trip during which I played the EPT in London and then moved on to play the WSOPE in Paris. Instead of planning on making a lot of money, I lowered my expectations in terms of the tournaments and instead focused on my quality of life. I spent more time eating at some good restaurants and seeing some sights with my significant other.

I think this is probably good advice for most people taking these trips, namely, to plan to have a good time — go clubbing or sight-seeing or do whatever is the thing you like to do — and be sure to enjoy yourself and the experience of traveling.

Professional poker players tend to think solely in monetary terms and judge all of their play according to how much they’ve won or lost. But I’m suggesting that when it comes to taking trips such as these, it might be better not to make one’s results ultimately determine whether or not a trip has been successful or worthwhile. After all, if money is the only measure of a person’s life, then that life is likely going to be somewhat shallow.

When I think back to the best European trip I’ve taken, it was when I went to Paris several years ago with three of my children, my brother, and some other friends. We spent a day at the Louvre, we had lots of good meals, and enjoyed a lot of great family time, and by the time I played in the tournament it really didn’t matter whether I did well or not, because it was already a good trip no matter what.

That’s how I plan to approach all of my trips in the future. The plan is to have a good trip and create some good memories, and if I can accomplish that then the trip will be a success. In other words, then I’ll be able to say not only that I’m well traveled, but that I’ve traveled well, too.

Barry Greenstein is a member of Team PokerStars Pro


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