APPT Seoul: Up in smoke

March 08, 2012

I’ve never adjusted to the amount of smoking that occurs in Asian casinos. You’d think, after a few years of living in Las Vegas and traveling around Asia, that I’d be used to the lazy plumes of smoke that are part and parcel of any casino experience and that are especially common in Asia. But as someone who’s never been a smoker, the smell still drives me crazy.

So when the smokers on the rail here in Seoul (which incidentally is right next to our blogging table) got to be too much for me, I headed out of the casino. The casino empties into a subterranean mall beneath the Sheraton we’re all staying at. I barreled out there in search of a breath of fresh air.

I found Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen.

After a handshake and the usual pleasantries, Angel copped that this visit to Seoul for the APPT is his first trip to all of Asia. He spent his first day here yesterday “going up the tower, seeing some palace” visiting the Korean War memorial and walking around the city with his lady love, host Lynn Gilmartin.


Lynn Gilmartin planting one on Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen at the top of Seoul Tower

We kibitzed for a bit about the relative merits of Korean women and our independent but mutual desire to visit Japan (a short two-hour flight from here) before Angel asked for directions to the satellite area. Even though he’s already secured his registration for tomorrow’s Day 1b flight of the Main Event and could have spent the whole day loafing and partying, Angel still intends to try his hand at a satellite. It’s something he does at every tournament he attends.

“If I win I’ll just take the cash,” he said.

Angel wasn’t the only one looking to take a discounted route into the Main Event. Tonight’s satellies are over-subscribed with players eager to win their way into tomorrow’s Day 1b field.


Time to make the donuts

“There’s such a huge demand we’re going to balance between the cash game players and the tournament players,” said Danny McDonagh. A two-table satellite is going off right now, to be followed by a single-table satellite in about thirty minutes.

That’s the thing about these poker trips for all of us, players and staff alike. There’s plenty of time for sightseeing and partying – we’ll all be headed into town tonight for the official APPT Seoul welcome party at the swanky Ark Lounge – but the long and short of it is that we’re here for a poker tournament. Staff have to make sure we show up on time and in a condition to do our work; players need to turn up with focus and wits intact for big buy-in poker or risk setting fire to a few grand.

And from my own personal experience, burning cash doesn’t smell any better than burning cigarettes.


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