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WSOP in a Nutshell

July 28, 2011

Tags: Travel, Tourism, Las Vegas, WSOP.

After spending the most part of the last three months in Las Vegas, having the time of my life while covering the 42nd Annual World Series of Poker and of course being a part of Kristy Arnett’s amazing wedding in May, I’m now so happy to be home in the freezing-cold Melbourne weather! Anyone who has been to Las Vegas in June or July will know the severity of the heat and how it punches you in the face every time you step outside. It’s awesome if you’re there for a week, but after that long I was well and truly ready to escape it. I’ve never been so excited to put on a pair of boots and wrap my scarf around the neck of my coat! That's exactly what I did the day after I returned when I went on a little road trip with my best friends to Victoria's Yarra Valley wine region for a day of wine tasting and lunch in the vineyards. The perfect welcome home!

With my besties in Victoria's Yarra Valley
With my besties in Victoria's Yarra Valley

As I said, I had the time of my life during WSOP. I had an awesome little apartment at the Meridian Luxury Suites just behind Bally’s. Close enough to walk to the strip, yet far enough away to escape the strip. I played as much as I could in the Aria Poker Room, although not as much as I would have liked. I saw Rihanna (amazing), Nicki Minaj (amazing) and Britney Spears (yes… go ahead and cringe. She was horrible obviously) in concert. I saw the Beatles’ Cirque du Soilei show “Love” (with Angel, the mad Beatles fan, for his seventh time!!). And I ate… A LOT! Which was the motivation behind my previous blog about my favorite restaurants in town.

One of the biggest highlights was when one of my besties, Casey, came to town for a week. This girl is wild and we had such a fun time. She won herself the $9,000 progressive jackpot on a Three Card Poker table at Binion’s when she made a spade Royal Flush. She had never played poker in her life so she sat in between Angel and I as we taught her what the hands meant. She flicked up her three cards about five hands in and said “oooh” when she saw a hand full of black cards. I didn’t even click until I saw Angel’s face. He instantly demanded that she put the cards down and not to remove them from the table. It took a solid minute for her to realize that she had won the $9,000 on the screen that we had been talking about only minutes beforehand when a guy sat at the table and taught us to put a single dollar on the lit up circle for the jackpot. Two hands later, we won it. Had that guy not sat down and told us about the dollar, she would have won $260. I’m a big believer in fate and things like that solidify it for me.

Casey's Vegas Domination
Casey's Vegas Domination

Of course, working daily with the PokerNews team, especially my crazy two co-hosts Sarah Grant and Kristy Arnett, was another super highlight of my time in Las Vegas. It’s rare for me not to be in fits of laughter when I’m around these two girls, whether we are at work or not. Although this caused some difficulty when shooting The Weekly Turbo together where many, upon many, takes were required as shown in the following video…

While we were winding down from WSOP mode, the PokerNews team got together for a night out at Downtown’s Insert Coins after a boozy afternoon playing the WSOP Media tournament which Sarah dominated in, making her drunk way to the final table and taking sixth place in front of her roudy rail. Annie Duke eventually went on to win which was her good karma after giving us all a free copy of her book. I am yet to read it but eager to get started. Insert Coins was a blast, there's not much more I need to say beyond the following pictures...

Craziness at Insert Coins
Craziness at Insert Coins

Unfortunately WSOP’s poker side of things was not one of my highlights. I entered the $1,000 Ladies Event and survived exactly 55 minutes when my flopped set of 7’s ran into a flopped set of 8’s. In Kristy’s famous words… Balls.

Now I'm sitting in the Crown Poker Room for the first day of the PokerStars.net APPT's fifth season. It's finally made it's way down to Melbourne at the world-class Crown Casino, also known as the home of the Aussie Millions. Nicky Pickering is hosting our videos this week so make sure you check them out on PokerNews! As for me, I'll be on a flight bound for Uruguay on Tuesday for the LAPT in Punta del Este! Just living the dream Smile

Hungry Vegas?

July 04, 2011

Tags: Las Vegas, WSOP, Travel, Tourism, Dining, Jaleo, Sen of Japan, Musashi, Firefly.

Well I've been slack to say the least with my blog this month, but with the amount of videos we're pumping out daily at the 42nd Annual World Series of Poker it's been hard to keep up! If I wrote about all the things I want to this would be a thesis, so as I prepare to tie up my pre-Main Event WSOP experience, I thought I'd start with some important recommendations for any newcomers to Las Vegas... My favourite restaurants.

Japanese and tapas are two of my favourite things when it comes to crunching my hunger, so here are my top two Japanese and Spanish restaurants I've discovered this summer in Las Vegas:

Musashi
Teppenyaki is always a fun dining experience, especially when you have Tiger as your chef at this poker-players-favourite. Kristy Arnett and I double dated here earlier on in the series for some of the yummiest shrimp, steak and fried rice, complimented with plenty of dirty jokes. Don't request Tiger if you're easily offended. But if you have a sense of humour anything like mine, you'll love him!

(L) Tiger cooking up a fest (R) Kristy and Andrew
(L) Tiger cooking up a fest (R) Kristy and Andrew

Firefly
Conveniently located directly across from Musashi, Firefly is an AWESOME little tapas restaurant that is packed to the rafters at any hour of the day whether it's for lunch or dinner. That being said, I've been four times this WSOP without a reservation and I've never had to wait more than five minutes for a table. The sangria is a must-order, they marinate it for three days, and your bill won't break the bank.

Sen of Japan
Move over Naked Fish, this is the new sushi hotspot. It's so favoured by the poker-playing community that they've even set up a station in the Poker Kitchen here at the Rio! I saw it for the first time today and nearly squealed with excitement. It's double the price of most Poker Kitchen items and about a quarter of the size, but it's 50 times the quality and worth every penny. I had three dishes today, I just couldn't get enough. The Black Cod melts in your mouth and the Spicy Tuna rolls are perfect.

Sen of Japan in the WSOP Poker Kitchen (sorry about the flash on the menu! The only word missing in the combo is Salmon)
Sen of Japan in the WSOP Poker Kitchen (sorry about the flash on the menu! The only word missing in the combo is Salmon)

Jaleo
For amazing cocktails and the most perfect collection of tapas you'll probably ever have, this is your place to go. It's located inside Cosmopolitan, the newest hotel and casino on the strip, next to a bunch of other amazing restaurants such as Milos which I'm dying to try as it's apparently got the best Greek cuisine going around. Jaleo is more on the pricier side than Firefly for tapas, but you definitely get what you pay for.

Team PokerStars Pros Angel Guillen and Nacho Barbero took me and one of my besties from home, Casey, to Jaleo. Although Casey lost the CC Roulette so she ended up taking us... Ooops
Team PokerStars Pros Angel Guillen and Nacho Barbero took me and one of my besties from home, Casey, to Jaleo. Although Casey lost the CC Roulette so she ended up taking us... Ooops

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