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So, I have basically been travelling around Europe and to more remote parts of the world since I was roughly 16 years old but it took me more than 35 years of living on this planet to make it to Portugal for the first time 10 days ago.
Being born and raised in Luxembourg, I have always been in touch with some Portuguese due to the strong community of lusophones that lives in tiny banking-land but getting their never happened so far for some obscure reason (do caralho).
But that belongs to History now! Attracted by the Estoril Casino that I have heard a lot about and willing to visit a bunch of colleagues from the Poker circuit that gradually became buddies before being upgraded to the status of real friends, I finally made it to Lisbon last week before flying to Morocco's windy city for the Tanger Poker Festival XII where I am writing these few lines from.
As a matter of fact, Portugal seems to be one of Europe's best kept secrets in terms of kind people, great hospitality, amazing food, breathtaking landscapes ... and did I mention the girls? Actually, I did not know until now that I like Portuguese girls :)
During my stay, I took advantage of some free time to move around guided by my hosts but I also ended up taking part in crazy 2.5/5/10/20 PLO games at the Estoril Casino after getting raped a little bit at the 1/2 NLH tables. I lost a brutal set over set setup and I lost another epic 3-way pot with AK against another guy who also had AK and a third guy holding AQ on a KJT board. Ouch! Thank God, there's PLO to fix all this ;)
All in all, the Portuguese are somehow great people. A little bit loud and enthusiastic but adorable :D During a late night drink after a Poker session, McFerrin's 'Don't worry, be happy' was playing on the radio and my buddy explained to me this song was probably Portugal's second national anthem. I clearly got his point and that's exactly how the Portuguese made me feel during my stay with them: happy :D
So let's be happy! I decided to go back right away as the WSOP Circuit will soon be stopping in Estoril (27th April > 7th May) and I am urging you to consider joining us. Sure, the stop in Rozvadov is a blast but what else than playing cards can you do there? The Cannes stop also looks promising but, honestly, who enjoys paying up to 8 EUR for a soft drink? Brussels should be fun too but probably under grey skies ...
Yes! Portugal it is! Blue skies, cheap food and drinks with a gaming venue in a beautiful park just by the ocean. Personally, I have seen many worst stops in my Poker career to try to ship a major international Poker title :p
For those who enjoy pictures, there are a whole bunch of photos from my mini Portugal trip last week on my Flickr account. Enjoy them by following the links below:
- Lisbon area
- Lisbon, Sintra, Estoril
If you need help or a piece of advice, don't hesitate to get in touch with the adorable guys who run the Estoril Poker room (Jose Cabral & Daniel Cordeiro) under the direction of Reato Morais.
Don't wait for too long to book your hotel room as the Estoril ATP Tennis Open is going to be held from 1st to 7th of May with a lot of additional international visitors (who said 'rich cash game fishes' ?? :p :D ) that will be in town ...
Te vejo em breve!