LG... Life's Good
I like to be honest. So I'm going to be honest and admit to my blonde moment. I wrote this post over a week ago and only just realised now, as I came here to make a new post about Seoul, that I had this post left it hidden. Yep.
It's one of Australia's most prized possessions, and I have absolutely no idea what took me so long to visit it Victoria's Great Ocean Road. It's an absolutely stunning journey and it's only 3-5 hours from my doorstep. I can't believe what I've been missing. Thankfully, this is a big bonus of having an "international" boyfriend - it motivates me to do all the touristy things in my own city/country that I never usually do. And on that note, why do we all do that? So many traveling people that I know have not been to major landmarks in their own countries. It's really sad that we just put the touristic stuff on the "to do" list and navigate around the world appreciating what everywhere else has to offer, forgetting the incredible gifts that our own homes have too.
Anyhow, pictures will never compensate for the real beauty you experience in person, but they're still pretty damn good!
Unless you were stranded on a deserted island somewhere, I'm sure you heard all about the phenomenal record-breaking month poker saw this January. Before January 6, the record numbers for the biggest buy-in poker tournament in the world was 24 in the $100,000 Challenge, which was held at last year's Aussie Millions. Then PokerStars went and blew that figure out of the water at PCA to get 2011 off to a cracking start with a whopping 38 players in their $100,000 Super High Roller. Just two weeks later, Crown Casino managed to match exactly that figure, attracting 38 players to their $100,000 Challenge at the 2011 Aussie Millions. To follow that up, Crown then announced a last-minute addition to the 2011 Aussie Millions schedule. An addition that had the entire poker world talking. A $250,000 Super High Roller.
Of course, in between all of this you can't ignore the Million Dollar Cash Game showing some of the world's craziest poker that we've ever seen in a live reporting blog, thanks to some random Chinese businessmen who peeled themselves away from their regular high-stakes cash games in Macau to join the big boys at Aussie Millions. Dead money equals plenty of pros swarming with cash to burn. Of course, these businessmen also bought into the $250,000 Super High Roller, which then meant that so did an outrageous total of 20 players. When the whispers of this event started, it was planned to be a winner-takes-all heads-up format with a the aim of attracting six to eight players. When the event was announced as confirmed, we had heard that 13 was the confirmed number to start the day, which had everyone gasping with amazement. When the registrations continued to grow and fill out two tables, the poker media had to keep picking our jaws up off the ground. Being there was just a whole new level of excitement and I was lucky enough to catch some of the players before they took their seats.
How many trips have you been on where you've made so many videos on your phone with the intention of putting it all together for an awesome collage of memories, but then never get around to doing it? I'm a serial offender. Except for at work, where it's my job. So my favorite part of any poker event that I cover with PokerNews is when it's all over and we get to relive all the fun stuff over the course of the tournament in under five minutes with the highlight reel. The following highlights from the 2011 Aussie Millions is the perfect way to make yourself jealous of all the fun you may have missed out on, had you not joined us for the most action-packed 18 days of poker.
Obviously we like to have a bit of fun here at PokerNews. Seeing Gloria Balding's fabulous Full Tilt Poker spoofs and Kristy Arnett's hilarious Poker Peeves, I decided to take a stab at my own spoof with the help of PokerNews Bloggers Donnie Peters and Tim Duckworth in light of the recent European cheating scandal.
Patrik Antonius is one of the world's most perfect men. This is not "poker hot," this is real-world-hot. He seems to be the only man that most of my male friends openly admit to having a man-crush on. There's so much perfection to him that he gives the green-light to any straight man too nervous to admit how attractive another dude is. We have yet to find something wrong with the guy and we all wish we could see more of him. He doesn't play many live tournaments as he mentions in the following video, so it was so awesome to see him make it to the 2011 Aussie Millions Main Event Final Table.
Then of course it was awesome to see a true local take down his own home-ground Super Bowl. David Gorr may not be a household name, but he sure is a regular in the Crown Poker Room. Whether it be a $60 buy-in weekly tournament to a $10,000 Main Event, you'll see Gorr in the field. His dedication has finally paid off with one hell of a giant trophy. Congratulations David!
As for me, I'm in Australia's stunning Sunshine Coast with six of my girlfriends enjoying the perfect detox from that 18-day grind, and then? Off to Sao Paulo, Brazil for the PokerStars.net Latin American Poker Tour... LG, Life's Good!
There’s no place like Melbourne. Yes, I’m probably biased as it’s my home, but there are just so many reasons to love it! It hosts some of the world’s greatest sporting events and festivals, and the amount of passion around food and wine is amazing. Being away from home makes you appreciate all the little things you take for granted as a kid, so I decided to write about some of my greatest Aussie appreciations.
One of the most common topics of conversation an American will have with an Australian will have to do with how grotesque Vegemite is. The key is to use it sparingly, people! The first time you tried the dark brown food paste made from yeast extract, your Aussie mate probably thought it would be funny to spread it thick like peanut butter on your toast. That’s not cool. Even Aussies don’t eat it that way.
Care for a Snag?
I was lucky enough to be home for the Australian Federal Election. Without getting into the politics of it, all I can say is, unlike in the U.S., voting is mandatory. It was almost a week ago, and we still have no result because the majority of the voters were uneducated, or all the 18-year-olds voted for the “Australian Sex Party” for a laugh.
Besides getting to revisit my primary school where I realized how small everything is that I used to think was gigantic, my major highlight on every Election Day is the good old Australian Sausage Sizzle. Anything that draws a crowd in this country, no matter what the purpose, even if it’s just a Saturday afternoon at Bunnings Warehouse to pick up some timber for your home renovation, will get the local and mighty friendly Aussies to fire up the barbecue and start selling “snags” out front.
A Normal Gym Surrounding
I tweeted last week about the vast difference between a late morning gym session in Melbourne compared to one in Las Vegas. In Las Vegas, silicone on tiny toned bodies became the norm. Suddenly coming back to Melbourne was a positive snap back to reality that the world isn’t actually full of strippers, and having a gym full of mothers off duty instead was quite accommodating on the self esteem.
We’re in a league of our own with our lingo down here. Today I was in the post office and the woman helping me said “Ok, no worries, I’ll post this off for ya and then Bob’s your uncle!” meaning, she will get the job done. Our wacky way with words led me to put Joe Cada, Phil Hellmuth, Barry Greenstein and Erick Lindgren up to an Aussie Lingo challenge during the 2010 World Series of Poker.
Home, sweet home to the Crown Poker Room. Again, call me biased, but it’s definitely my favourite place to play poker. Perhaps it has something to do with all the familiar faces, or the 70 tables they have spaced out so generously across the huge room so you’re not left squashed in like sardines, or the selection of weekly tournaments, some that I can actually afford. If you want to rub shoulders with some of your favourite AFL footballers, then the Crown Poker Room on a weekday afternoon is the place to be.
Without a doubt, the best time to be in Melbourne is the second half of January. The sun is beaming, the beer gardens around the city are bumping, the beaches are decorated with tanned bods, the biggest tennis pros are in town for the Australian Open, and of course, the likes of Phil Ivey and Tom Dwan grace the land down under for the Aussie Millions, an event that has put Crown Casino on the poker map.
The second biggest tournament series that the Crown Casino hosts is the Victorian Poker Championship, which is happening right now. I was lucky enough to play in the Ladies Event on Tuesday night, which attracted over 10 tables of beautiful Australian women, such as Jeanie Hachem, Amanda De Cesere, and Mieke Buchen, who you may recognize from the 2010 Aussie Millions coverage. I didn’t even make it to the first break, so that’s pretty much the end of my story on that event! The highlight of the Vic Champs, though, is the State of Origin. Its slogan - "State versus State, Mate versus Mate" -- is pretty self-explanatory. If you haven’t noticed already, Aussies are pretty proud of their turf, so having groups of mates battle it out to represent their state is just asking for a passionate event that would resemble something as loud and crazy as what you’d find on the Latin American Poker Tour. Our very own Heath “TassieDevil” Chick had an impressive third-place finish, but it was James “Andy McLEOD” Obst who not only led South Australia to victory but took the first-place prize of $11,000.
The $10,200 High Stakes Hold'em and $2,700 Main Event, both set to be doozies, are coming up this weekend. If you can’t join me in the Crown Poker Room, then the PokerNetwork Live Reporting Team will provide the next best thing.
The Must List
If you’re lucky enough to visit Melbourne, here are some of my recommendations.
- Eat: World Bar – I love this place. It has such a cozy feel to it with indoor fireplaces and live music in a gorgeous spot by the river. The food is amazing, and the bar offers 99 wines and 80 beers from all over the world. On a Sunday afternoon you could be lucky enough to catch my gorgeous friend Coby Grant, singing some acoustic tunes.
- Drink: Whether it’s day or night, St Kilda Beach is a great spot to head to for a drink. At night, drop in to any bar along Fitzroy Street, and you’re guaranteed to share the dance floor with some of the most stunning girls in the city. For a “Sunday arvo” session in the sun, Vinyard on Acland Street is the best spot for a crowded but atmospheric beer outside by the beach. If you prefer a bit of space, then Metropole on Fitzroy Street would suit you a little better, and you could even pick up some gourmet wood-fired pizzas for only $5 each during the week.
- Stay: Crown. If you like the smell of rich mahogany and (want to) own many leather-bound books, then the five-star Crown Towers is your spot. If you’re more on the modern end of the spectrum, then the Crown Promenade or the newly-opened Crown Metropole are both impressive, not to mention super convenient, with the Crown Poker Room just downstairs. Which leads me to…
- Play: Crown Poker Room, d'uh.
- See: The Great Ocean Road. If you’ve driven along California’s Highway 1, Victoria’s Highway 1 blows that away. If you can’t “keep right” on our roads in a rental car, there are plenty of day-trip tour companies, too.
- Shop: Chapel Street in South Yarra. This is the fashion hub of Melbourne and a great spot for some of the best cafes, restaurants and bars in the city. At night this area can give a slight reflection of the Jersey Shore. But if you love that, then head to Lygon Street – Melbourne’s “Little Italy” – for some of the best Italian food and slicked hair you’ll ever come across.