I just spent a full week in sweet Georgia for the Cash Game Weekend stop in Batumi from 10th to 15th July. If you go to the photo section of this website, you will find a link to the archive of more than 200 photos I shot during my stay or you can scroll down to end of this post to get to the Facebook album.
The standard program was to stroll around the city and its beaches during the day while I spent almost all my nights at the casino resulting in a pretty poor local nightlife experience all in all. While we had a lot of fun (and drinks) together last time we met in Riga, my hosts were pretty busy this time resulting in another problem I had not anticipated: there was quite some language barrier over here as very few people speak decent enough English to have a proper conversation. I am not fluent at all in Latvian but at least, I could read the signs and menus, make deductions or suppositions while I was tapping in complete darkness here.
Not that I have become super shy all of a sudden but, additionally to the harsh language Georgian is, it's completely and absolutely impossible to read Georgian for me. I cannot even identify all the letters of their alphabet and when something was translated in local stores, it was in Russian or Ukrainian which is also a writing system I don't master. The rest of the population is Turkish, Iraninan or from some STAN republic from even further East. hardly any western people seem to make it to Batumi. To top it, most signs are still handwritten here which makes writing notoriously event more difficult to read even when you know the writing system. It felt like being deaf or at least dumb which almost never happens to me with my pretty good knowledge of 8 languages by now and I think I missed out on a lot just because of that. I'll be better prepared next time...
All this would not discourage me from skipping any of the crappy western fast foods and stores that of course managed to spread over here too. Those moderne and hopelessly not Georgian places were more or less the only ones where I could actually read the name of what I was eating and drinking before tasting it. Being a vegetarian, this was a bit of a hassle and I ended up a few times with something in my hand or in my mouth that I really did not want :p Last time I was in Tblisi, there were more signs/menus/notes translated into English and I had two local buddies with me that would translate me things or at least tell me afterwards what I had eaten and how it's called so I could order it [never] again depending on whether I liked it or not :) This week, I could not even read the names of certain streets I was passing by.
I had some rather cool random encounters with locals in the streets of Batumi nevertheless, I even had a date but I mostly had a blast admiring the mixed architecture of this booming city. Georgian hospitality is not a legend!
The Poker games as such were also pretty nice with daily 5/5 and 5/10 (US Dollars) games running and occasionally higher blinds in NLH and PLO formats and the action was going on until very late/early every morning.
Talking about Tbilisi, Cash Game Weekend has just announced that their next stop will be in the capital city in late August so check your agendas and save the dates. It's coming up quickly. More info will follow soon under www.cashgameweekend.com.
In the meanwhile, enjoy the Batumi photos ;)
More personal thoughts on my Instagram feed.
Micro stop in Luxembourg between Slovakia and and Georgia. Yes, I know ... I should buy a GPS :p
After my short stay in Bratislava for the Slovak Series Of Poker Main Event, I made my way to Spa and Luxembourg for a few days before leaving to the Georgia Cash Game Tour. Belgium was for resting and preparing Georgia but Luxembourg was all about HEAVY action this time. I joined DJ DEE, DJ NOSI & DJ VDG for the Housen Open Air in Hosingen. More than 4200 people came together for this event and it felt like we had a drink with each and everyone of them ...
Thanks everybody for showing up and partying with us until late/early and thanks to the Hosingen girls and boys for having us!
There is a link to my pics in the PHOTO & COVERAGES section of this site, vamos!
Goodbye Bratislava! It was good seing you again after almost 10 years! You have become a beautiful and pleasant city! First Poker trip to Banco Casino for me with a delegation of Belgians. 889 entries came together in the Main Event which is impressive considering the amount of tournaments that were scheduled across Europe these last days. It’s Poker extravaganza indeed in the players’ agendas and I think we made an excellent choice by deciding to make our way to Slovakia, the Banco Casino Bratislava and the Crowne Plaza Hotel.
As some may already know, I have left the Poker Room of Spa as a co-worker in early May this spring but the action goes on with regular weekend events and occasional festivals to come. There are loads of promotions coming up for July and a nice Poker festival will be held in the middle of August. Find out more in the NEWS section of the P.R.O.S. website.
I will still be there from time to time for the occasional cash game round and I guess I will make my way down from Bristol where I am shooting a music festival in early August to take part to the Spa's Poker Feestje.
The next Cash Game Tour stop is coming up with a second stop in Georgia after Tbilisi last month. This time, we are off to Batumi on the shores of the Black Sea.
Tbilisi is pretty easy to reach from anywhere really but Batumi is bit offside the main travel routes. The best and most convenient way to get there from Europe is probably to fly to Kutaisi International Airport. From there a shuttle service will take care of you to get you to Batumi.
Wizz Air has regular direct services to this airport with flights from cities like Vienna, Barcelona, Memmingen or Dortmund for instance. Don't hesitate to get in touch with me if you need assistance! I think I will take the Vienna or Dortmund option to depart to Georgia. Just a reminder, since Georgia hosted the European Song Contest, European visitors don't need to apply for visas anymore for short stays. Vamos! Let's get busy booking this trip!
All info via the CGT website including casino description and hotel packages!
LG Events are putting a group of players together to travel to Bratislava at the end of this month and everybody is welcome to join the Poker action in Slovakia! You will find some info about THE HOTEL PACKAGES in one of my recent blog posts and I am throwing in a bunch of Poker portraits for those who book through me if you care.
[POKER TRIPS] [ROCK SHOWS] [SLOVAKIA] [GEORGIA] [BELGIUM] [ENGLAND] #allineverywhere in June, July & August
I've been taking it easy lately. Picked up running and hiking again and got back to playing quite some online Poker too for a change. My mission at the Poker Room Of Spa came to an end in early May and I am now taking some time to try to shape the rest of the year.
I am super available at the moment if someone care to come up with a brilliant project to work on :)
I am thinking of leaving my base in Spa by late August but it is still not clear where to for now. Suggestions are also welcome for that! I basically don't need a lot: a bed, a bathroom, a kitchen - vamos! But I guess I need to figure out first what I will be doing before I chose where to go. Or maybe it does also work the other way around... On my list: Lisbon (yes, again) or somewhere sunny, Prague (always loved it or Eastern Europe generally speaking) or something more remote like Thailand (wish list) or Uruguay (a friend moved there and loves it).
The idea of buying a new mobile home has also crossed my mind a few times lately ...
To my old buddies of Luxembourg: I will be amongst you on a few occasions over this coming summer between my stops in Belgium, Slovakia, Georgia and England so let's meet up if you care!
Off to the Slovak Series of Poker in late June!! I have been kindly asked to promote another Poker trip organised by LG and Poker Belgique as an ambassador. These guys know how to get me ... throw in some card games and some travelling and I am snap-in :p This time, we are off to amazing Bratislava!
A group of players is being gathered right now and everybody is welcome to join!
A great, actually two opportunities to combine travelling and Poker in Georgia are coming up these following weeks with the Cash Game Tour stops in collaboration with PokerTrest in Georgia.
The first stop will be in the Georgian capital, Tbilisi, and will be hosted by Casino Adjara. Another stop will follow for genuine summer feelings in Batumi on the coast of the Black Sea in July.
Room booking is available on the Cash Game Tour website. Direct flights to Tbilisi are available from more or less everywhere.
The second editions of the SPF is coming up for the summer. After the classic winter edition in January, the Spaniards will come back to Rozvadov for a week or two in July so maybe it's time to save the dates! The SPF Rozvadov Summer 2019 is taking place from 21st to 28th of July this year but there is a lot more events put on throughout the year by the iberic Poker organisation.
Find their annual dates in the flyer below and find out more on their website!