Life On the Road: Seoul
It's been a little while since my last Life On the Road. In all honesty, I've just gotten a bit back-logged in chronicling my adventures. The last edition was about my time spent in São Paulo, Brazil, and all the fun I had during Carnival week. Since then, I've been on one work-related trip and that was to Seoul, South Korea, for the Asia Pacific Poker Tour.
After Brazil, I really got back into full-on grind mode and was banging out the hours on the felt. Mainly playing live cash games at Aria, I went through a bit of a downswing which came from a combination of my game being a bit rusty and also some run bad. It happens and you just have to battle through it. I'm not here to rant about that, though. I'm here to tell you about my travels. The reason I brought it up was because when I go into grind mode, I tend to not want to leave the felt. This also means not looking forward to my work travels much. I know, I know, I shouldn't complain and I should be happy to go. I'm not complaining, I'm just saying that I get in the zone and want to grind, grind, grind. Also, I was trying to get myself back into shape and all the craziness of traveling had knocked me a bit off track. Wanted to stay focused and it's hard to when traveling.
Needless to say, I wasn't exactly super ecstatic about heading to Korea, but I was still happy about it. I guess what I'm saying is that if the APPT was held in Las Vegas and I didn't have to travel, I'd have been much happier going into it. To me, the big thing that can put a damper on the trips is the travel itself. I've done enough of it to understand exactly what goes into making a long trip. Sitting around in airports, on planes, in cabs, trains, buses or what have you, can become very, very tiresome after several hours. The lack of nearly nothing to eat besides fast food is discouraging and the people you have to deal with can drive you mad. This trip to Korea was going to be no short journey, either.
Once I landed in Korea, it was exactly what I had pictured it to be; everything was very clean, the city of Seoul seemed to be extremely technologically advanced and I expected just that. It was great to see and a rush of adrenaline hit me.
Once settled into the hotel, I opted to get a workout in. I had planned on taking it easy on this trip and not drink at all. After Brazil, I told myself I wouldn't be drinking for one month. After that month, it would be time for a planned vacation to Miami with my best friends for Ultra Music Festival and some time on the beach. That adventure will be the focus of my next Life On the Road.
A couple of months ago, I saw that David "Doc" Sands tweeted about always trying to get a workout in once you get through with a long day of traveling. He claimed that it helps to reset the body and deal with jet lag. I've been blessed with being able to deal with jet lag rather easily, mainly due to all the practice I've had, but figured why not give this a shot and see if it helps. It did and I'm now going to make it regular routine after traveling.
With my plans to take things easy, I did not drink for the entire trip. I got some exercise in every day and sometimes two times a day. I was feeling great, but the smoke in the casino and the food provided wasn't the best situation. When I say smoke in the casino, I mean a thick layer blanketing the air above all of the tables. It was terribly bad, but nothing one can do. This is what happens in most Asian casinos and I've just grown used to it. It sucks while you're enduring it, but what can you do? On top of that, there weren't many food options available at the casino so the staff was ordering in pizzas and Burger King daily for the players and staff. Although I really respect the staff for doing this and catering to the players, trying to eat healthy pretty much went out the window. I tried to compensate for this by working out a bit more than usual.
With most of my nights being boring, there was one when I got dragged out with a group of friends from Hong Kong into the city of Seoul. We went to some crazy hip-hop nightclub and it was pretty out of control. The fact that I didn't drink was definitely a different one, but I still had a blast. I wish I could remember the name of the club or where it was, because I'd for sure go back if I was ever in Seoul again. Even sober, I was out until five in the morning and needed to be back downstairs for the start of the next day in just six hours. I wouldn't have traded in the night for the world, though. Sometimes you just have to sacrifice a little bit of sleep to have a crazy, fun night with friends you don't get to see too often.
When we did make it out of the casino for food, it was always the never-ending search for Korea barbeque. One night, we were pointed just a short minute's drive down the hill from our hotel to a restaurant that was supposed to have amazing Korean barbeque. It was a bit pricy, but we all took the extra hit to our pockets in order to enjoy the amazing food. I've had some good Korean barbeque in my day, but this was absolutely amazing. Everything, and I do mean everything, we tried was seriously delicious. We paid a good amount for the food and knowing what it tastes like, I would easily pay double. Not only way this the absolute best meal of the trip, but it was also probably the healthiest.
After what I would consider a rather tame time in Seoul, it was time to head back to the States. I was looking forward to getting back, but did enjoy my time in Korea. It was a place that I actually wish I didn't go with work to be done because from what I saw, I'd have loved to just explore, explore, explore. The nightclub we went to was crazy and I can only imagine there are more to be found. The people were so very nice and welcoming the entire time and the food we had outside in the city was great. Given everything that I took away from the trip, Seoul is definitely a place I'd like to return to on my own agenda. Here are some photos I snapped while over there.
After Seoul, I returned back to the States on March 12 and it was just a week and a half before my trip to South Florida. That was an epic party and I can't wait to tell you all about it, but you'll have to wait until next time.
One thing I want to add is that I'm extremely excited that poker is returning to Aruba. At the beginning of May, the Player's Poker Championship took place and was a blast. Ever since I went to Aruba for the last Ultimate Bet Aruba Poker Classic, I've always wanted to go back.
Many players have always asked me why a tournament doesn't go back to Aruba, to which I never really had an answer for. I always figured that because it was such a hit with the players and an awesome exotic location that one of the other sites would jump on the island right away, especially PokerStars and all of the reaching they have done around the poker world. That has yet to happen. Honestly, there's no better place to get a great vacation in and play some poker than in Aruba. It was a great way to relax and get your mind right before a nice, long World Series of Poker.