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Poker News | PokerWorks Op-Ed

The Round Table – Sights and Sounds from Tahiti

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Yes…Tahiti. I couldn’t even believe it myself. Remember the movie The Beach with Leonardo DiCaprio? It was like that minus all the drama. But I’ll get to that. First I have to tell you how I ended up there.

Friday

So it was Friday afternoon and I was planning on meeting up with friends in Santa Barbara for the weekend. As I was getting my stuff together my phone rang. It was my friend Chris Ferguson calling me back on some business from earlier in the week.

After our work chat was done he mentioned that he was in my city, Los Angeles, at that minute.

Chris: I’m going to Tahiti in a couple hours.

Me: I hate you! I am obsessed with Tahiti – I’ve always wanted to go there. Take tons of pictures.

Chris: I will – I’ll send you a postcard!

Me: Haha, awesome. Talk to you when you are back.

Cut to an hour later and my phone rings. It’s Chris’s girlfriend, Fabiola, and she invites me and my boyfriend to join them there.

Three days later we were on Air Tahiti headed to the French Polynesian to join them on the beach.

Tuesday

When we first arrived we met up with them for lunch and then headed out on jet skis for a tour of Bora Bora.

After jet skiing it was over to the swim up bar for catch ups and cocktails and then sushi for dinner.
 
Chris and I briefly chatted about poker and I mentioned with someone like him who has accomplished so many amazing things (3 time WSOP circuit winner, WSOP Main Event winner, 5 time bracelet winner, 3 time Heads Up finalist) what more can you even want to accomplish. For Chris it was an easy answer.

“More Bracelets.”

And it’s as simple as that I guess…

Wednesday

We head out on a boat for a shark and sting ray tour. It was absolutely amazing to see all of these stingrays as I never had before. Our guide jumped right in the water to feed them and I was one of the first brave souls to get in with him. After getting over my initial fear of them, because they literally creep up your body if they think you have food, I really started to enjoy swimming around with them.

After feeding the rays and watching the guide feed the sharks, us four went snorkeling around in the reefs. We saw so many amazing fish; I can’t wait to see Chris’s pictures from his underwater camera.

One of the best things we saw was on our way back to board the boat. Our guide started wildly waving at us, which we thought meant it was time to go. As we got closer to him he told us there was a big Moray eel. When I say big...I mean huge. Like 5 feet long, 3 feet wide.

So the guide starts waving at us underwater telling us to come touch it. I’m thinking no way in hell am I going to pet this thing. He looked SO scary. Fabiola, though, seems to know no fear. She dives straight down towards it and starts petting the crazy looking eel.
 
Well, I figured if she could do it so could I so I swam down towards it and gave it a feel. Slimy. That’s what I am reporting back with.
 
Chris ran out of photos so we didn’t capture him on film, but I did find a photo of what the eel looked like.
 
Thursday

That morning we headed off to another island called Moorea to continue our adventures.
 
The first thing we did once we arrived was rent little motor boats called Cata Jets and took off to an island across the way to find our new favorite animals, sting rays. All of us enjoyed playing around with them for a few hours.
 
Our Thanksgiving dinner celebration happened at a local Tahitian restaurant where the food and drinks were served in a beautiful display with coconut scattered about and flowers adorning.
 
No doubt we all agreed how fortunate and thankful we were to be in Tahiti!

Friday

The morning kicked off with a horseback ride into the mountains that ended with a spectacular view of the pineapple fields and flourishing Tahitian greenery.
 
That afternoon we hopped on ATV’s and took a tour of the inside of a volcanic crater. At one point we came upon a tiny waterfall/slide and of course Fabiola was the first one jumping in and sliding down it with all her clothes on!

That night we went to a place called Tiki Village where they prepare traditional dinner for you and perform a Polynesian show with 60 different dances, musicians and fire dancers. It was really incredible to watch. They even persuaded us to get up and dance with them at one point. Of course professional dancers Chris and Fabiola were the best.

Saturday


As the trip was coming to a close we spent this morning swimming with dolphins! We learned all about the creatures and then were able to participate in what they call apnea, swimming underwater along with them while holding on to their fins. We all had several goes at it, and it really was extraordinary.
 
That afternoon Chris came over to our bungalow and we finished out the day snorkeling around the reef right off the balcony of our overwater hut.

It was by far one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Tahiti is truly paradise and I was so lucky to be able to share it with a group of amazing people.

Vegas is next..not quite Tahiti..but I’ll make do!

Like a wheel, the Round Table is a circle of adventures and victories, beats and stories, and life as it unfolds with a cast of characters that may, or may not, have joined you in your home on a local TV program. There's so much more to poker than what you see on TV. Although I won't use canvas, I will paint the full picture for you as I follow the lives of some of your favorite (and some unknown) players. The Round Table is an ongoing series of life, viewed full circle.

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