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Home, Sweet, Home... Without my Handbag

September 21, 2009

After a month of traveling I'm back in Melbourne, Australia. With PokerNews Cup starting this weekend it will keep me on the home turf for a little while which is nice.

Once we wrapped up WPT Cyprus I was lucky enough to take a few days off and head over to Ireland to visit all of my extended family. I spent three days there and loved every minute of it, as it's not often I get to see them. Both nights were spent in Temple Bar (of course), doing a brilliant job in keeping up with my Irish counterparts. Unfortunately early on my second night when hugging an early departing cousin goodbye, my bag was swiped in a matter of seconds. No one saw who it was as it took a minute or two to realise, but I'll tell you what, there was some serious fury that came over me once I had. Of course the area that it happened was "out of range" of the security cameras, even though we were standing in the main part of the bar. Go figure. Some police officers happened to be on the street so we reported it, but there wasn't much else I could do besides deal with this new big pain in my arse. £200, credit cards, ID, not one but two cameras, make-up, and the rest of my life that I carry with me all day, everyday, were all gone! The positive side I saw, besides no one being hurt of course, was that I only had Pounds and no Euros in my wallet, so the quick fix I'm sure the scumbags were trying to pay for, suddenly wasn't so quick.

A random local guy came up offering me €100 to help me out which we thought at first was suss, but in hindsight after witnessing my mums furious, patriotic reaction from being "robbed in my own country", I think now was just a genuine, generous and disappointed local Dubliner. I kindly declined, but it was a nice gesture.

After the three days of hugs and goodbyes, I stopped in London for 1.5 days before the rechid flight back to Melbourne. We started the day of sightseeing (cameraless) with a Magners in Shakespear's Head, a traditional English pub on Carnaby Street between Oxford and Picadilly Circus. I completed the day with a visit to a somewhat frightening tattoo parlour to have my nose pierced by a girl with a face full of piercings and a chest full of ink. I've wanted to do it for years, but never had the guts, and then finally decided that if I was ever going to do it, it was going to be in London! So I bit the bullet, and I love it!! It didn't hurt nearly as much as I anticipated, although right now while I adjust to it, I just feel like I'm in urgent need of blowing my nose.

Tonight I'm making my debut as a co-host of the PokerNetwork Hour radio show on SEN! My actual debut on the show was as a nervous guest while I was at WPT Cyprus, but tonight will be the full kit and kaboodle in the studio, which will probably mean some extra first-timer nerves. Wish me luck!

WPT Merit Cyprus Classic... Almost over :(

September 12, 2009 1 comments

Well Day 5 of the WPT Merit Cyprus Classic has wrapped, and we're set up in the poker room ready for the final table. Day 4 started with 21 players, not quite in the money. It only took an hour to burst the bubble, and unfortunately it burst on the lone Aussie in the field Anthony Aboukhalil from Sydney. We only played down to 10 players, and then returned again yesterday to play down to six, ready for the final table any minute now. Five of the 10 players yesterday were notables, with the other five not-so-known. The four we lost were the biggest names (Layne Flack, Huck Seed, Jonathan Little and Nenad Medic), with Rep Porter quite relieved about being the only pro left for today.

The field was smaller than expected, with 181 runners all up. But it was more about quality not quantity here, with sooo many Full Tilters and big names including Chris Ferguson, Huck Seed, my new Twitter following pal Andy Bloch, the notorious smooth mover Gus Hansen, Layne Flack rocking the oh-so-fitting number 69 around his neck for the entire tournament, November Niner James Akenhead, Nenad Medic, Patrik Antonius, Phil Gordon, Dan Harrington, prop-bet lover Antonio Esfandiari who tried to put a wager on our Calling the Clock, and the colourful character Mike Matusow after a snooze on the couch outside the poker room.

Be sure to check out our video on Merit Crystal Cove and Northern Cyprus - this place is amazing, I've loved every minute of it. Once work started we still had a couple of chances to hit the beach. Day 4 wrapped up early and the five of us PokerNews-ers hit the beach for cocktails under the sunset, before heading out for dinner. The word around the WPT was Dragon was the place to go, so we finally had a chance to find out for ourselves. And my god... Easily the best Chinese meal I've ever had. Funny that I've come to Cyprus from China, and I find the best meal here cooked by Turkish Cypriots. I finally managed to have a real glass of white wine too! After downing a few of those, and the boys paying Crug to eat a bowl of chili sauce, we hit a bar down the road for some Hookah's and met up with some more friends, Jeanine and Yaani. On the way I tortured the boys with my shopping at the night markets. Shopping after a few drinks is never a good idea - I start to think that money just grows on trees and I bought almost everything I saw. To my surprise the next day though, I made some brilliant decisions. I made friends with some local stray dogs who were soooo excited that someone was paying them attention. Yes, if I was sober I would have refrained from touching them, but I couldn't help it, and found myself running around the street with these three stray dogs all over me! The next couple of hours consisted of Hookahs, more drinks, games of checkers and attempting to sing along with the Turkish band. F-Train fell asleep at the table, so he left to head back to the hotel with Jeanine and Yaani, and GG, Ramhole, Crug and I all kept searching for more booze-stops. Unfortunately we didn't have too much luck as this isn't exactly what you would call a "party town", but we did stumble across an underground nightclub and went in for a drink. Our party of four doubled the amount of customers the place had. That didn't hold off any tearing up of the dancefloor though.

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Last night we went into town again and had dinner at Niazi's - known for their kebabs. We ordered a full kebab and the food just kept coming and coming, so I left with one hell of a bloated stomach, but it was well worth it. I hit the night market again and got a henna tattoo on my ankle, which was disappointing but still kinda cool. The original idea was to get it on my hand... Thank god I didn't or it would have looked like I attacked myself with a Sharpie permanent marker.

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The final table has just sat at their seats and the speeches have commenced. It's time for me to get back to work, for my last day in Cyprus!

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Next stop for me is Dublin, Ireland to visit the family while on this side of the world. Being an isolated Australian makes me feel like a five hour flight across Europe is just a drop-in while in the neighbourhood.

2009-09-07

September 07, 2009

Tags: APPT Macau, WPT Cyprus.

In Cyprus Paradise... Minus the Food Poisoning

September 04, 2009

I'm currently in gorgeous Cyprus, with a few days up my sleeve before starting work at the WPT on Sunday. The island is split between the Greeks and Turkish, which was a bit of an eye opener while driving from one side to the other. On the Greek side all the road signs were obviously in Greek, with one sign noticed on the side of the road stating their mission for "Turks to be out". When you cross the border, you need to show your passport to gain permission, however our driver did all of this for us, with the security not even checking the car to ensure our photos matched our passports. For all they knew there could have been five other people in the car, so clearly it's not too difficult to cross over. On either side of the borders are fenced off army-barrack properties, with the barbed-wire fences showing signs of men with machine guns and trespass warnings. They were a little confronting to say the least. Then, the Turkish influence appears on the northern side of the island. I thought Americans were huge on patriotism... This place puts the US to shame!

Besides all the evidence of rivalry, and the baron inland, the island is absolutely stunning along the coast. We're staying at Merit Crystal Cove, the same venue as the tournament, which is an all-inclusive beachside resort. Basically my days consist of: buffet breakfast, a bit of a swim and bake on the beach with free cocktails, buffet lunch by the beach, more swimming/baking, buffet dinner, more free drinks, sleep, repeat. Tough huh?

The food has been fantastic - we're located on the Turkish side, so there's a lot of traditional breads and deserts. The buffets include everything you want - from fish, to chicken, to kebabs, to pasta. Not to mention olive oil being thrown around like it's water. At dinner there's live music every night, with the odd appearance from a belly dancer.

Until this morning... When two of us ate the same sausage at breakfast. About 20 minutes later we were ready to puke. We toughed it out and hit the gym, but that probably made it worse. I was bed ridden for the rest of day with food poisoning. Ugh! What a waste of perfect beach time - I couldn't even handle the sea breeze outside, I had to stay in bed. At least tomorrow I have one more day before work starts to make up for the play time!

Word is that around 250 are expected for the Main Event, with a lot of big names including pretty much all of the Full Tilt pros making an appearance except Ivey and Harman. Some players are starting to roll in early, such as Jeff Lisandro, Huck Seed and Daniel Alaei. It should be good!

Now it's time to get some sleep and hope for the best that I wake up 100%! Fingers crossed...{img:6987}

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