Earlier this year I returned from an ineffaceable year long trip split between Australia and America. So I’ve once again returned to the UK extremely inspired and happy. My time over this last year has been spent on a journey of personal development. I strongly feel that being abroad facilitates the ride. I attribute it to staying very active, meeting people from different backgrounds, and having some incredibly different experiences from those I have here in the UK. I can feel a sort of personal growth of which, admittedly, I am proud.
- Sydney- Brisbane
- Gold Coast
- Las Vegas
- Los Angeles
Of the aforementioned, it's a very close call between Miami and Sydney as to which is my favourite. Miami is extremely liveable in that the weather, food, beaches, boardwalk, architecture and nightlife are awesome. I find the overall ambience of Sydney to be the best of any city I've visited. The Australian people are incredibly friendly, tolerant and open-minded. I've been fortunate to make some very good friends in the city which really helped too. I spent almost a month in Melbourne and would be doing it a disservice if I didn't mention how much I loved it. I found the city progressive, clean, health-conscience and convenient. Los Angeles is really growing on me. If you can't find something you like in LA, you're doing it wrong. It is unmatched culturally, the food is out of this world, and there is something incredibly cool about the anonymity that comes with residing in that city. My time in Orlando, Brisbane, Gold Coast and Perth has been brief, so I'm not qualified to comment on those cities. I will spend the Christmas holidays with family and friends here in Newcastle upon Tyne, so my travelling for 2013 are now just treasured memories. Memories which will last a lifetime.
It has been a somewhat successful year for me with poker, so I had half a mind to take an extended holiday once returning to the UK. I’ve had a bunch of success during 2013 including five figure tournament scores in Australia, USA and the UK. It's important that I explain that results do not necessarily define tournament poker skill. By no means am I a great tournament player. At least, that isn't determinable simply by bragging about my tournament accomplishments. In fact, there is so much variance in tournament poker that it is impossible to measure. It would be foolish and unprofessional to blame one's personal downswings on the variance in tournament poker and then hail oneself the greatest when I’m running well. It's important for me not to be too results orientated.
As I've said before, I am for the most part not motivated by my actual tournament poker results, I am much more concerned with my level of focus while competing, my preparation, and the decisions I make. However, I feel it is in my best interest to sort of go after these titles. I really love playing tournament poker right now, so it is a nice excuse to play some more. I think that the live tournament poker arena is in a really cool place. It is extremely competitive and ever-evolving. The leading personalities, for the most part, are young, inspired, healthy, friendly, well-rounded and great role models. I feel honoured to be around them. While I haven't made many plans for 2014 aside from leading the NPF in to battle in the APAT Team Challenge at Stoke in February, I expect I will continue to spend a lot of time playing live tournament poker. A friend told me something recently that resonated: "To give up something you love would be a travesty."
Thanks for reading and happy holidays everyone.