Vol.9: Unibet Open Warsaw And Losing My Watch
I had to go to Unibet Open Warsaw about a week into dating Helena. I was going there for reasons related to our magazine, although I didn't have an actual story I'd have to write. We had another reporter there who was doing the story, and my role was mainly just to show up. I don't think I had a single thing I was actually supposed to do (although it's possible my memory might be letting me down), and I got free flights and three nights in some extremely balla five-star hotel. Not too bad, eh?
I decided to take Helena with me. I don't think we were even officially together yet, but I had a lot friends going to Warsaw and I knew Unibet takes care of things top notch (as a side note, I've been to probably around 50 live tournaments organized by many different companies, and I've been the most impressed by Unibet's arrangements. And no, I'm not getting money to say this or anything, I just like to give credit where it's due now that this actually got some readers). I figured Helena would view me as a cool poker player if she saw the hotels, casinos and parties related to my lifestyle, instead of a nerd clicking buttons at home in his underwear. I bought her a ticket, and off we went.
I believe I had a life roll of about 15k€ at the time. For some stupid reason I can't recall I took all of it with me, except for money I had online which was like $3k. I wasn't there to play the Main, because it got sold out. I also wasn't much of a tournament player back then, and didn't even want to go deep because I wanted to be able to entertain Helena, so the entire plan was just to party.
Almost immediately after arriving at our hotel in the afternoon Helena said she'd need time to get ready for the night, so I thought I'd go downstairs to the casino to meet some friends. One guy I knew had just busted, and there was a roulette table. He said he wanted to blow off some steam by playing it, and I agreed to join him for the fun of it. We ended up punting something like 200€ on the first round. 400€ on the second. 1k€ on the third. We kept betting on black numbers until we both ran out of money. He said he had more money in the hotel room and really didn't want to lose it, as did I. So we made a pact to not play roulette again on that trip. It turned out that both us had played on separate occasions only hours later. Degens.
For me it didn't take very long. I just ran into our room, grabbed some more cash and went back down. I kept betting on black, not getting a single black number. I ended up losing all the cash I had taken with me again, and I was now down probably close to 10k€. I still had another 3k€ at the room. I almost went there to blow that on that stupid game as well, but when I got to the room and saw Helena all dressed up I forgot about it. I instantly remembered why I was there, and that there was something more important than the stupid money I had lost I needed to take care of. I didn't play more roulette on that trip.
The first night out wasn't that wild. Or at least I think it wasn't, because I don't remember anything too weird about it. We had a group of maybe 15 Finnish grinders, we probably went to some night club, although I can't remember where. I'm just going to fast forward to 4am, when we were either thrown out of the club or decided to leave. Me, Helena and a couple of other guys who I'm not going to name for obvious reasons want to go to a strip club. We take a taxi, and ask him to take us to one. He doesn't understand english at all. It seems like a dead end, no matter how many times we say "strip" he doesn't understand. Then someone says the magic word: "Sex". "Sekkksss", the driver repeats, grinning and laughing his creepy paedophile laugh. He starts driving.
Soon we are on a motorway somewhere outside Warsaw. I'm not sure how far from the city it is, but I'd say about 20-30 minutes by car. The motorway is really dark, I don't think they had street lights. All of a sudden, seemingly in the middle of nowhere, the car stops and drives to a tiny side road. In the end of the road there's a house. It has thick forest trees in every direction around it. It's only 50 meters from the motorway, but it's impossible to see to the place from the road. It looks like a completely normal, two-storey house, except that it has bars in every window. Behind the bars there are women. The taxi stops just so far that I can't see the faces behind the bars well. There's something about the vision that makes me sick. I can't recall what it was, but something about the way the women behind the bars acted made me think they weren't there volunterily. I could be wrong.
The two guys step out of the car, and walk towards the stairs. Someone comes and opens the door. He's huge in every direction, the bodyguard type. They have a talk, and my friends are let in. Helena, who is drunk, starts yelling that she wants to go too. "I've never been to a brothel, I want to see what it's like!". I tell her that it's not a good idea as the place looks really scary and I had no idea what they'd do to a girl like her. She literally opens the cab door and tries to run over there, but I manage to pull her back. I tell the taxi driver to drive back to Warsaw and to our hotel. The two guys were left behind, and I later heard that it had all been fine. They had received blowjobs at a very cheap price (I can't remember, but like 30€ or something like that).
Anyway, that was the more sober night. On the next day we slept until the afternoon. When we woke up, we only had a couple of hours to explore around Warsaw. Then we had to go to the Unibet Players' dinner, and then the Players' party. But before we go there, I want to talk about a random Finnish guy I had met on Friday.
When we first came to the hotel, all the Finnish players were hanging around the lobby. Among them was a guy who was incredibly wasted despite it being only 4PM. He was short, skinny, somehow didn't seem to belong to the group. I was told by multiple people that he was a high stakes sicko who had randomly decided to come to this live tournament. I asked his name, and I had never heard of it. He said he plays PLO5k. It didn't ring any alarm bells, because at the time Finland was full of random, anonymous people who were crushing high stakes PLO. And I didn't play much PLO back then, so I didn't know any of the screen names and therefore couldn't ask for his.
He had an envelope full of 500€ bills he kept dropping. If I remember correctly there was 17k€ inside. He'd order a drink and forget it at the bar. He'd drop it in the middle of the floor. He didn't seem to care, and he had people following him literally picking the money every time he dropped it to make sure he didn't lose it. That was convincing enough for me to buy his story. He knew my blog and was very talkative to me from the beginning. He talked about all kinds of crazy deals, wanted to stake me to this and that (this was just before I scored the TowerGaming deal, so I was naturally excited). Since he seemed to have a ton of money and was interested in investing in me, I wanted to make sure he'd like me. I even went as far as to buy him a new cell phone on Saturday afternoon to replace the one he had lost drunk on Friday. I'll call this guy J (note: he has nothing to do with the other J's in this story).
We went to the dinner, which was full of people I knew. There were some celebrities, including a Polish Eurovision singer who later showed everyone his penis piercing. He literately just took it out of his pants when we were sitting in a table with both men and women, and asked for our opinions as if it was completely normal. "I just got this, what do you think?".
I had probably close to 30 friends there. The dinner took ages, and there was free booze, so we started drinking again. By the time we got to the party we were already quite drunk. It was held in some high-class night club. They had an open bar, but all the 300 players were trying to get drinks at the same time, and it just didn't work out. We ended up making our own orders of trays and trays of Vodka-Red Bulls.
Me in Warsaw on our first night out.
I also met one of my all-time best poker friends in this night club. I'll just call him E (no Entourage reference intended). He'd be the other guy getting beat up by policemen in Portugal a few months later. We sat at the table for the entire time at the club - me, E, some other friends and then J, the so called highroller.
They were doing PLO flips, and as I had conveniently the rest of my roll with me, I asked to join. J was dealing. I think we were doing pretty small stakes at first, like 100€ per flip per person, 4- or 5-way. Then at some stage everyone wanted to quit, and I ended up flipping heads-up against J. We started doing 200€ flips, and then 500€, until I had lost it all except for like 200€ that I needed for the rest of the trip. J spotted my watch, and asked if I'd like to flip for that. It was the expensive watch I had bought from Vegas. We flipped for it, and on the turn he had exactly one out (he had 6632 rainbow and I had four overs that had made a pair and a flush draw, blocking one of the two sixes). Somehow he managed to pull the last six off the deck and I lost my watch too. And being the degen I was, I also ended up playing a bit more saying I'll pay later, and I lost 3k more. Great, now I was in debt and without a watch. Helena was there too, but I think she concentrated on drinking and dancing, and didn't realize what was going on.
We stayed at the club, and everyone bought me and Helena drinks to soothe my disappointment. We got more and more drunk. When the club was about to close, a couple of Finnish highrollers asked what it would cost to keep the club open for some extra. I can't remember the details but they ended up paying some absurd amount to party for a couple of hours more.
Then, at approximately 5AM, it was time to leave the club. Me and a group of 5-10 other people wanted to have a second attempt at going into a strip club. Helena was super excited too: "I've never been to a strip club! I want to see what it's like!". One of the guys knew a place that was supposed to be superb, and we went there.
It was one of the best strip clubs I've been to. It was very discreet and small. They had rooms upstairs that I strongly believe were used for prostitution, although I didn't visit them. They only had a couple of actual strippers, and the rest were more like escorts. We made the standard order of about 5 Vodka-Red Bulls per person. Helena was getting into her Charles Bukowski mode again. At some stage she said she was going to the bathroom, and after some time I started worrying about her since she hadn't come back. After all she was young girl in a strip club, you never know what could happen. I slowly opened the door to the ladies' bathroom. To my delight I found her having an intense conversation with one the strippers. She said that it was her new best friend. The stripper said that Helena would make a great stripper and tried to get her to audition, and in her drunken state Helena said she'd love to. She eventually came back to the table, and no, she didn't audition that night.
That was because she soon passed out. It happened really fast. First she was like a Duracell bunny, running around the place talking to strippers and being excited about being in such a place. Then she came to sit down next to me, and all of a sudden just fell on the bench and started sleeping. One of the escort/waitresses soon came, and asked if she'd like some coffee. Like I said, this was a really high-class place. Instead of asking us to leave, she asked if my passed-out girlfriend would like some espresso. She mumbled something that I took as a yes, and I told the waitress to come back with one.
She rested her head on my legs, and I got into a conversation with one of the Finnish guys and wasn't really following her. I thought she was just sleeping. I don't remember how long it took, maybe 10 or 15 minutes, but when the waitress came back she nearly dropped the espresso. She had a terrified face. I looked at her face, and then at Helenas. She had turned pale and vomit was leaking from her mouth. Those were some of the most horrifying seconds of my life. Images from the overdose scene in Pulp Fiction filled my head. Images of Jimi Hendrix, my childhood idol, choking to his own vomit.
I rolled her to the side.
"Please, God, Please let her be alright".
There is a silence for five seconds. I'm nearly wetting my pants.
She coughs, spits the vomit out of her mouth, vomits some more on the floor, and then passes out again. She's breathing and all, she's just really pale for some reason and looks sick. Even then they don't throw us out, one of the escorts just comes to clean the floor and smiles at us. I'm still frightened as hell and I decide to take her to the hotel. I spend a lot of time examining her, as I don't even know what kind of symptoms I'm looking for. Is she just too drunk or could there be something else? Should I take her to a hospital?
Luckily there were a couple of other guys there I knew, and they were also worried. They volunteered to leave with us, and we took a taxi to the hotel. She kept vomiting on herself, and was totally out of her mind. Her eyes wren't reacting, she was basically sleeping and vomiting at the same time. I felt so bad. I was the one who had dragged her to Poland, I was the one who had let her drink all those drinks. I sobered up by just the thought of something happening to her, and despite having had more than 20 drinks myself I all of a sudden felt like I could almost think clearly.
We got out of the taxi in front of our 5-star hotel. I was carrying her with one of the other guys. She was a bit difficult to carry, because her legs weren't working at all. I can't remember how we did it, it could've been that the other guy took her legs and I took her arms. I must have looked like we had picked some passed-out hooker from the street and were about to take her to our room to rape her. Except that she had vomit all over herself. The girl at the reception almost screamed when she saw us, and came to question us, threatening to call the police. Luckily I had sobered up enough to explain the situation, and she let us go. I got help from the guys all the way to our room. They asked if I'd be all right from now on, and I said yes, letting them to go to sleep. The moment I stepped in the phone rang, and someone from management called for confirmation that everything was fine.
It was fine, except that she had vomit all over herself from head to toe, and I didn't know what to do. I had never seen her naked, and now I'd have to undress her. It was such a crazy situation. I had been on about three or four dates with her. By this time she had stopped vomiting, and seemed to be feeling slightly better, she was just fast asleep. She won't react to anything, except if I said something really loud she'd mumble something. She wasn't really conscious. It was really cold in the room because we had left the air condition on. I considered my options. Leave her on the floor to sleep in her own vomit? Lift her vomiting body to the bed and let her stain the entire bed? After thinking about it for a long time I came to the conclusion that I had no other option but to at least take her dress off.
She only had a dress and leggings on, which were entirely covered in vomit, so I thought maybe I could just remove those two and she could still keep her underwear. I slowly started undressing her, feeling like the biggest scum on Earth. When I had managed to get her dress off, she started shivering. And she had vomit all over her bra as well. I don't know if it had gone through her dress or if she had somehow managed to vomit inside her dress, but there it was. She was shivering so hard that I decided to take her to the shower.
There was a small chair in the shower, and I made her sit there, leaning against the wall. The moment I let her go she fell on the floor. She didn't even manage to lean against a wall on her own. She still wasn't conscious at all. I made sure the water was warm, and started washing her upper body. I tried washing her bra, but then I realized it was all wet, and it was so cold in the room that I didn't have any other choice but to remove it. That was the first time I saw her breasts. I think the way it happened reflects our entire relationship pretty well. I let her keep her underpants on, dried her with a towel and a hairdryer, and carried her to bed. I supported her back with pillows to make sure she was sideways so that she wouldn't choke in her own vomit. I knew I couldn't go to sleep, so I watched her sleeping for three hours, just to make sure she was breathing. At nine in the morning she woke up briefly, and seemed to be alright. She even asked for water. I took this as a safe sign and went to sleep myself. I didn't manage to sleep for more then 20 minutes at a time because I always woke up to the same nightmares of her choking.
When we both finally got up in the afternoon, I was really worried what she'd think of me. It turned out she didn't remember anything at all, and I told her the whole story. When I told her the "...and then I took your bra off" part I was so worried, I was almost sure she'd think I'm some rapist. But she was fine with it, pretty much just shrugged it off and thanked me for saving her.
After this night it became clear to me that I'd have to try to make her cut her drinking, and then accompany her to every single party she went to, just to make sure she was safe - a subject that would later turn into a massive fight week after week.
On Sunday I sent Ville Wahlbeck, who was also there, a text message asking to borrow me the 3k I owed to J. I didn't know J that well, I knew Ville a lot better as we were both blogging at Pokerisivut and he guest-wrote for our magazine too. He borrowed me the entire amount without any questions, which I then gave to J. I paid it back to Ville in a couple of weeks, except for 600€ that I entirely forgot about. I still hadn't paid that in March despite having got my roll in good shape and playing much higher, and I've never felt so embarassed than when Ville had to ask me for the money. He knew I was a big degen, and I was sure he assumed I just simply couldn't have afforded to pay the money. It could easily have been true but it wasn't in this case, yet.
I later learned that J was a scammer. He had only played a few hands of PLO5k in his life. He was a busto degen playing low stakes who had taken a tilt shot and managed to luckbox something like 15k, the money he had with him in Warsaw. He had no other funds, and there was no way he could've staked anyone to anything. I think he also had a massive drug problem. I've later heard from multiple sources that he tried to scam many people out of money, I'm not sure if he ever succeeded at it. I haven't heard from him in a couple of years now. I find it somewhat possible that he scammed me out of my money too in some way, although I have no evidence of this.
I still didn't get to the dog part and PCA, I thought I could fit it all in that part. I'm such a rambling writer. Also I didn't have time to proof-read at all so there might be more typos than usual. Again I'm like 99,9% sure that everything went exactly the way written above, but if my memory is letting me down on some minor detail anyone who was there can feel free to correct me. I'm not gonna be able to post in this thread much in the next few days.