LG... Life's Good
Booking budget flights on an airline that owns a tiny two circa 1990’s planes, with the name Viva Macau, which no one outside the poker community has ever heard of, has to spark a little concern when getting ready to let them own your fate of seeing past the age of 25.
A couple of days before I left I received a text message saying the flight was delayed. Arriving at the airport I could help but wish it was canceled, I really wasn’t ready to die! And there it was… “Flight Canceled” flashed on the screen. Yes it sucked, considering I’d pulled an all nighter to ensure I slept on the plane, but in the long run when myself and Ducky and about 10 other poker players were lined up for at the Virgin Atlantic desk five hours later to take us on a trustworthy flight to Hong Kong… it wasn’t so bad. To add to that, I even scored my first ever upgrade! There I was… “Premium Economy”… which, to me, was Business with the fat chairs, champagne on arrival, cushy socks and eye masks… Heaven! Van Marcus had paid his way there, but Julian Powell and I suddenly seemed to be having a day of “running sooooooo good”. Of course, before we even took off Julian already knew the hot Asian hostess on a first name basis!
When you land in Hong Kong you’re confronted by a mass of face masks... You have to fill out a form to confirm you have no symptoms of Swine Flu, and even when you get off the Hong Kong–Macau ferry, you’re tested with an infrared temperature meter to ensure you weren’t lying. Intense!
Luckily no bags were missing and at 3am I was “home sweet home” at Sofitel Ponte 16 for a well overdue shower and snooze.
I had a couple of days up my sleeve to check out the sights before starting work, so the first place I hit was the Hard Rock Day Spa at City of Dreams on the other island (Cotai). I had three hours of pampering for only AU$200! And none of this dodgy Thai Massage rubbish, it was all above board.
The rest of my time was pretty much spent by the pool with the swim up bar, and baking in the sun.
Once Craig arrived in Macau with the camera, we shot our location feature. Walking the streets of this city is bizarre. The extravagant casinos are just like you’d expect to see in Vegas, but then the local streets are the extreme opposite with shed-like housing that looks as if it’s about to topple over with a single gush of wind. There are some amazing sights, but some definitely made me feel appreciative of our way of life in Australia.
We went up the Macau Tower, and I’m not the best with heights so the glass panels on the floor, 266 meters up, made my legs lose the plot! The view was amazing, it looks just like Vegas, but I have no idea how people bungee jump off that thing like Theo Tran did today!
The APT was here just before the APPT, so we landed an invite to the party which was held on the 39th floor penthouse at Star World. Keeping up with the tournament, the party was decorated with gorgeous Asian models that kept the boys well entertained. And, admittedly, I couldn’t get my eyes off them in admiration either, they were stunning! After the party most people ended up at a nightclub called D4, but, very out of character, I didn’t last long. I heard the next day the crew ended up on a VIP table so I was shattered that I bailed!
The APPT is held at the Grand Lisboa which is an amazing hotel that sticks out like a giant pineapple in the middle of Macau. The night before Day 1A was the PokerStars Welcome Party. Most of the players were there, so I got to meet all the Team Asia Pros who are an awesome bunch of guys (and girl!) and caught up with the Aussies. Unfortunately the first day we started work we had heaps of internet trouble, so I didn’t get hooked up until half hour before end of play. Rough!!
For the APPT we’re making the videos for PokerStars.tv also. I’ve interviewed most of the Team Asia & Australia Pros, did a Calling the Clock with Eric Assadourian and Theo Tran, landed a guided tour of the amazing restaurants and suites at Grand Lisboa for one of our feature vids, had a Mandarin poker lesson with Celina Lin, and heaps more, so make sure you check out tv.pokernews.com.
Besides the amazing breakfast buffet at our hotel with every breakfast-food you can imagine, and a couple of other meals, I’ve been a little disappointed with the food in Macau. Maybe it’s my selection of restaurants, but I thought I loved Asian food! Turns out I’ve loved “Westernised” Asian food. I can’t get past leaving the yellow bumpy raw-like skin on the chicken, as well as the bones throughout it. So a couple of meals were left uneaten. However, there’s two restaurants at Grand Lisboa that have blown me away. I grabbed a take-away lunch at The Congee and Noodle Corner which isn't quite Michelin Star-ed, but is recommended by them. I ordered my always favourite – a chicken and cashew with rice dish – and it didn’t let me down. It even had chilies to give it a bite. But probably not a breath my interviewee’s would appreciate! Next was The Kitchen that has received a Michelin Star. Wow, if you ever visit Macau you MUST eat here. It’s an open kitchen steakhouse that’s more in the higher price range, but worth every bite. I had the Cream of Tomato soup which came out looking like a pie with a pastry puff coating over the top of the bowl. I ordered the small main to keep plenty of room for the huge self-serve salad bar with everything you can think of to include in your side – from meats to cheese, to roasted veggies and antipasti.
On Thursday night I had my very first initiation to a live tournament. Kirsty Brew and I wrapped up work and entered the HKD$1,500 APPT Ladies Event. I was expecting 1-2 tables, but there turned out to be 34 entrants, mostly consisting of WAGs and a few local “terminators” as Jeanie Hachem so correctly put it. On my table I had a few terminators, Jeanie, and Raymond Wu’s stunning girlfriend who was also playing her first tourney, which Raymond was more excited about than she was! It started off pretty slow, but then there was plenty of action once everyone relaxed. I was folding almost every hand to begin with, which eventually makes me play rubbish due to my lack of patience, but I kept my cool and hung in there. Now here’s my first ever poker story… Let’s see how I go attempting to sound like a “player”…
I was crippled with my first bad beat (Here's my revenge telling the bad beat story for once). I shoved pre-flop with pocket 10’s, then flopped a set so was convinced it was all mine… But the one caller rivered a flush! That didn’t put me out though, and I ended up getting another two pocket pairs in a row after that. I was on the button with pocket Kings, and Raymond Wu’s girl shoved pre-flop with threes. The board showed nothing and I was suddenly back! A little later the girl to my right was short in the small blind, it folded around to her and she went all in. I had A-6, and knew she was bluffing so I called. And bluffing she was – 10-7. Out came an A-6 on the flop, and I knocked out someone for the first time! Whoohoo! Unfortunately though both pots were small, and I eventually ended up bubbling the final table when I was in the SB with K-6 and only about one BB left in my stack so I was forced to go all-in against A-K or something, but being the newbie that I am I can’t even remember what I got knocked out with!!
There we have it… My first poker story!
Well, the APPT has just wrapped up, and I’ve finally managed to finish this epic blog. So much for my attempted daily entries… My next stop is WPT Cyprus, I will try my best there
But for now, it’s time to pack, visit Hong Kong tomorrow, and then lay on a beach in Cyprus for a few days!