LG... Life's Good
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...
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!
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.
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...
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
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:
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!
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.
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.
I am now home in the Land Down Under after the wildest Las Vegas adventure my body has ever experienced – and event I titled Kristy Arnett’s Three-Day-Vegas-Bachelorette-B ender . It was a triple event schedule and the choice was simple – buy in to one, some, or all events. Not many survived all events. In fact, it was just Kristy and me who made it through all three. Kristy even added on her own “rebuy event” on the fourth day when she joined up with the bachelor and his friends at XS. She’s one hell of a drinking machine.
The Preliminary Event
As I described in my blog last week, being a girl in this town can be cheap – really cheap. In fact, almost free if you play your cards right (yes, that pun was intended). Last week we enjoyed the free Goddess Dinner at Lavo held every Wednesday night. Its big-sister club Tao also holds these dinners on Thursdays. I’m much more of a fan of Asian cuisine over Italian, so I was super excited for this one, and we sure weren’t let down. Despite being hustled around like sheep for an hour with the hundreds of other girls queuing up to get our free feed, it was totally worth it. Don’t take that “hundreds of girls” comment lightly – I mean it.
Once you’re inside Tao and waiting for your table, your promoter can usually look after your group pretty well with free drink cards or even a bottle to help time pass. Once you’re seated, the waiter takes orders for the first complimentary round of cocktails, delivers a round of shots (also free), and from there the feast of all-you-can-eat lettuce wraps, dumplings, fried rice, sushi and sashimi begins. Our night remained tame for most part and ended up at Kristy’s house where rehearsals for LMFAO’s dance routine to Party Rock Anthem continued from the day before.
The Main Event
With some early change of plans, after Kristy’s fiancé surprised us that morning with a suite at Aria, our Main Event ended up even larger and longer than we had originally planned. All the girls put on their bikinis and packed their party dresses for that night and checked into one of the sexiest suites I’ve ever been in, overlooking Aria’s never-ending selection of pools. This weekend was looking more and more like the setting of The Hangover.
During the day, only three of us trooped up to the early drinking and dancing session by the pool with a visit to Liquid, Aria’s pool party. After standing around looking lost for a few minutes, we were offered a spare daybed, which wasn’t being used by a bachelor party that had “called it a night” by 2 p.m. We were obviously happy to accept.
After an afternoon of drinking, tanning and dancing by the pool, we trekked upstairs to make ourselves presentable for the official Main Event festivities. Being the Australian bridesmaid that I am, it was only natural for me to take us all to one show: Thunder From Down Under.
For weeks I had Kristy telling me she didn’t want a single feather boa, tiara, sash, or anything else tacky-bachelorette-party related, so I happily complied with her orders and she received none. Until we sit an intoxicated Kristy down in the front row of Thunder From Down Under and she realized she’s the only bachelorette without a token Thunder From Down Under tiara. She turned to me with a grumpy face and asked “Where is my tiara?!” So off I go on a hunt to ensure that she got a piece of plastic that guarantees her a lap dance. And that it did, from what she described as a “prickly bum” before she fell asleep midway through the show – still sitting in the front row. She’s a wild one, our ol’ Kris!
After the show and with a few drinks in tow, it was off to Haze for a boogie. It was here that Kristy received her weekend-making present from her fiancé and friends (including our very own Donnie Peters) with her best friend and Maid of Honor showing up as a surprise.
The Second Chance Event
After seven girls crashed (and trashed) the one-bed suite (the most comfortable bed I’ve ever been on) we were all up by 11 a.m. with drinks in hand ready to go again. We originally had a daybed booked at Tao Beach, but figured we’d hit up Liquid again instead, seeing as how we were there already. Well, that was a bad decision all thanks to a promoter named Will who couldn’t keep a promise of helping us out with a daybed. Long story short, two hours of sitting at the bar (I’ll admit with a few free champagnes to soften the blow), we finally were told that we couldn’t get one. I was so angry! In fact, I was so angry that even our bachelorette herself bought me a drink to calm me down, and it was one heck of a strong Mojito, so it did the trick. So strong, that the next few hours were just a giant blur.
After packing up from the suite, we went to Kristy’s house to take a nap. I really thought that would be the end of the three days of constant drinking, but two hours later I was awakened up by the girls who were ready to rally. Seriously? Uuuuggghh! My body was hating me! Of course, with everyone struggling so hard, yet still so persistent to still go out, you just know it’s going to be one of those nights that top off the entire weekend. And that it was. One of the best promoters in Las Vegas, James Ramirez, hooked us up with a table on the dance floor of Tao. Jamie Fox was hosting the night, and I swear we were sharing the table next to us with a member of the JabbaWockeeZ. I would go into detail of the night, but unfortunately I can’t – it blurred into my afternoon of blankness...
It's been six months since I've graced the strip of Sin City, and seeing I felt like I lived her last year that's a LONG time away from this place. My liver of course was squirming with fear as the plane landed, but I gave it a couple of days to get settled first. My priority? Getting my WholeFoods fix. I'm staying with Kristy Arnett as I'm here performing my "bridesmaid duties" in the lead up to her big wedding at the end of the month! Of course, that involves a three-day bender for her bachelorette party next weekend. Ooooh that week I'm sure I'll have quite a blog to write. So Kristy picked me up from the airport and we literally went straight to WholeFoods before heading home. That night was my second fix for dinner - Tropical Smoothie. Why oh WHY do we not have these two stores Down Under?
So as I said, the first couple of days were tame, just work and all that girlie stuff Kristy and I indulge in when we get together. Until Wednesday night came. Kristy organised a girls night with the PokerNews ladies Sarah Grand and Elaine Chaivarlis. We went to the Goddess Dinner at Lavo which is basically free dinner and cocktails as long as your table has no boys bits sitting at it. Let me tell you guys, I know most of you come to Vegas with a very strong mission in mind... Any smart boy would take himself down to Lavo on a Wednesday night for dinner (or Tao on a Thursday). They honestly have a 9:1 ratio of girls to guys. You're welcome.
After dinner we headed straight towards MGM to play our beloved 50c/$1 NLH game where we can let the booze flow with a risk-free $50 max buy-in. Luckily Sarah called ahead to put us on the list, only to be told that THEY DON'T HAVE THAT GAME ANYMORE! We were devastated! Thankfully, dirty old Bills offers the same game, so off to Bill's Gamblin' Hall we went... I was the only loser of the night seeing that Sarah Grant cleaned me up. Of course she's dealt AA when I'm dealt QQ and she's dealt KK when I'm dealt 1010. Oh and then I got owned by some dude when I attempted to bluff into slow played AA. That's about all I remember from the session apart from my hand to mouth movement with various shot glasses, once again thanks to Sarah Grant
From there, it was home to Kristy's Mac for a Photo Booth session. Oh wow.
The next day we had to get up to record a PokerNews Podcast at Caesars Palace before the WSOPC Main Event kicked off. We were quite rusty to say the least. We interviewed Jamie Gold, who, earned a whole new level of respect from me after our interview. You can listen to it here:
All eyes in the poker world will be focused on Sin City this weekend whether in person, on ESPN, or right here at PokerNews! Millionaires will walk away from this final table, with the world’s biggest prize in poker being handed to a new champion, giving us another household name in poker.
So you didn’t make it to the November Nine. Heck, you may not have even made it to Las Vegas, yet. But a boy can dream, right? Imagine winning all those millions of dollars and then being in one of the world’s most tempting cities to blow it all. Well, here’s a taste of exactly what that would be like, with a sample of some of Las Vegas' most extravagant luxuries.
The first stop has to be fine dining with so many of the world’s best restaurants tucked into one strip of lights. Fancy a 16-course French meal? Or perhaps a “$5,000 burger?” I was lucky enough to sample both.
Of course an update of a man’s favorite boy-toy is one of the first must-dos when scoring large. Andy Bloch showed Kristy Arnett his sexy Tesla Motors sports car, staying environmentally conscious while still spinning around like a baller.
When spending so much time with your hands laying across the ledge of a poker table for all your opponents to look at for hours on end, your wrists have to look the part.
The Vegas heat may have made an exit for the year, but I just couldn’t skip this video. It’s the perfect taste of pool-party season in Las Vegas and here’s a taste of how to experience it like you belong in Hollywood.
While you’re all cashed up, what better way to continue your poker dream than to splurge on your favorite sports or hit up Bobby’s Room for some high-stakes action on a table resembling an episode of The Big Game?
Follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news.
My job here at PokerNews is really hard. It’s so tough that I have to endure party after party after party when attending all of these poker tournaments across the globe. Throughout all the sweat and vodka cocktails, I can promise you, with so much dedication to my job, I will never fail to attend each and every one of these parties, just so I can show you what you could have been going through. In self-recognition for such hardship, I decided to compile my most standout parties to date and tell you why I loved them so much, of course!
PokerStars.net LAPT Florianopolis
I’ve always spoken openly about the giant soft spot in my heart for the Latin American Poker Tour, as it never fails to provide such a good time with such amazing people. The party in Florianopolis, Brazil, would definitely be my favorite of Season 3. I’m not sure if that’s because I spontaneously tore up the dance floor with Team PokerStars Pros Joe Cada and Veronica Dabul until the wee hours of the morning, had my first taste of a Caipirinha, or because I was lucky enough to receive dance lessons from the best of the best – as Kristy Arnett puts it, Brazilian women win at life – and wow, can they move their hips like no other! Enjoy the second half of this one fellas.
PokerStars.net APPT Cebu
It excites me so much knowing this tournament is just around the corner. The PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour is returning to Cebu, Philippines, to fill up the stunning Shangri-La Mactan Resort once again for a trip of absolute luxury. I’ll be writing more about this amazing location in coming weeks, but for the party – think crashing waves, palm trees, sand, balmy nights, fireworks, incredible food, and flowing drinks served by sexy Filipina. What more could you want?
My favorite time of year at home in Melbourne is Australia Day – the entire country goes wild. The day always falls during Aussie Millions, which is just another reason to add to the long list of reasons why you should head to Melbourne for one of the best tournament series in the world. I snuck out to St. Kilda Beach during the 2010 Aussie Millions to show off just how crazy the national holiday party is.
World Series of Poker
Surely it's no surprise that there is more than one party on my list for this category. The first: combine Snoop Dogg with Las Vegas and there is some serious fun to be had. All I am going to say is, thank you PokerStars!
Next was the PokerNews Kick off Party at Lagasse’s Stadium on the eve of the 2010 World Series of Poker. The team got together for the first time for the year, and we were all bursting at the seams with anticipation to get started. It’s always a treat when Gloria Balding, Kristy Arnett and I get to actually work together in the same video, and on top of that including the rest of our PokerNews friends that usually hide behind the screens of their laptop for the Live Reporting Blog. Meet some of our team and their not-so-accurate predictions pre-WSOP. Note: don’t miss Editor in Chief Matthew Parvis' red-wine mouth.
I was in Vegas for a couple of months, minus a week in Connecticut for NAPT Mohegan Sun, and what a crazy time it was! I’ve been living with my boyfriend, Garry, and his roomies Jane and Donnie. They're all poker players so I've been playing a lot more than usual, both online and live, and learning more and more every day. I became a little obsessed with MGM's new 50c/$1 "beginners" game - although I've never actually seen a "beginner" on the table and it's usually just a drunk shove fest with a maximum $50 buy-in. I accidentally slow rolled a Brit in $1/$2 at Bellagio for $200 with Aces but we still managed to become Facey friends rather than enemies. I played one of the weekly ladies tournaments at Planet Hollywood - there was around 35 entrants, I took fourth, and it was the most frustrating tournament I've ever played, but I guess I ask for that playing ladies events. I also played one of the Pink Ladies Poker Tour events at the Golden Nugget. That was quite a decent ladies event but unfortunately was uneventful for me. That leaves me 2 for 3 in ladies tournies... WSOP Ladies Bracelet? My wrist is waiting.
Kristy Arnett recently joined PokerNews and she's been welcomed with open arms! I met her during the World Series last year but it hasn’t been until that I’ve really got to know her. She’s such a great chick, and as she said in her blog, we are obviously long lost sisters simply by resemblance The one day/night that stands out is St Patrick's Day. We started our day at the local Irish Pub Fado’s, dressed in our St Paddy’s Day kits and drank plenty of beer and danced like hooligans to the band in broad daylight. Once everyone’s heads were crispy burnt, we trekked to Fremont Street where Kristy and Andrew met us for giant footballs full of green beer and Long-Islands. They had a lot of catching up to do, but Kristy is such a lightweight she caught right up after five sips. We ended up playing carnival games with everyone winning Light Sabers thanks to GG’s brilliant basketball skills – that then lead to Kristy and I having a “Light Saber Danceoff” which drew a huge crowd in the middle of Fremont Street! Long story short, everyone ended up in the Golden Nugget spa. I’ll let the photos do the rest of the talking for that night and the rest...
I then spent a well needed 10 days at home in Melbourne. It was so nice to see my family and friends again, especially my two gorgeous nephews who seem to double in size every time I return home:
As for now, I'm in Macau once again for the start of APPT's fourth season. I have to admit, I really forgot how awesome this place is. This year we are lucky enough to stay at the Grand Lisboa, and although the hotel we were in last year blew me away, this one has even more. If you have a few minutes and you haven't been here before, check out our welcome video where we toured the streets (and Glo and I managed to strategically work a little shopping into the day):
The most interesting part of the trip would have to be my first night here when I had a knock at my hotel door at 6am, greeted with who I thought were just three drunk girls at the wrong room being cheeky saying they're housekeeping. But then when I get another knock 2 minutes later after telling them they have the wrong room, again hearing "house keeping" and them trying to still come in, I realized exactly what they were... Hookers. Call me naive and sheltered, but I've only just realised that they're everywhere! There's so many that it's hard to not (unfairly) assume that most pretty girls you see are most likely working. I went across to the Lisboa Casino today, and there was a group of about eight of them doing laps around in circles just looking for clients. At the APPT Player Party's "after party" at Lion's Bar at MGM there were soooo many girls just lined up trying to get all the boys attention. Whether they were working, or just looking for "that special one", who knows, but it's certainly an eye opener. Speaking of the APPT Player Party - that was a doosey thanks to "Michael Jackson". Danny McDonagh and Robin Lim were cruel enough to drag me on stage to dance with "Michael" which lasted 2.5 seconds before I jumped off blushing. Anyway, "Michael" was pretty cool - no one will ever be as amazing as the real MJ of course - but he did steal everyone's attention for the entire show. We even got him to perform an encore at Lion's Bar (he rocked up fully dressed - I wonder if he dresses like that all the time?)
Anyway, if you haven't been following the live reporting from APPT Macau then click here! The Live Reporting Blog has a brand new set-up, so let me know what you think of it?
That's it from me for now, once we wrap up here in Macau (after a take down the Ladies Event tomorrow night of course) it's back to Vegas for the longest grind of the year at WSOP!