After detoxing at home for a few weeks from the 2013 World Series of Poker, I had to jet off to my next assignment—the Full Tilt Poker Galway Festival in Ireland. This was my first time to that country and the first time I’d traveled to a foreign country without another PokerNews colleague from the States (though there are plenty of Irish and UK team members here… I guess I’m the one with the accent). Ireland has always been toward the top of my list of places to visit, and it feels amazing to be writing from the Harbor Hotel in Galway, which is on the west coast of the country.
The flight over here was amazing considering I had a whole row in Economy Plus to myself. First time I’ve ever been able to laydown on a flight and it felt good. Three movies (Broken City, Side Effects and Mud) made the time fly. After landing, I had a one-hour car ride through the countryside. I’ve never seen so many horses, sheep and stone walls in my life. Seriously, where do they get all those stones? I also appreciate how they build into the countryside as opposed to the U.S. strategy of bulldozing everything and building on the ruins.
The FTP Galway Festival venue is pretty sick. Imagine two giant beer tents next to each other—one for the poker action and the other a great big lounge. It’s a nice change from the usual casino floors and convention centers. I actually had some time to play, which is a rare occurrence when I travel. The first night I jumped into Event #41 €110 Triathlon NLHE. Unfortunately I couldn’t get anything going and was one of the first people out. Still, it’s cool to be able to say that I’ve played in Ireland.
Fast forward through five days of non-stop work and you’ll get to the FTP UKIPT Galway Party, which turned out to be an unexpected treat packed into 90 minutes. After working a full day, I decided to drop off my stuff and “make an appearance” at the party. I always drink spirits, but the open bar didn’t include that, so “when in Rome”… I ordered a pint of Guinness. By my second round, I had talked my photographer friend Danny Maxwell, who is an Irishman, into taking pictures of me with Viktor “Isildur1” Blom and Gus Hansen.
Blom was first. I had heard the Swede enjoyed his liquor, and apparently that was true because when I nonchalantly asked him for a picture he noticed my full pint and promptly challenged me to a drinking contest. He had just received a full vodka and Red Bull, you see, and despite his attempts for me to give him a head start—his may have been a little fuller but mine was a thicker brew was my argument—we decided to see who could finish there’s first. I’ll just say that I’m born and raised in Wisconsin, and if it’s one thing we know how to do it is drink. I’ll let the pictures tell the rest of the story.
Not long after I managed to get a picture with Hansen (who had denied me an interview earlier in the day). I’m afraid my story concerning that wasn’t nearly as interesting; in fact, it wasn’t interesting at all. Despite that, here is the pic:
On the 22nd of this month, I will be headed to South Florida for the $10-million guarantee at the Seminole Hard Rock. I’m actually going to this event not to live report, but to play. I don’t know if I’ll play the $5,000 buy-in Main Event yet as that price is a little steep for me, but I will be playing a couple of $500 satellites. Other than that I will play some smaller buy-in events, do so pieces for PokerNews from the hyped event and spend some time with my South Florida friends (Mickey Doft, Garry Gates, Jason Mercier, Sam Cohen, Tristan Wade, etc.). I’m also hoping a trip to the watch the Miami Dolphins in preseason action against the Tampa Bay Buccaneers is in order.
I’ll be sure to do a post about that adventure as well as one for Barcelona, which I’ll be headed to straight from Miami to cover the European Poker Tour for the second year in a row. If you’d have told me a few years ago I’d be going to Barcelona twice in one year, well I’d have thought you crazy.
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