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ANZPT Sydney

March 29, 2012

Tags: Sydney, Travel, Tourism, ANZPT.

I’ve just returned home to Melbourne after covering the ANZPT in Sydney, Australia’s unofficial capital city. It’s the largest, and prettiest artificial eye-candy that Australia has to offer. While the natural beauty of the northern beaches of Australia are what really make this country famous, the stunning Sydney harbor with its extravagant architecture lining the magnificent water that streams throughout the neighbourhoods full of multi-million-dollar waterfront homes, really set Sydney as a town of glamour.

The day before a tournament starts is always my favourite, as that gives the video team our sole opportunity to soak up a week’s worth of Vitamin D as we tour the destination, catching as many sights through the lens as possible. Our tour of Sydney began on the Sydney Ferry – a public ferry that offers the best view of Sydney, making it my #1 recommendation to any visitor. You can catch the ferry from various spots throughout town, particularly the Pyrmont dock, just outside The Star.

We took the ferry around to Circular Quay to visit The Rocks, a preserved, historic area next that’s been transformed into a quaint, hippy neighbourhood full of pubs, cafes and markets. Having breakfast here on a sunny morning is one of my favourite things to do in Sydney.

If you didn't catch the tour video in my last blog post, you can check out these sights, and more, in the following video.

Every poker tournament run by PokerStars always comes with the added bonus of a player party complete with an open bar. This video shows just some of the antics that can come with said open bar.

The ANZPT’s fourth season kicked off with a bang, coming so close to breaking the record for this event at The Star Casino with 461 players each paying up $2,200 to play the Main Event. Almost AUD $1 million was collected, and dispersed amongst 54 lucky players who made it to the top 12%. After 29 one-hour levels spread across three days, and an epic final table that didn’t finish until well into the wee hours of the next morning, it was Gordon Huntly who defeated the lot. I had a chat with him, admittedly quite bleary eyed, after his win.

A Tour of Sydney

March 22, 2012

Tags: Sydney, ANZPT, Travel, Guide, Video, Tourism.

I've been trying to hold back on instagram-ing (follow me @lynngilmartin) too many pics of Sydney so that I don't drive everyone crazy - but I just love this place it's so hard not to! Sydney is definitely one of the world's most stunning cities - even when you fly in you can see exactly how gorgeous it is with a birds-eye view of the water canals lacing throughout the big city. If you've never been here, (or even if you have) then check out my quick tour around the main spots of town to see just some of the reasons why I love it so much!

All Hail Sydney's Westfield Food Court

March 20, 2012 1 comments

Tags: Sydney.

I was faced with one of the toughest decisions of my week today. The decision of what the hell I was going to eat when I stepped inside the food haven that is Westfield Pitt Street's Food Court.

Angel and I were absolutely starving as we began our first afternoon in Sydney. After taking the ever-so-handy monorail to Pitt Street Mall, we were passing by Westfield and stopped at a small door with nothing but a gigantic, one-way escalator that seemed to go for days.

We were expressed to the mall's fifth floor, which opened up to a low ceilinged level with dim lighting. Apart from the burst of pink hitting us in the face thanks to the Priceline in the corner, we were surrounded by the most elegant, classy, modern and unique restaurants and food stands. The two of us walked three laps of this food court, turning around, and back again, in amazement of the ART that was on display. This is a FOOD COURT?

Westfield Sydney - Food Court on Level Five
Westfield Sydney - Food Court on Level Five

Westfield Sydney - Food Court on Level Five
Westfield Sydney - Food Court on Level Five

Top Juice - Westfield Sydney
Top Juice - Westfield Sydney

Top Juice - Westfield Sydney
Top Juice - Westfield Sydney

Pie by Mick's Bakehouse - Westfield Sydney
Pie by Mick's Bakehouse - Westfield Sydney

Ragu Pasta & Wine Bar - Westfield Sydney
Ragu Pasta & Wine Bar - Westfield Sydney

The Decisions:

Me: It's not just sushi that offers awesome assortment sampler packs. The vegan store Iku, which is full of all-natural goodness, offered up this awesome sample pack ($10) of their rice balls, polenta slices and more. It was so fresh, healthy and super tasty. I topped it off with some fruit and yoghurt with toasted muesli ($6) from Top Juice. How could I not after seeing this colourful display?

Iku Wholefoods - Westfield Sydney
Iku Wholefoods - Westfield Sydney

Iku Wholefoods - Westfield Sydney
Iku Wholefoods - Westfield Sydney

Iku Wholefoods - Westfield Sydney
Iku Wholefoods - Westfield Sydney

Angel: His choice wasn't nearly as guilt-free as mine, but it was still pretty awesome! A Chorizo Hot Dog from the Snag Stand - the bread these guys use for their hot dogs is beyond incredible.

Snag Stand - Westfield Sydney
Snag Stand - Westfield Sydney

Snag Stand - Westfield Sydney
Snag Stand - Westfield Sydney

Call me crazy, but yes, I dedicated this entire blog to the food court. It's THAT good. Now if only I had a better camera than my iPhone to take pics!

UPDATE 22 MARCH

We had to go again... Couldn't resist! This time the choice was Ragu Pasta & Wine Bar for some yummy Italian food. I went with the prawn salad ($12) and the tuna a rice salad ($12) - both delicious!

Ragu Pasta & Wine Bar
Ragu Pasta & Wine Bar

Love a Little Seoul

March 13, 2012

Tags: APPT, Seoul, Korea, Travel.

I've just arrived home from my first-ever trip to South Korea. I've been to a lot of airports over the years and a few have impressed me, but I must say that Incheon Airport blew me away. I was a little reluctant to head to the airport five hours early for my flight, however when I discovered last-minute that many places closed on Monday in Seoul, particularly my destination of choice for my free day - Dungdaemun Market (a collection of 26 malls, housing over 30,000 retail stores, mostly catering to women's fashion. Also known as heaven on earth, and also known as the place I never got to visit), I decided what the heck and joined the rest of the team on the early bus to the airport. I couldn’t be more thankful that I did, as I actually ran out of time after exploring everything this place had to offer! From the endless shopping, to the lounges, to the public toilets, massage and nail salons, Incheon Airport is nothing less than awesome.

Anyhow, the appreciation for Seoul certainly doesn’t stop the airport. Seoul is a fantastic city, and quite a beautiful one too. The APPT was held at the Paradise Casino Walkerhill, which is set on the edge of a riverside mountain, surrounded by trees, opening up to a stunning view of the intense city. I did venture out twice during the week, however it was always on a bus headed downtown, so on our last day, fellow PokerNews-er Donnie Peters and I went for a walk “down the hill” to check out the area that we had been living in for the past six days. We walked in the freezing cold along the eight-lane highway, which every road seemed to be, passing giant building after giant building. Despite being 10km outside of downtown Seoul, a distance that you would usually assume to find yourself in a quiet residential neighborhood, everywhere in sight was still full of skyscrapers. Seoul, and many other big-cities in Asia, is a totally different world to what I'm used to, one where everyone seems to live in the sky.

The view from Paradise Casino Walkerhill.
The view from Paradise Casino Walkerhill.

This was Angel's first time to ever visit Asia, and my only other city of comparison from personal experience was Macau... which really is a world of its own. So despite the minimal expectations that we had, we were amazed within the first 30 minutes of touching down. Koreans are not only technological geniuses as one would expect, but their warm and gentle natures really make you feel welcome.

At the airport we stopped by a stand that was renting out portable WIFI routers and found the Olleh Egg. This was one of the best finds of the trip, allowing for seven devices to connect at the bargain price of around $8 USD per day. For the first-time ever I was able to tweet to my heart’s content while touring around the city.

The Olleh Egg
The Olleh Egg

The city tour began on the subway. If you thought London’s Tube was intense, you’re in for a shock when you see the underground system Seoul has got going on. Not only was it ginormous, it was outstandingly efficient. Just like the city bus tour that we took – not once was anything ever late. Everything here works on time, to the exact minute. The city bus tour offered over 30 stops at landmarks throughout the city. With just one afternoon to play, we had to limit our choices. We started at the moving Korean War Memorial where the struggles of the divided country were evident, along with so much hope of reconciliation.

The Korean War Memorial - The statue resembles North and South Korean soldiers who are brothers reuniting and reconciling in hope of peace. The crack down the middle of the dome resembles the divide between the north and south of the country.
The Korean War Memorial - The statue resembles North and South Korean soldiers who are brothers reuniting and reconciling in hope of peace. The crack down the middle of the dome resembles the divide between the north and south of the country.

Next was the romantic N Seoul Tower. The tower is positioned on top of Namsan Mountain, a huge mountain in central Seoul. At first, it just looks like any other city tower that has an observation desk, but once you reach the top of the hill, and the base of the tower, you’re faced with nothing but love. Hundreds of thousands of couples have declared their everlasting love here, by securing padlocks, together with love notes, to the fences surrounding the tower.

Padlocks of love at the N Seoul Tower
Padlocks of love at the N Seoul Tower

We then went to the quaint, preserved town known as Bukchon Village, for a taste of the true local culture. We sat in a tea house where I had the most amazing Pumpkin Rice Punch tea. You can see all of these stops, plus more, in the following PokerNews video.

Our second night was spent at Ark Lounge in downtown Seoul for the PokerStars player party. Every table had it’s own VIP bottle service with Absolut Vodka flowing freely. As you could imagine it didn’t take long to get the dancefloor started, which was then overtaken by some serious breakdancing. Check it out:

Our second last night in Seoul was quite a long one, with Day 2 of the APPT Main Event not finishing until after 1am. On dinner break only around 30 players were left in the Main Event, and one of them was Angel’s friend from Panama, Jose Severino. So a few of us whisked Jose away for some Korean BBQ on dinner break to Myongwolgwan, a restaurant next door to the casino. It felt like a sauna inside the restaurant with all of the tables each having stoves built into them, but once we adjusted to the heat, we then indulged in one of the best meals I think I’ve ever had. I highly recommend this restaurant to anyone looking to splurge on some of the finest Korean BBQ in the country with one of the best views over the city.

Our chef cooking up a Korean BBQ feast at Myongwolgwan
Our chef cooking up a Korean BBQ feast at Myongwolgwan

Aussie Millions TV Show Promo

March 13, 2012

Tags: Aussie Millions.

The promo for the 2012 Aussie Millions TV show has just been released, and it looks awesome! Click the image below to check it out. I gotta say I'm pretty damn excited, can't wait for May Smile

Wanna Change the World?

March 11, 2012

If you want to help change the world, you gotta start by changing yourself.

I saw his inspirational info graphic on Mind Body Green and just had to post it. It's so true, yet so simple. If everyone followed these fundamentals, the world would be a much happier place.

1. Change yourself
2. You are in control
3. Forgive and let go
4. Take care of this moment
5. Without action, you aren't going anywhere
6. Everyone is human
7. See the good in people and help them
8. Persist
9. Be congruent, be authentic, be your true self
10. Continue to grow and evolve.

Gandhi's Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World
Gandhi's Top 10 Fundamentals for Changing the World

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