Last time on Once Upon A Time, poker legend Isabelle Mercier went down memory lane to talk about her childhood and her first poker earnings. Now, she goes a bit further in time to recall the time when she was a constant nomad, traveling nonstop for tournaments.
“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” – Saint Augustine
If things have changed drastically in the last few months when it comes to travel, thank you little pangolin, there was a time when I was a very big “reader” who devoured pages throughout the year.
Indeed, when I joined the Pokerstars team in October 2004 as an ambassador and pro player, I accepted to play on the international live circuit and literally live there!
Me, little Isabelle from the small town of Victoriaville in Quebec, had already had the chance to travel a lot thanks to my position at ACF where I worked for 5 years.
Indeed, I would walk from casino to casino to encourage foreign players to come to Paris by promising them that I would take care of them and their arrangements even if they did not speak French.
When I subsequently decided to go pro, I sold absolutely everything I had and that’s when I officially became homeless. I flew to Los Angeles and the Commerce Casino was my first destination.
A lot of hassles followed over the months, but the pro contract was a game-changer, and tournament commitments to play around the world quickly filled the pages of my agenda.
A Nomad Lifestyle
I quickly realized that I would never be at the same address for more than ten days. Under these conditions, what is the point of re-renting an apartment or investing in a pied-à-Terre?
I bought two big, solid top-quality suitcases and the deal was done. My home would change appearance with every move. Most of the time it would still take the form of a hotel suite.
Macau, Monaco, the Bahamas, Barcelona, Vegas, Amsterdam, Sydney, Evian… my passport has never been stamped so much in all his life, he was on the verge of filing a complaint about mistreatment…
When it was renewed, I was also entitled to a 48-pages passport instead of the classic 24-pages basic one, because all the pages were stamped!
Advantages and Disadvantages of Traveling Constantly
Being without any fixed ties and spending time in airports and hotels is very strange at first. There is a destabilizing, even dizzying side, it takes a little time to adapt. All of a sudden, I no longer had a home or rather the reverse, I was home everywhere.
What is your address Isa? Uh… 22, planet Earth Avenue? This kind of globetrotting lifestyle has many advantages.
Discover new destinations (I tried as much as possible to book myself a few days before or after the tournaments to visit the country), have the luxury of only paying one utility bill per month (the cell phone one), not having to stress for an apartment, having to do maintenance work or endure the daily routine.
Nonetheless, as with everything, there is a flip side to this freedom coin and some setbacks.
I remember several times traveling with low-cost companies. I was so glad to have found plane tickets for 29 €. Kaboom! The only “small” problem was that it cost me 300€ in excess baggage!
My two faithful calves on wheels who accompanied me everywhere seriously put into perspective the price bargain I had thought of doing under these circumstances …
Since I was filling my suitcases to the max, if I wanted to buy something, for example, a pair of shoes, I absolutely had to dispose of something in the suitcase.
Where I Found Home: Las Vegas
I had lots of happy times during those years when I was handing out the old items in my suitcase to accommodate new ones. Just because you don’t have a home doesn’t mean you can’t stay trendy.
Even though this traveling spirit, this Sur la Route de Kerouac side, was happiness in miles, I must admit, however, that my highlight of the year was when I arrived in Las Vegas to play the WSOP.
There, I really felt like I had a permanent home. I would sit in my “corner suite” with a view of the Bellagio fountains for two months of time.
When you spend your time constantly changing cities, staying only a few days, spending two full months in the city. same address, even if it’s a hotel, it really feels good!
Little habits are being put in place, you feel a bit at home, in a cocoon of the artificial Strip of course, but which is very important, especially to spend through two months of intense poker.
Now I travel a lot less often and it’s not really the pangolin’s fault. Poker is still around, but mostly online. Mr. Saint Augustine, please forgive me.
I plan to continue traveling and “reading the world”. It’s just that now I read a page every now and then and not three books a week like I used to.
Meet me at the tables on CoinPoker to practice your skills and enjoy the action. Open yourself a CoinPoker account today.
Isabelle “No Mercy” Mercier
WPT Winner & OFC “Progressive” World Champion