LG... Life's Good
I just LOVE this time of year in Australia. Christmastime is always so exciting to me - I love the buzz of excitement that's everywhere you go. I particularly love Christmas in Australia because it's HOT! It's summertime down under, so the holidays are all about having a barbecue outside and heading to the beach! I wish you a safe and merry Christmas! LG xx
My verdict on Macau after three visits over the past three years: it’s just not my cup of tea. Don't get me wrong, most of the people visiting during the APPT absolutely loved it - especially my co-workers. The boys particularly loved the place with the cheap spas (not necessarily those spas) and gorgeous girls filling out Vegas-style nightclubs at a quarter of the price to its idol city. It's certainly every bit of Las Vegas, just an oriental translation.
The Awkward Moment When You Get in the Elevator...
At least once everyday, I had to share my elevator with a couple. Not your ordinary couple though. A 30-minute relationship that began on the ground floor, also known as the "race track", and happily ended on the sixth floor of my hotel. It started off intriguing, and while I'm certainly not judging the profession whatsoever, I just couldn't help but begin to resent the commonly rude, dominant men that I had to share my elevator with, along with their timid, unspoken "purchasee". People can certainly do what they want, and it's one of the biggest businesses in the world, but after being forced in the middle of it for a week (questionable choice of words there, I don't mean literally), I just didn't like the energy.
On my last day in Macau, I sent a Tweet to try to understand why many Chinese men, mostly 40+, constantly spit; at least in Macau and Hong Kong they do, from what I’ve seen. And I don't mean just spit... I mean the full "haaauuuhhooooochhhhh" as Dale 'Daleroxxu' Philip described it. You hear (and see) it every 10 minutes when walking around Macau. Some people responded on Twitter that it was about the pollution or smoking, but there are other cities in the world that are just as polluted and don't do this. Others said it was a spiritual belief of ridding bad energy from their bodies. Although they seem to just attract bad energy from those in the room around them! That was one custom I was really struggling to adjust to! Apparently now Hong Kong deliver fines for anyone caught spitting in public.
Macau has been in the poker-spotlight for quite some time now, and it really is a poker-players heaven for most, with places such as The Grand Waldo Spa to spend your Sunday grind kicking back on a giant recliner while getting super cheap pedicures and massages. The restaurants at The Grand Lisboa, where the APPT is held, are simply awesome, and of course so is the stunning hotel that I was lucky enough to stay in last year. My tip: order coffee at Crystal Cafe (under the poker room) when Lincoln is working - he was the only one who made an awesome coffee! And the white bread they use there for their toast is amazing. Random, but true.
As for the sights, there are some great things to see, but I won't write about it as I think I did enough talking in the following video!
With the long days of work, hitting the town at night wasn’t an overly available option for someone who needs their sleep like I do, except for one crazy night where we celebrated the kick off to the Main Event and PokerStars’ 10th Birthday and one of Macau’s most popular nightclubs, D2. Usually the male to female ratio at poker parties is so heavily skewed, it was a pleasant surprise to see so many females when we arrived. Check out the video if you don’t believe me!
One of my favorite things about working in the poker industry is the awesome people that you get to meet and work with. It’s rare for me to meet a poker player that I dislike. I don’t know Randy ‘nanonoko’ Lew that well, but from what I do know, he is an awesome guy, and with that added to his monster online-cash-game skills, you’ve just got to love him! We could see it in his face with each all-in moment he had at this final table, just how much his heart and soul was in it to land that title. And that he did. Congratulations Randy!
The (Legit) Massage
Lastly, I had a few hours to spare in the Hong Kong International Airport so I got myself a chair massage in the Traveller's Lounge near Gate 1. My expectations weren't that high for a spontaneous airport massage, but oh my, the girl I had was absolutely incredible. Quite easily the best massage I think I've ever had.... Her name was Sylvia - do yourself a favour if you're flying through Hong Kong and request her!
I've been looking for a creative way to track where I've been in the world besides the standard pin board world map, and I think I've finally found it! I haven't bought this yet, but I saw this product in the Lonely Planet store at Sydney airport a couple of days ago and I got so excited!. Unfortunately I was on my way out of the country, not in, so couldn't buy it at the time because it's a giant poster, so I'm definitely hunting it down when I return home. Check it out:
If you want to get one you can buy it online @ http://www.luckies.co.uk - unfortunately by the look of the postage information they don't send to Australia, but they do post to European countries and the USA.
I'm in no way affiliated with this product or company, just wanted to share the awesome idea of the Scratch Off Map for anyone else who is as travel obsessed as I am!
Since Black Friday, so many US poker players have been on the move, with a handful making their way to Mexico's Mayan Riviera. Most North Americans know it for Spring Break's ultimate destination: Can Cun; but just 45 minutes south is a little beachside town known as Playa del Carmen (which Chad Holloway wrote all about on PokerNews recently).
That's where I spent three weeks with my boy, just livin' the dream by the crystal clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. A good friend of Angel's, JC Alvarado, has lived her for two years and Shaun Deeb just joined him a few months ago. Those guys left for Europe during WSOPE and EPT San Remo, so Angel and I snapped up Shaun's empty penthouse by the beach. Seriously, it was heaven on earth.
On our first weekend, Angel took me down to Tulum for my early birthday spoiling. We stayed at the Ana y Jose Hotel and Spa. Amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing!!! I'm going to let the pictures do the talking.
Tulum's main feature is the ancient Mayan Ruins. I just loved visiting this place. The energy was incredible, and obviously so was the setting!
For two of the weeks there I was going to school learning Spanish. I absolutely loved being "back at school" and that's given me an extra urge to study again. But first I have to nail this language which is going to take a loooooong time. I was expecting to be studying with mostly northern american's, but surprisingly of the 15 or so people that I met, only two were American! There was such a range of cultures, from Irish to German to Swiss to Aussie.
I felt like a bit of a local after three weeks living in Playa del Carmen, and while I obviously haven't tried everything, I of course came away with some of my top places of what I did try. Here they are:
• Best Place for Breakfast: Green Box has the best bagels I think I've ever tasted and yummy freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. It's an awesome little shack sitting on the corner of Calle 38 Norte and 5ta Avenida.
• Best Place for Lunch: Fri-Das on 5ta Avenida near the corner of Calle Corazon. Everything we had there was amazing.
• Best Place for Dinner: Byblos on Calle 14 Norte and 5ta Avenida. Surprisingly this was right out the front of my Spanish school and I had no idea! I never gave the place any credit as it looks really basic, but when JC arrived back in town he took us to his all-time fav restaurant in town which he goes to religiously, and just as he promised, the food was incredible. Seriously, incredible.
• Best School to Learn Spanish: IMAC at International House - located on the corner of Calle 14 Norte and 5ta Avenida - stunning location!
• Best Facial: There's a little spa tucked away in the middle of two central resorts just off 5ta Avenida - Mosquito Blue and La Tortuga Hotel & Spa. There's just a couple of spa rooms and it feels like they're hidden inside a little secret garden. Most importantly, the facial was awesome, and that's coming from a well experienced opinion!
• Best Hang Out: Canibal Royal at Grand Coco Bay, it was our "local hangout" and is clearly on my list for the obv reasons displayed in the photo below
Next time you're planning a holiday, or perhaps if you're looking for a new poker-playing-home, then I highly recommend Playa del Carmen. Incredible place!
We've just launched a new concept on PokerNews called "Seat Open with...", so naturally I tested it out on my PIC and Team PokerStars Pro Angel Guillen. What do you think?
In Part One, Angel opens up about his life before poker, how he got involved in the game and how it all began to look up for him.
In Part Two he discusses his life on the road, playing poker in Mexico and the affects he's experienced from "Black Friday"
For the first time ever, the PokerStars.net LAPT has come to Colombia. I've been in Medellin for four days now, and like every other Latin American country, I absolutely love it. The people are simply the friendliest in the world and I just can't help but smile as I walk around the streets. It's such a severe contrast having come here from EPT London. I did have a great time there with an unexpected (and extremely welcomed) heat wave! Everyday was no less than 26 degrees. One day even going as high as 30 - in October! My boyfriend and I hired those bikes you can pick up at any corner and rode around town - we loved it! The only let down is the vibe of the people. Of course there are always exceptions as I do have many friends who are from, or live in, London, and they are beautiful people, but from my experience with the hotel staff and the general gist of most shop attendants, waiters, etc - people just don't give a damn. Perhaps I just had an unfortunate string of bad luck with my interactions, but that's the vibe that I was left with when my boyfriend and I happily boarded the train/ferry combo over to Ireland and escape the gloom!! Our time in Ireland was brilliant. I was born in Dublin but moved to Australia when I was just a baby. I've been back many times throughout my 26 years to visit my extended family, and every time I have a blast. This time was particularly fun with Angel and I hiring a car and road-tripping across to Galway for a few days. We stayed in Galway City where I saw my friend (and future singing superstar) Coby Grant play in a local pub as part of her European tour. We then drove up to a stunning castle called Kylemore Abbey where we stayed the night in a quaint little Bed & Breakfast. It was then on to Dublin for the chaos to begin with my crazy, booze-hound cousins!
Now, we're on dinner break of Day 2 in the LAPT Colombia Main Event. It was a huge turnout with 681 players - the most players we've ever seen in any LAPT. The poker room of Casino Allegre has been chaos all day, everyday with the hundreds of players plus even more hundreds of spectators coming to watch and support their friends. Of course with the emotion that comes with a Latin American game of poker, the excitement is rife and the chaos is nothing but enjoyable!
On the first night we had the the PokerStars Welcome Drinks at a bar called The Charlee in Zona Rosa - it was AWESOME. The bar was on the rooftop of the hotel, up on the 19th floor, surrounding a pool and overlooking the spectacular views that come with Medellin, no matter where you stand. Check out this video from PokerStars.tv:
The city centre is in a valley with the 2.5 million residents sprawled up on mountains surrounding the city. Colombia is most famous for it's beautiful women and it's amazing coffee (yes, there's one other thing Colombia is so famous for but I'm happy to say I haven't crossed paths with anything related!) but you might not know that the city is full of public artwork by law, giving it a funky vibe of an outdoor gallery. Roads, buildings, parks, everywhere has some sort of sculpture, painting or construction that's aesthetically pleasing - it's such an awesome addition to a city that I would love to see more cities across the world adopt. You can see that, and more, in the following PokerNews video:
For more videos from the PokerStars.net LAPT, check out this link. For now, it's back to work! LG xxx
What a great night I had on Sunday at Crown Casino in Melbourne for the EJ Whitten Charity Poker Tournament! It was such an impressive turnout with over 300 players doing their bit to support research for prostate cancer, including some of Australia's biggest sports stars and television personalities. With the tournament being a bit of light hearted fun for charity, I really didn't focus too hard to begin with. In fact I probably only spent about 30% of each level at my seat as I was working most of the time producing this video:
I had been grinding a short stack for some time, until a guy wearing a Full Tilt Poker hat sat down. Billy The Croc was at my table and we started having a laugh about whether he knew what exactly that hat represented right now. Billy asked the guy about his hat and he said "oh yeah I think they're gonna close down soon". That certainly gave the table a few giggles. Mr Full Tilt ended up spewing all of his chips my way, along with a few other guys when I tripled up twice and then polished off my explosion with two aces in the hole. Before I knew it I was a chip leader with only a third of the field left, so I swapped my glass of champagne for a coffee (yes, totally incorrect for me to do after just writing this Stay Stacked article, but sometimes unexpected, desperate times lead to desperate measures!) and switched my game on properly. I had my eyes on that $15k Aussie Millions Main Event package they were giving away for first place.
During the last break of the night I met a guy named Tj. An amazing man who's doing all he can to support his friend Clint who has Cerebral Palsy. After battling years of operations and struggles with finding his direction in life, Clint discovered poker back in 2005, and it's now his passion. Clint's friends are trying all they can to raise funds to send Clint to Las Vegas for the All-in for Cerebral Palsy poker tournament at the Venetian this December. You can read more about Clint's story and make donations to help Clint follow his dream of visiting Sin City here: http://www.clintsallinforcp.com. Tj's efforts to help his friend is really admirable, good on ya mate! After the break I was then at Clint's table, but unfortunately he bust soon after in 65th place. It would have been awesome to see him make it to the final table, but still a great achievement, congrats Clint!
In the end I took 7th place. I was so wrapped just to have made it to the final table, which I shared with David Steike and Graeme Putt and even a couple of friends Jessica Hachem and Luke Tunnecliff. For seventh place I won myself a seat into the $1k Aussie Millions Opening Event! I was very happy with that to say the least, when playing a charity tournament you certainly don't expect to walk away with something like that! Now I'm so excited to play my very first Aussie Millions event! Bring on January
This Sunday I'm spending my afternoon in Melbourne’s Crown Poker Room, which will once again host the E.J. Whitten Charity Poker Tournament. Funds raised will be donated to the E.J. Whitten Foundation, named in honour of the Australian Football Hall of Fame legend, AFL Team of the Century captain, and 1954 premiership player, Ted “Mr Football” Whitten.
The foundation ambassador and back-to-back ANZPT Player of the Year, Tony Hachem will host the event with an estimated $50,000 in prizes offered, including a $15,000 Aussie Millions Poker Championship Main Event package for the winner. Not only is this your chance to satellite into the Southern Hemisphere's poker event of the year while supporting a great cause, but you may also be sharing a table with some of Australia’s best-known sports-stars and television personalities.
- Tournament Start: 4.30pm
- Date: Sunday, 25 September 2011
- Venue: Crown Poker Room, Level B2, Crown Entertainment Complex
- Buy-in: $300
- Re-buy’s: $100 for the first 3 levels
You can register for the event now through the Crown Poker website to ensure you secure your limited seat in this event, supporting a great cause.
If you were told to ask one person that today, do you have someone that pops up in your mind instantly? Is it a friend at work, a family member, or even yourself? Are YOU ok?
More than 2,100 Australians suicide each year and men are around four times more likely to die by suicide than females. For each person that dies in this way, another 30 attempt it. Most people don't openly share their feelings, particularly when they're struggling so don't wait for a sign and trust your instincts. A conversation could change a life.
R U OK? is an organisation trying to provide a focus on suicide prevention by empowering people to have open and honest conversations and stay connected with people in their lives. R U OK? DAY is this Thursday. I will be in Bourke Street Mall at 12.30pm to spread the word with hopefully over 100 other people dressed in yellow If you are in Melbourne then please join us! You can find more details on the Facebook event page. And if you're not in Australia, that doesn't mean you can't spread the love internationally around your office, school or circle of friends and family. If you want to help even further, there will be giveaways on Thursday and we're looking for donations of any kind. If you or your business has anything that you'd be willing to donate to a great cause then please leave a message below!
Perhaps there's no one around you that you consider to be in any state of depression, but connection with others is good for us all, whether we are happy or sad. So the best thing we can all do is regularly ask those that we care about: "Are you OK?".
After reading Elissa Harwood's article about Caesar's Entertainment's plans to move forward on The Linq - a $550 million outoor entertainment/dining/shopping complex in Las Vegas - my initial thought was "Vegas needs another venue/casino/entertainment complex like a hole in the head"... Until I saw the renditions of the plans. Wow!
Town Square is one of my favourite places in Las Vegas, so the whole outdoor concept has won me over, but the main highlight is the gigantic ferris wheel known as the Las Vegas High Roller (love that play on words). It's got a huge LED screen in the middle of the size of a football field, and each capsule is like a small room big enough to have an intimate party in. IMO the capsules look like the perfect size to fit a poker table for a private game rotating in the Las Vegas sky with the stunning view of the lit up strip, don't you think?? Who know's if that's a possibilty, it's just my suggestion, but a pretty sweet one! I believe the proposed date is just in time for our annual WSOP visit in 2013.
Anyway, it was tilting me that there are so many stunning pictures available of the plans but I couldn't find them all in one place. So, allow me to do the honours...