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Aussie Millions Take #2

January 27, 2011

Tags: Travel, Tourism, Aussie Millions, Melbourne.

I thought the first week of the 2011 Aussie Millions was action-packed, but it didn’t even compare to this week! The PokerNews video team has been exceptionally busy driving all around Victoria to shoot all sorts of fun features with your favorite poker players. Although I’ve been run off my feet, I’ve had so much fun in the process. The perfect example is the following video from the Aussie Millions Welcome Party held at Breezes Restaurant at Crown. It’s my job to make these videos -- how can this not be one of the best jobs in the world?

Full Tilt Poker took its qualifiers and pros out to the Yarra Valley for a day of golf and wine tasting. With the early morning rise aside, I was so excited to join them on the wine tasting tour until I realized I had to spend more time at the golf. (Just kidding)

The Sunday Grind is definitely one of my favorite series on PokerNews, getting an insight into some awesome poker-playing set-ups around the world. Kristy Arnett usually produces these from all the crazy cribs in Vegas, but this time while I was down under with all these baller poker players in town I paid Melbourne-local and Full Tilt Red Pro Van Marcus’ pad a visit. I even scored a ride in his fancy (un-stolen) red wheels.

Standing in the same room as the Million Dollar Cash Game was a rude awakening. Money? It’s like nothing to these guys. The first eight players to take their seats included three Southeast Asian businessmen, fresh from the notorious high-stakes cash games in Macau, who were buying $25,000 plaques like they were bars of chocolate and then throwing them into the pot like they were infested with germs. Elissa Harwood sat tableside for two long days blogging madly to keep up with all the insanity that you can view in our Live Reporting Blog. Even though there are no actual hands in this video, there’s really nothing like setting the scene before reading the hand history.

Lastly, I wanted to mix things up a little with my city-sights video seeing I was in my home town, so I enlisted the help of a few friends to show off their favorite places around my favorite city in the world.

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Aussie Millions Antics

January 20, 2011

Tags: Aussie Millions.

What a week we’ve already had down under at the 2011 Aussie Millions! I’m already exhausted and we’re not even half way yet, but that's all thanks to the mass amount of laughing we've been doing in the Crown Poker Room, so I'm ready to see what entertainment the Main Event is set to bring for us next week.

As you should know by now, we’re on the hunt for two new PokerNews presenters. Last weekend, some of my girlfriends came to Crown for dinner, so I had them film some fake auditions, so we could put together this little video to promote the search. Our Editor-in-Chief Matthew Parvis even had a go at it, and the finished result was definitely my favorite video, so far, from the Aussie Millions.

My favorite segment on PokerNews is, of course, Calling the Clock. I always have so much fun filming them, especially when you do it on someone like Tony Dunst whom you can always rely on to provide you with some brilliant material.

What do I do when I’m struggling to think of fun stuff and there’s not too much excitement happening on the felt? I turn to Kristy Arnett for ideas. She gave me this beauty yesterday when the 8-Game Mixed Event was boring me, and it still makes me laugh after the tenth time watching it.

Finally, I always enjoy the Celebrity Poker Challenge during the Aussie Millions. Besides the poker pros who make an appearance, no one has any idea what they're doing so it turns into a boozy night of suck outs when hot chicks just get it in bad. Last night was a charity event to assist those affected by the devastating Queensland floods that happened last week. Our very own Tony G made such an incredibly generous donation of $10,000, Joe and Jeanie Hachem donated $5,000, and Howard Lederer donated $2,500. What makes it even better is that every dollar donated last night, and every dollar collected in the 40 tins situated throughout Crown Casino, will be matched dollar-for-dollar by Crown.

Follow me on Twitter! @LynnGilmartin

Aussie Millions is Here!

January 13, 2011

Tags: Aussie Millions, Travel, Tourism, Melbourne.

The Southern Hemisphere’s biggest tournament series has begun with the $1,100 Opening Event kick-starting the 2011 Aussie Millions on Thursday night. I absolutely love being at the Aussie Millions, not only because it’s in my home town of Melbourne, but also because there is so much hype around it, and that hype continues to linger in the Crown Poker Room once the cards are in the air. Perhaps it’s because the Australian Open is on at the same time, creating the craziest vibe in Melbourne, or because the Aussie Millions events team is run by women, so it’s got that feminine “Midas Touch,” or of course, because one of the best Tournament Directors in the world, Jonno Pittock, runs the show. Who knows, but I do know that I have an absolute ball every year and so do all the players who attend.

In celebration for the kickoff, I’m taking you on a look back at the highlights of 2010. A prime example of the hype inside the Crown Poker Room during the Aussie Millions is Day 1 of the Main Event, and the following video shows you why. No other poker tournament (that I’ve been to) puts on a concert to announce shuffle-up-and-deal!

Phil Ivey’s second place finish in the $100k Challenge saw him top the all-time money list. Despite being teased with the title that Dan Shak then won, he was obviously still in good spirits with his achievement when I caught up with him after the event. With this being my first interview with this great man, you can pretty much see my heart beating at triple speed.

Each year sees the Main Event play on Australia Day, so I escaped the confines of the Poker Room for a few hours and headed to St Kilda Beach for some sunshine with my fellow Aussies to give you a taste of a “True Blue” celebration.

While speaking of "True Blue," the Australian's of the PokerNews Team took the American's for a cricket match and barbecue on our day off, so we took this opportunity to introduce our hard-working team who don't usually show their face on the videos.

If you don't religiously read Elaine Chaivarlis' Nightly Turbo, then you're losing at life. If you must be convinced, then listen to your favorite poker players instead!

Follow me on Twitter! @LynnGilmartin

Bahamas Baby

January 06, 2011

Tags: PCA, Bahamas, Travel, Tourism, Atlantis Resort and Casino.

The most extravagant resort I’ve ever stepped foot in is Atlantis Resort and Casino in the Bahamas, spread across its very own Paradise Island. There is no way you could get bored at Atlantis, but you could most certainly go broke. I was lucky enough to make my first trip to the Caribbean with PokerNews in January 2010 for the PCA, and in just a few days, PokerStars’ key series returns to Atlantis with PokerNews there to bring you every notable flop, turn and river in between sipping cocktails while soaking up the reggae tunes and beach-side sunshine. Jealous? Well you could have qualified online to join us!

Just 60 miles off the coast of South Florida and stretching as far as Cuba, the Bahamas comprises more than 700 islands, one of which is Paradise Island, home to the Atlantis Resort and Casino, boasting the Caribbean's largest casino and a $15 million marina, you simply cannot miss an opportunity to visit.

The Vitals

  • Language: English
  • Currency: USD is widely accepted with the local currency, Bahamian Dollar, fixed to the USD for an equivalent exchange rate. B$1 = USD$1
  • Tipping: Similar to in the U.S. where gratuity is automatically added to bills; if not then 15-20 percent is expected.
  • Weather: This may be the coldest time of year but don’t let that deter you – the daily average temperature is a perfect 75°F.
  • Legal Age: Hello to all 18-year-old American’s – you’re legal in the Bahamas!

It doesn't get any bluer than this!

Getting There and Around

Nassau International Airport (NAS) is a 30-minute taxi ride from the Atlantis Resort & Casino. The ride will cost about $30. Atlantis is on Paradise Island, which is reachable via bridge from the central Bahamian island of New Providence where the capital Nassau is located. Metered taxis are located outside all hotels and can also be hired (cheaply) by the hour if you want a personal tour guide. Water taxis operate frequently between Nassau and Paradise Island; buses run from the hotels to downtown Nassau several times a day. Hiring a car or moped is another option if you’re feeling adventurous, although if you do hire, please remember that Bahamians drive on the left (correct) side of the road.

Atlantis Resort and Casino

If this is your first time at Atlantis, then be prepared to be blown away by everything about this place. Once you’ve comprehended the sheer size of the resort, just wait until you see the yachts in the Marina.

There is a huge choice when it comes time to eat with over 40 restaurants (yes, 40) from quick and easy snacks to the most exclusive fine dining in the world. Just keep in mind that wherever you choose to dine within the resort will have you up for a hefty chunk out of your wallet, including a casual pizza on the Marina, but I was never let down by the food or cocktails – Bahama Mama’s are a must! For my fellow caffeine lovers, there’s even a Starbucks.

If you’ve got some money to spend on accommodation, then the high-rise Royal Towers is where you want to stay. Another step up is The Cove for the most modern and luxurious suites in the Caribbean, including one of the most stunning day spa’s I’ve ever seen and a funky private adults-only pool to escape the family-life around the rest of the resort. The Coral Towers and Beach Tower rooms are more basic and affordable but certainly still nice, located in the heart of the fun and activities and, most importantly, close to the Imperial Ballroom, which will be converted into the PCA Tournament Area for the next two weeks.

January is high season, so expect long lines at restaurants, although that’s not so reflected at the pool and beach areas – they’re so expansive you'll be sure to find a secluded spot just for you. With expansive comes lots of walking, so, ladies, leave the high heels at home.

As for activities, there is so much to do, especially if you love water. You can swim with the dolphins or sea lions like Team PokerStars Pro Vanessa Rousso did last year with some lucky qualifiers, ride on a water slide through shark-infested waters or have a nice easy day of golf in one of the world’s most prestigious courses as Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu did with more qualifiers.

Besides building the (rare) courage to sit myself on an inner tube and ride The Falls in the Water Park, my biggest highlight of PCA last year was the AmFAR Charity Event where I had the honor of interviewing Nelly, Kelly Roland, and of course Slash from one of the best (former) bands in the entire world, and seeing first-hand the sparkle in Jayde Nicole's eye whenever Team PokerStars Pro Joe Cada's name was mentioned (no, nothing happened, but you can't blame the girl for having a crush on the guy). I have to admit I was like a star-struck kid spotting Mickey Mouse at Disneyland. You can catch Gloria Balding also rubbing shoulders with the stars for PokerNews in this video.

Unfortunately, I will not be attending the PCA this time around because I am now at home in the land Down Under getting prepared for the one and only Aussie Millions! So until then, please enjoy our coverage of the PokerStars.net Caribbean Adventure and I will catch you all here on PokerNews.com from the 13th January direct from Crown Poker Room!

Follow me on Twitter! @LynnGilmartin

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