Traveling for a poker tournament can be intimidating, especially when it’s abroad. Even though members of the PokerNews Live Reporting team are now expert travelers, they were all overwhelmed the first time. At the recent European Poker Tour Prague, the question arose: how did the pros feel when they first traveled for a poker tournament? We decided to ask Calvin "cal42688" Anderson that very question in our latest edition of My First.
If you’re not familiar with Anderson, you certainly should be. He is widely considered to be the best online player in the world, with more than $2.7 million in winnings on PokerStars and $791,000 on Full Tilt Poker. He also has two Spring Championship of Online Poker (SCOOP) titles, a World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) title and took down the PokerStars Sunday Warm-Up back in August after defeating Darren “darrenelias” Elias heads up for $83,835.0). That win came just one week after winning the Sunday 2nd Chance for $45,014.08.
Not surprisingly, Anderson won his way into his first live tournament online. Here’s what he had to say about that first trip:
“The first time I ever traveled to go play a tournament, besides a couple of smaller ones in my hometown, I won a frequent-player point (FPP) satellite qualifier to a different qualifier. It was like 300 FPPs with 100 people in it. Top three got $100 and an entry into a freeroll. I originally didn’t even realize there was another ticket, I was playing for the $100, that’s all I really cared about. I’d never tried freerolling satellites at all, but I went for that. I played on Sunday, and I think there were like 60 people in it, half the field was probably sitting out. You couldn’t get in it unless you’d won an earlier FPP qualifier, the one I had qualified through.
“I won that to go to London, and it was just a week afterwards. I was like, 'Oh my gosh,' I’d never even played a tournament above $200 and here I was going to play in this €10,000 event. I was completely overwhelmed. I booked my flight to go there without even knowing what the live scene was all about. This was like the first tournament I’d ever went to at all. This was like three years ago before I’d ever had much success.
“So I went there and played. I was overwhelmed by the whole vibe and everything else. I had to rush the passport. I remember getting the passport the day that I left, it was nuts. Luckily, London is English speaking, so I got really lucky with that. I went by myself, but I met some people there so it was fun.
“I didn’t do anything in the tournament. I got pretty short, and I shoved with on the button. I was extremely short and a guy tanked for the longest time and then called me with . That was my most embarrassing live moment I think, having to turn over that hand. I lost.”
Anderson also told us a quick story about the first time he attended a Latin American Poker Tour event:
“The first LAPT I went to was Costa Rica. I realized I lost my passport at the airport when I was about to go home and had to take a cab, with a taxi driver that didn’t speak any English, to San Jose and get a passport. I talked to the taxi driver’s mom, who spoke very little English. It was pretty scary and then I got to the embassy and heard a bunch of stories about how some people got robbed at gun point, and I was pretty thankful that wasn’t the reason I was there.”