LG... Life's Good
Many people in the Philippines are exceptionally poor — living in shacks, consuming not much more than boiled rice.
Yet they are quite possibly THE happiest people on the planet.
Their connectedness is inspirational. They don’t have doors on their homes – the mothers of all the villages are outside together, helping, talking, loving. Their gratitude for the simplest things is amazing. Their perspective is grounded and they absolutely love life. They’re not stuck in their story of self-pity.
They have FUN. The kids run around the streets fearlessly, with smiles from ear to ear. Not one tantrum in sight. Every corner you turn there is someone greeting you with so much genuine joy. They’re honest. They’re real. And they are rich with unconditional love.
While we can do a lot to help Filipinos monetarily, we can also learn a heck of a few important lessons from the beautiful people in this place.
I haven’t been to any other islands other than Cebu and Mactan, but I can tell you that I absolutely LOVE it here!
In the following video, we take a REAL tour of Cebu, diving deep into the Filipino street-culture. This was one of the funnest videos I’ve made to date. An amazing experience.
Perth is definitely one of the world’s most liveable cities. It’s so clean, serene, and beautiful.
In the following video I give a tour of some of my favourite spots around town, including King’s Park with it’s stunning views and pristine gardens, beautiful City Beach, along with it’s must-visit place for a beachside feast, Clancy’s Fish Pub. We also drop into Cottesloe Beach where I enjoyed an incredible lunch at Indiana (although I wasn’t able to film inside – let me tell you, it is awesome).
The tour ends at Crown Perth, where we're located all this week for the Australia and New Zealand Poker Tour, filming for PokerNews.com and PokerStars.tv.
I always get excited when I check-in to a hotel. I love that first moment when I open the door to what will be my new home for the week. Scoping out the free amenities and testing out the pillows on my “new bed” – that never gets old.
However, while the luxury of room service and a mini-bar are great, it’s really hard not to miss a full kitchen and wholesome home-cooked meals. Life on the road can be an exceptionally unhealthy one. Fighting jet lag often forces me to choose sleep over gym, and having a never-ending supply of Kit Kats staring me in the face every night when I get home from work is like self-torture trying to keep away.
My new routine, as soon as I arrive in a new city, is to find the nearest supermarket and stock up on no-cooking-needed supplies for the week. I empty out the Coca-Cola and Mars Bars from the mini-bar, and replace with water (that doesn’t cost $6 per bottle), almond milk, nuts, fruits, veggies, etc.
I travel with containers so that I can pack a lunch and snacks for the day, which helps keep me away from overdoing it on processed and/or regretful foods throughout the day. (The other bonus is saving money.)
My Typical Hotel Room Salad:
- Baby spinach and/or rocket
- Cherry tomatoes
- Nuts and seeds
- Dressed with apple cider vinegar & flaxseed oil
Put all ingredients into a container and shake – voila!
After a heavy year of non-stop travel, Angel and I finally have some time to ourselves for a well needed break. Our destination of choice? Mexico's incredible Playa del Carmen, located just under an hour south of Cancun.
I've been instagramming like crazy over the past week because this place is just so beautiful! If you're looking for a vacation destination, or even a temporary home to get back online, then why not join over 60 other American poker players who moved here since Black Friday? Imagine having all of this in your backyard!
We spent a month here last year also, so I'm starting to feel like a local. If you are contemplating a move, hit me up in the comments below and I'd be more than happy help you out.
That's it for this week, thanks for stopping by. I'm sure I'll have plenty more next week!
Last week was the inaugural Asia Championship of Poker in the casino-haven of Macau. The event was a great success, with heaps of well-known pros flying in to play in the HKD$100,000 Main Event – the largest buy-in Main Event that Asia has ever seen. I’ve been to Macau every year for four years, and this trip was by far my favourite.
The original destination of the APPT was Grand Waldo Casino, located on Taipai Island – which is more of the Las Vegas mirror image than the main island of Macau. They then moved to Grand Lisboa for a few seasons. This year, PokerStars Macau returned to their original home for the launch of ACOP. The huge difference this time around, in comparison to the earlier years, is that an extraordinary complex, known as Galaxy Macau, now towers over Grand Waldo with three luxurious hotels and a plentiful selection of dining, shopping and entertainment. No longer is Grand Waldo a dark and lonely hotel and casino on the outskirts of the Cotai Strip.
I would describe Galaxy as a combination of Las Vegas’ Caesars Palace and Mandalay Bay – thanks to my favourite feature, the manmade beach and wave pool. Angel Guillen and I were lucky enough to stay at Galaxy Hotel, and even had a couple of nights at the incredible Okura Hotel, both thanks to some last minute generous help from one of the kindest people in the world, Bryan Huang. Both hotels are within the Galaxy Macau complex, along with a Banyan Tree – the epitome of luxury. One morning before work began (many thanks to the late starts each day), Angel and I had one of the most incredible experiences at the Banyan Tree Spa. Every second of our time in there was blissful. The staff were so warm and welcoming, the facilities were immaculate and impressively designed, and my facial was beyond amazing. Our treatment began with a foot soak and massage while we sipped on ginger tea and ate fresh fruit in our bamboo-lined room. It was heaven! Too bad I had to go to work immediately afterwards…
So, back to work I went, and I must say we were spoiled with smoke-free space at Grand Waldo, which was a nice change. Here is a quick video tour of the ACOP tournament area:
Within the ginormous space we had, there was a PokerStars Mobile Lounge, where two daily, free-to-enter, iPad SnG’s were being held, and the winner of each nine-handed tournament won an iPad! On top of that, there was also the Zoom Challenge where players had 20,000 in play-money chips to begin, and whoever ran it up the highest within 12 minutes, over the course of the tournament, would win an iPad. That same event will be held at PCA, although that will be more of a high-stakes challenge, as it boasts a $1,000 buy-in!
Donnie Peters challenged me to the iPad SnG, so I simply had to document my feat on video. Whether it turned out a feat for me or not, you’ll have to watch to find out. Hint: I’m not writing this on an iPad!
APPT President, Danny McDonagh, is one of my favourite Tournament Directors in the world. He is always bantering with players, staff, media or anyone in his path. He loves to have a great time and takes the effort to ensure players enjoy their experience to the fullest, both on and off the felt. He’s obviously a brilliant Tournament Director and has the deserving respect of all players in this region. He also doesn’t hold back when it comes to enjoying a party. In fact, none of the PokerStars APPT team do! Robin Lim, the Events Manager, is a magician. I don’t mean in the sense that he puts together unbelievable events (which he can); he’s literally the guy on stage performing magic tricks. So naturally, the party in Macau each year is always one of the best, and this year, the ACOP schedule was specifically worked around it. We finished play on Day 1, the night of the party, at 10pm, and we didn’t begin Day 2 until 5pm! The party was absolutely nuts - it was held at D2 Nighclub and it was Ladies Night. One "feature" about D2 (or perhaps Macau) is that there are countless beautiful women, on display, if you will. They literally wear numbers and you can order your favourite at the bar... It's definitely an eye-opener. Not as bad the "racetrack" that I witnessed last year! Anyway, here's the video of the party, it was pretty awesome.
Team PokerStars Pros Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier and Eugene Katchalov were in town for the event, and it’s no secret that they’ve been pretty serious with their fitness regimes. So much so, that they have their trainer, Lincon Rodriguez travel the world with them. Lincon is such a daredevil, the complete definition of fearless. So he managed to successfully convince ElkY to bungy jump off the top of Macau Tower - the highest bungy jump in the world.
I have no idea how ElkY managed to work up the courage to take that jump, but I must say his “chicken dance” as he was jumping was absolutely hilarious. I’m much happier keeping my feet on the ground, though!
That’s it from me for now; next stop is Auckland, New Zealand this week for the ANZPT!
This weekend PokerStars.net is hosting an ANZPT Main Event and, as always, we're in tow with all the live updates.
Each time I return to Crown, which is at least a few times per year, there is always something new to see or try - restaurants, bars, casino games, shops. The works. The entire west end of the complex went through a major renovation this year, which is located just above the Crown Poker Room. There are a few cool bars in The West End, so we took the cameras through, and it's just all part of the job to enjoy a few drinks along the way!!
I'm writing this blog as I sit in my hotel lobby in Sanremo, Italy, waiting for my taxi to Nice, where I will begin my long journey back to Australia. For the past 10 days I've been in Sanremo for the PokerStars.it European Poker Tour. When flying all the way to Italy from Australia, it would have been crazy of me to not extend my stay a few days to be able to take the time and explore, so Angel and I did just that. The original plan for our days off was to spend an afternoon or two in nearby towns, but we loved Sanremo so much that we stayed here the entire time.
Sanremo is a pretty small town, so it's easy to explore on foot. La Pigna (The Pine Cone) is the oldest part of town, and the center of almost everything you need to see. Getting lost throughout these streets narrow streets was simply awesome, as you climb the steep hills and find yourself up atop of the entire city. Check out the following to see exactly what a mean:
We stayed at Hotel Miramare Continental Palace for 10 nights. The hotel is an old castle from the 1800's, overlooking the beach, and just a short walk from the casino. Our room had the most beautiful double doors that opened out to a balcony with a view of the beach - I loved it! While I haven't stayed anywhere else in Sanremo, I still could not recommend this hotel enough - provided that you receive a room with a balcony. It's well priced, a basic continental breakfast is included and lovely hotel staff. Just make sure you get a spacious room - as every room is completely different. A couple of my teammates at PokerNews were not as lucky and were squashed into what felt like a closet.
While I've been here, the amount that everyone has been raving about Ristaurante Mare Blu has been beyond belief. The key to its popularity, on top of the fantastic menu, is that in recent years, the clever owner recognised that catering for the hundreds of poker players in town for these two weeks each year was a huge business. They adjusted their schedule and menu to suit poker players on a limited dinner break, with a featured ravioli dish that is guaranteed to be served up in speedy time. Sarah Grant and I paid the restaurant a visit to see what all the fuss was about:
Casino San Remo is situated right in the centre of La Pigna, and was conveniently our office for the EPT, which drew in 797 players who each paid €5,000 to take part in the Main Event. It was an absolute festival of poker last week with excellent side events drawing in huge fields and awarding millions and millions of euros. The main spotlight was on the Main Event though, and the ever-so-deserving Frenchman, Ludovic Lacay was the one to take that title. Here is my interview with him straight after his win.
Thanks for reading my blog, now it's time for me to head home and get ready for ANZPT Melbourne at Crown Casino!
Wow, Barcelona is AWESOME. I've been here once before and loved it, but it was a whirlwind trip. This time, I was lucky enough to have a couple of days to chill out before the PokerStars.com EPT Barcelona kicked off. I managed to wander the streets aimlessly, eating amazing paella & tapas, while drinking the best sangria I've ever tasted. The vibe in this city is awesome with a quirky, kicked-back coolness, reminding me of a giant version of St Kilda - one of my favourite areas of my hometown, Melbourne. Here's a tour around town we filmed for PokerStars.tv, showing off some of my favourite spots:
What a week we've had here in Northern Cyprus for the World Poker Tour! The event was held at the five-star luxury Merit Crystal Cove Hotel & Casino, just a short drive from the popular harbor town of Kyrenia. With plenty of notables playing, and two Royal Flush Girls in tow, we were able to have a lot of fun off the felt in this Mediterranean playground. There were so many videos that earned themselves a top spot in my list of favourites, which you can catch in this edition of Video Vault but here's a quick video recap of all the fun, rolled into one:
Right now, I'm in the south of the island, in the awesome town of Larnaca, chilling out for the weekend until I head over to Barcelona for the EPT. It's a tough life on the road!! #lifesgood