I can't believe it's already time to start thinking about the 2014 PCA. This will be my sixth trip to Atlantis, and it's going to be a special one. It will mark one year since I met with ElkY, Eugene Katchalov and their trainer Lincoln and started to change my diet and my lifestyle.
I'm not exaggerating when I say the 2013 PCA changed my life. Since then I've lost 27 kilos! I've also become much healthier about what I eat and how I exercise. I'm really, really proud of this, and most of all I'm proud that I stuck with it for a whole year.
For the first three months it was tough to stay focused. My mind's first instinct was towards unhealthy food. I didn't want to stay away from potato chips and other kinds of junk food. Exercising was a challenge also. Every time I went to a session, my mind would start to wander after 20 or 30 minutes. It would say, "Ok, you're done. Let's go do something else."
But I didn't give in, and after three months it started getting better. By the end of the fourth month I was completely in tune with the system. The funny part then was that my mind started working in the opposite direction. Potato chips were unappealing. I couldn't stay away from the exercise even if I wanted to. It became much easier to keep the system working.
Even though I've been to the PCA five times, this one is going to have a little more meaning. This time I'm probably going to have my family with me as well, which is always a huge difference for me. I miss them so much when I travel for poker. To stay away from them for two weeks while at the PCA is really hard, especially since I spend so much time traveling the rest of the year. Having them around gives me more concentration when I'm play poker and allows me to relax more when I'm not. Each half contributes to improving my play.
This year we're taking a trip to Orlando in December. So there's a chance they won't come to the PCA with me. But I think I can convince them to go. We're keeping an eye on the weather though. If the weather is good, my kids have a lot of fun at the PCA. But when the weather isn't so good, like it was the last time they came, they don't know what to do with themselves. They don't want to go to the beach so they start asking me to do other things with them. That's a challenge for my concentration.
No matter what happens, I'll stick to my exercise schedule. I already have certain things planned out: basketball; functional exercises; swimming. It's nice to have a schedule and know you're going to be doing these things but still playing poker. It's the best scenario.
Playing poker in Atlantis is really special. Even if you bust you're not so sad. And this year I'll be able to look back at a year of changes and think about how much happier I am because of them.
See you there!
Andre Akkari is a member of Team PokerStars Pro