Monday, March 5, 2012

A conflict of interests in Seoul

Things were so much easier when I just played poker.

I'm heading out to Seoul on Wednesday afternoon. The original purpose was the APPT Seoul which has a ~US$2700 main and ~US$5400 high-roller event. I'll be playing Day 1A on Thursday, and a big part of me is hoping I don't make it through the day.

The reason is that on Sunday, the day of the APPT final table, there are amateur tryouts (link in Korean) for Road Fighting Championships. I don't quite understand it fully, but from what I gather through a combination of Google Translate and my Korean friends, the winners will get to compete on the "Young Guns" portion of a future Road FC card. Unfortunately, it's in a small city called Suncheon, 4.5 hours by bus (or an hour by plane) away from Seoul. So if I make Day 2, which is played on Saturday, I'm not going to be able to compete in it. Even if I were to bust out early on Saturday it would probably be too much of a scramble and stress to make it there, I think.

I've been training quite hard and I'm in fight shape. I'm planning to compete at 61 kg (134.2 lb) because there is only four hours between the weigh-ins and the fights; there's no way I can get all the way down to 57 kg (125.4 lb) and compete well under those circumstances. I'm a small guy, but I don't lose weight very easily. I've been very strict on the diet for the last month, cooking my meals almost every day, but in truth I am really always quite strict and rarely fall off the wagon (WSOP excluded). Thus my walk-around weight is generally not far from my healthy weight. I'm currently about 64 kg in the morning so it will be an easy cut, even with the potential difficulties of being in a foreign land, trying to find the right food, saunas, and so forth. I might be a bit smaller than my opponent but I'm just fine with that.

Obviously, I've put a lot more thought into the potential fight than the poker. But a part of me wants to do well in the poker, too. It's been six weeks since I played a tournament (the Aussie Millions) and it'll be just my second tournament series of the year and third tournament overall (excluding the Chinese Poker). 2011 sucked poker-wise and I'd like to get off the schneid for 2012. I'll also be representing Hero Poker for the first time in a new market so it would be nice to make a run and get some publicity. Nevertheless, I am totally antsy I am to scrap, and I really won't be particularly upset if someone manages to find set-over-set on me in the first level.

But once I sit down at the table, I have to be a pro. Otherwise it's not worth showing up at all. If I enter a poker tournament, I'm there to win it, or at least maximize my expectation. And I've done this long enough that I know that once the cards are in the air, I'll be a pro and do what I have to do. The way I see it, there are a lot of people out there with straight jobs who would love to skip out of the office to play golf. Well, MMA is my golf and while there's nothing wrong with dedicating yourself to your avocations, you gotta take care of business first.

Lost in all of this is how excited I am to go to Korea! I've never been, and always wanted to go. I missed Season 1's APPT Korea and due to various legal wrangling, they haven't been back until now. Of course, there's so much on my plate for this short trip I don't really know if I'll be able to see or do much of anything at all. Perhaps most disappointing of all is that because I'm in the midst of a weight cut, I won't be able to enjoy much of the food, which is usually my favourite part of seeing any new country.

That is of course, unless I make it through Day 1A and the competition is off. Then I'm going to smash Korean BBQ like there's no tomorrow.

Wish me luck! Good or bad; either way is fine by me. :)


  1. Best of luck to you, wherever it carries you.

  2. I know what it's like to play tournaments distracted, it's something I've dealt with for a while now. I know it seems like you can turn it on or off, but that's difficult because as soon as adversity tears its head, the other thoughts and ideas come in.

    Anyways, good luck and enjoy Seoul