One of my favourite places in the entire world, is the city of Venice. Being there is like stepping into a strange but beautiful dream. There is sincerely nowhere else like it in the world.
This month gives you lots of reasons to be in Venice. There is the WPT National event and the WPT Global tournament too (for those of you not lucky enough to be in Venice, there’s of course Pokerfest to keep you busy!) Back in Venice it’s Carnevale (which makes it all the more incredible) and if you visit in the springtime, you miss out on the sweltering heat that the summer can bring to the region. Here is a list of things to try, for you lucky people who are heading there to play some poker:
1# Wander aimlessly
Staring open-mouthed in wonder at the fact that this place actually exists. This is what I spend most of my time doing, even though I’m lucky enough to have visited fairly often. With the tiny alleyways and seemingly randomly placed bridges, it’s easy to get lost in Venice but because the central area is so small, it doesn’t take long to find yourself again too. While you’re lost, keep your eyes open for the beautiful little spaces hidden down the streets you might never have taken otherwise.
Every region in Italy has very different cuisine and Venice is famous for it’s seafood (not surprisingly). Try things that you don’t recognise, be brave! Go into some Osterie and order as many
different little bites of food as you can. It’s a kind of tapas but Italian style! You may not like everything, but the trying is half the fun.
Go out and buy a mask and then wander around the streets near San Marco Square and people-watch for the colourful, elaborate costumes they wear to celebrate. A fountain is set up in the Square that is literally flowing with red wine. You can grab some of this and a hot fried bit of dough to eat as you listen to the music and watch the street artists performing. It’s like Pokerfest IRL.
4# Slippery When Wet
Don’t fall in the canal or go for a swim. Tourists do this every year and you can get incredibly ill from the water. On my first trip to Venice with some friends years ago, the water level rose while we were having dinner to the point that the square was flooded with water and we couldn’t figure out how to reach our hotel.
This happens sometimes and usually there will be a raised walkway put out so that you can cross the water without getting wet. For some reason, it wasn’t there this time and so we decided (after a few glasses of wine, which totally ruined our judgement) to just take off our shoes and walk across the square through about a foot of water. It was like we’d set off some kind of silent alarm in the dark silent street as Venetians started yelling at us from their windows to get out of the water as we would get “rat feet.” I never did figure out what that was but it sounded scary enough to make us all put our shoes back on and find an alternative route to the hotel.
Although things have modernised in the Venetian sewage system, the canals are still a large part of how they deal with waste, so you really don’t want to go swimming. Trust me.
5# Forget About Time
Remember that time works differently in Venice. Don’t rush while you eat. Luxuriate in the hours and hours of food and don’t expect the shops to always be open. Midday, most shops will close for a 3 hour lunch break. I wasn’t kidding about the long meals! I was trying to find some souvenirs for my parents on one of my last visits there and came across this sign in a shop window which translates as “I don’t have a schedule or plan, nor do I want one. I’m against this by nature. My kitchen has no clock. I’ll take my time. My work lasts until it has to last.” Words to live by – Kara Scott
Pokerfest – A Massive Amount Of Tournaments.
Talking about Carnival did we mention Pokerfest? Bigger than ever, packed with Hold’em, Omaha, bounty tournaments, rebuys, turbos and much, much more plus low low buy-ins all ranging from $5 – or qualifiers from just $1 seriously what’s not to be excited about? Our prize pools are set to go as high as the $300,000 guaranteed Main Event on 16th March so really you won’t want to miss a second of the action. Check the full schedule here.