It’s an indescribable feeling to return to a spot where you’ve just won a title. You’re highly self-conscious of your skills and your game, you want to win the title again and you have high expectations of yourself. These are the emotions and the dreams poker, and the titles we’ve won, can make us feel. These emotions and dreams are what really pushes a player forward and give him extra positive energy.

In my last blog, I told you the awesome story of my trip to the Merit Hotel in Cyprus and the insane run which ended up with me winning a title – the Main Event. I promised you to come back to Cyprus in May for another event and so I did, with the plan, the hope and the dream to do it one more time.

This time I was particularly happy to play the event because partypoker sponsored it. This, combined with it being a beautiful place to visit, meant I was really looking forward to the trip. It did not disappoint.

The organisation was as good as last time, maybe even a bit better and the range of events and the mixture of players was great to see. I couldn’t wait to start playing when I arrived. Here is my experience of the event…could I make it 2 titles in a row?

Day 1 – Lets get started!

Right after I arrived to the Merit Hotel in Cyrpus, right by the sea, I jumped straight into the action, playing Day 1A of the $2.200 Event I won last time, with a good feeling and a strong mindset. Without any spectacular hands or spots, I managed to reach the next day, so that is what I consider a good start.

Later, I decided to play a $500 + $ 500 Knock Out Event and ended up finishing in 8th place, which left me with mixed feelings. Of course it’s not a bad position, but I cannot deny that I was disappointed to reach the final table and not get closer to another title. I really did feel that there had been more in it for me but with cashing and reaching Day 2 in my first two tournaments, I probably couldn’t complain too much!

Day 2 – A day off or not?

The next day was Day 1B of the $ 2.200 Event, so it could have been a day off for me, but instead I decided to play a Satellite for the $ 10.000 High Roller. Sadly, I soft-bubbled in 12th with eight places paid. This was a real disappointment and I then stopped playing to focus on the next day – Day 2 of the $ 2.200 Event. I guess this is something you really have to learn as a poker player: “Stop playing to protect your mindset for a higher goal!” It’s so important and sounds so easy but it’s really hard to learn and follow that simple rule.

Day 3 – Shake it off and focus.

I moved on and focused on Day 2 of the $ 2.200 Warm-up Event but, as a fun fact, busted just like I did the last time I played that event. Unimpressed, I re-entered and managed to spin that second bullet up, just like last time. I finally made it to Day 3 with an average stack of around 40 BB.

Motivated from that experience, I played the $ 10.000 High Roller straight after and managed to reach Day 2 there too. It seemed like I had managed to shake off my bad luck from the previous day and had made it into a promising position…so far.

Day 4 – I’ve been here before, haven’t I?

The next day there was again Day 3 of the Warm-up Event and Day 2 of the High Roller Event on the schedule. This was scheduled the same as it was on my last trip and for me it seemed like a good omen.
After a long day, I managed to reach the final day of the Warm-up Event with 24 players left and the dream was still alive to make a second final table and maybe even to win a second title in that event. In addition to that dream, I also reached Day 3 of the High Roller Event, though I still wasn’t in the money quite yet. So far, so good. Nothing spectacular at all but still a solid performance…and I wanted more.

Day 5 – Just keep focused and play your A-Game!

Starting the final day of the $ 2.200 Warm-up Event, I really tried to bring my A-Game. However, due to some inexplicable faults in my game play during some important hands, I busted in a disappointing 11th place. I’ve really tried to process and analyse my decisions in those situations but I still can’t explain why those faults happened.

Sometimes humans just make mistakes, even players with a good mind set. You can’t always be at the top of your game. That’s part of the game and you have to accept that even if it still leaves a bitter taste in the mouth.

I tried my best to overcome my disappointment and focus on the Day 3 of the High Roller Event that was still to come. Unfortunately, I busted that too before reaching the money.

It felt a bit like a punch in the gut at first and I was stunned. From an objective point of view it could definitely be seen as a decent trip – I made an 8th place and an 11th place, both in the money and not too bad results. However, I just wasn’t happy with my game play at all and I knew I could have done better. Anyway, I tried to move on and free my mind from any doubts to be able to focus on the upcoming Main Event on the next day.

Day 6 – Mind set is about getting back up and keeping going

I really wanted to do better in the $ 5.000 Main Event with a guaranteed prize pool of $ 3.000.000 and I had a beautiful start, with a 100 BB double up in the 3rd hand of the event. I avoided making any mistakes and was able to reach Day 2 of the Event without any further big highlights but solid game play, which brought back a lot of my confidence.

Day 7 – The risk of repetition

Even though I had a good feeling for the Main Event Day 2, it ended up as the Warm-Up Event did on Day 2. I couldn’t find a good spot and busted.

Instead of being annoyed about it, I just looked at the nice mixture of professional and recreational players and decided to rebuy again. I really gave it my best to spin up my second bullet in that friendly and familiar field of players, just like I managed to do in the Warm-up Event. In the end though, I unfortunately failed to do so. It was a quick ending to my adventure in the Main Event and of course was not the ending I hoped for.

Particularly in poker it’s not possible to force luck and even though in that moment I really felt like my mind set was tested, I recognised were still some nice events to come to change things around.

Day 8 – the Mix-Max (6-max)

After a long week, I chose to play Day 2 of the Mix-Max (6-max) Event for $ 1.500. I have to say I thoroughly enjoy playing 6-max events and would consider calling them my absolute favourites.

No matter how much you like a format, sometimes you just run as bad as you can and that is what happened to me here. I needed three bullets to make it into the money, only to lose four flips in a row and bust shortly after reaching the paid places. Retrospectively, I would say that I played my best game in that tourney but I was incredibly unlucky and I didn’t even manage to break even due to the three bullets I invested.

Last but not least, I played a $ 1.000 + $ 1.000 Bounty Event, but after two bullets I had to admit that it was not meant to be this time.

Overall I cashed in three of seven events but the cashes were insufficient for breaking even on the trip. So, from that point of view it really was a disappointing and unsatisfying poker experience for me, particularly because of the lack of quality in my game play from time to time.

Poker – it’s more than cashes and titles

It might sound strange but even if the trip wasn’t as glorious for me as previously, based on my cashes and a second title, in my opinion the whole event was great for the community taking part. Almost every guaranteed prize pool was exceeded significantly and the positive and familiar atmosphere of the poker community was unique during the whole week. This is something you do not find very often at poker events these days.

I met some interesting people again and even made some new friends, which made me forget the results for a time and this keeps me looking forward to another trip to Cyprus hopefully in the near future. Watch this space at partypoker LIVE for the next scheduled events.

That, in my eyes, is the difference between a good poker trip and a special one. It’s not only the cashes you make or the titles you win but the experience you gain, the friends you make and the true wish to return to the place as soon as possible.

Poker far too often is reduced to the cashes, the titles, the bracelets and the fame but the true essence of poker is found beneath all that in my opinion and we all have to find it for ourselves. I found it and I would like to thank everyone who made this trip and makes my other trips unforgettable.

What do you guys think? What’s the importance of poker for you?

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