LG... Life's Good
This weekend PokerStars.net is hosting an ANZPT Main Event and, as always, we're in tow with all the live updates.
Each time I return to Crown, which is at least a few times per year, there is always something new to see or try - restaurants, bars, casino games, shops. The works. The entire west end of the complex went through a major renovation this year, which is located just above the Crown Poker Room. There are a few cool bars in The West End, so we took the cameras through, and it's just all part of the job to enjoy a few drinks along the way!!
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!
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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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
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.
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.