LG... Life's Good
Perth is definitely one of the world’s most liveable cities. It’s so clean, serene, and beautiful.
In the following video I give a tour of some of my favourite spots around town, including King’s Park with it’s stunning views and pristine gardens, beautiful City Beach, along with it’s must-visit place for a beachside feast, Clancy’s Fish Pub. We also drop into Cottesloe Beach where I enjoyed an incredible lunch at Indiana (although I wasn’t able to film inside – let me tell you, it is awesome).
The tour ends at Crown Perth, where we're located all this week for the Australia and New Zealand Poker Tour, filming for PokerNews.com and PokerStars.tv.
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!!
I'm writing this blog as I sit in my hotel lobby in Sanremo, Italy, waiting for my taxi to Nice, where I will begin my long journey back to Australia. For the past 10 days I've been in Sanremo for the PokerStars.it European Poker Tour. When flying all the way to Italy from Australia, it would have been crazy of me to not extend my stay a few days to be able to take the time and explore, so Angel and I did just that. The original plan for our days off was to spend an afternoon or two in nearby towns, but we loved Sanremo so much that we stayed here the entire time.
Sanremo is a pretty small town, so it's easy to explore on foot. La Pigna (The Pine Cone) is the oldest part of town, and the center of almost everything you need to see. Getting lost throughout these streets narrow streets was simply awesome, as you climb the steep hills and find yourself up atop of the entire city. Check out the following to see exactly what a mean:
We stayed at Hotel Miramare Continental Palace for 10 nights. The hotel is an old castle from the 1800's, overlooking the beach, and just a short walk from the casino. Our room had the most beautiful double doors that opened out to a balcony with a view of the beach - I loved it! While I haven't stayed anywhere else in Sanremo, I still could not recommend this hotel enough - provided that you receive a room with a balcony. It's well priced, a basic continental breakfast is included and lovely hotel staff. Just make sure you get a spacious room - as every room is completely different. A couple of my teammates at PokerNews were not as lucky and were squashed into what felt like a closet.
While I've been here, the amount that everyone has been raving about Ristaurante Mare Blu has been beyond belief. The key to its popularity, on top of the fantastic menu, is that in recent years, the clever owner recognised that catering for the hundreds of poker players in town for these two weeks each year was a huge business. They adjusted their schedule and menu to suit poker players on a limited dinner break, with a featured ravioli dish that is guaranteed to be served up in speedy time. Sarah Grant and I paid the restaurant a visit to see what all the fuss was about:
Casino San Remo is situated right in the centre of La Pigna, and was conveniently our office for the EPT, which drew in 797 players who each paid €5,000 to take part in the Main Event. It was an absolute festival of poker last week with excellent side events drawing in huge fields and awarding millions and millions of euros. The main spotlight was on the Main Event though, and the ever-so-deserving Frenchman, Ludovic Lacay was the one to take that title. Here is my interview with him straight after his win.
Thanks for reading my blog, now it's time for me to head home and get ready for ANZPT Melbourne at Crown Casino!
Wow, Barcelona is AWESOME. I've been here once before and loved it, but it was a whirlwind trip. This time, I was lucky enough to have a couple of days to chill out before the PokerStars.com EPT Barcelona kicked off. I managed to wander the streets aimlessly, eating amazing paella & tapas, while drinking the best sangria I've ever tasted. The vibe in this city is awesome with a quirky, kicked-back coolness, reminding me of a giant version of St Kilda - one of my favourite areas of my hometown, Melbourne. Here's a tour around town we filmed for PokerStars.tv, showing off some of my favourite spots:
I'm in Monaco for the PokerStars and Monte-Carlo®Casino EPT Grand Final. I came here straight from EPT Berlin like most others here, and I'm in heaven. This place doesn't feel real. The riches, the cars, the yachts, the cleanliness and beauty of this city all make it feel like you've just busted in on the set of a Hollywood film. Here is a quick tour of the town:
I've been lucky enough to spend the past week in Italy - a nation that's addicted to caffeine and carbohydrates. And rightfully so - everything here tastes so damn good!! We've been spending most of our time in Milan, but over the long weekend we went on a road trip through Florence, Pisa and a stunning little Tuscan town called Lucca. I'm in love with Lucca. It's an old medieval city full of the tiniest, winding lane ways within a giant wall. It's so easy to just walk around and happily get lost, taking in the gorgeous surroundings. There was four of us, so we rented a four-seater bicycle and rode around - it was hilarious, and a great way to move around as a group.
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.
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!
My verdict on Macau after three visits over the past three years: it’s just not my cup of tea. Don't get me wrong, most of the people visiting during the APPT absolutely loved it - especially my co-workers. The boys particularly loved the place with the cheap spas (not necessarily those spas) and gorgeous girls filling out Vegas-style nightclubs at a quarter of the price to its idol city. It's certainly every bit of Las Vegas, just an oriental translation.
The Awkward Moment When You Get in the Elevator...
At least once everyday, I had to share my elevator with a couple. Not your ordinary couple though. A 30-minute relationship that began on the ground floor, also known as the "race track", and happily ended on the sixth floor of my hotel. It started off intriguing, and while I'm certainly not judging the profession whatsoever, I just couldn't help but begin to resent the commonly rude, dominant men that I had to share my elevator with, along with their timid, unspoken "purchasee". People can certainly do what they want, and it's one of the biggest businesses in the world, but after being forced in the middle of it for a week (questionable choice of words there, I don't mean literally), I just didn't like the energy.
On my last day in Macau, I sent a Tweet to try to understand why many Chinese men, mostly 40+, constantly spit; at least in Macau and Hong Kong they do, from what I’ve seen. And I don't mean just spit... I mean the full "haaauuuhhooooochhhhh" as Dale 'Daleroxxu' Philip described it. You hear (and see) it every 10 minutes when walking around Macau. Some people responded on Twitter that it was about the pollution or smoking, but there are other cities in the world that are just as polluted and don't do this. Others said it was a spiritual belief of ridding bad energy from their bodies. Although they seem to just attract bad energy from those in the room around them! That was one custom I was really struggling to adjust to! Apparently now Hong Kong deliver fines for anyone caught spitting in public.
Macau has been in the poker-spotlight for quite some time now, and it really is a poker-players heaven for most, with places such as The Grand Waldo Spa to spend your Sunday grind kicking back on a giant recliner while getting super cheap pedicures and massages. The restaurants at The Grand Lisboa, where the APPT is held, are simply awesome, and of course so is the stunning hotel that I was lucky enough to stay in last year. My tip: order coffee at Crystal Cafe (under the poker room) when Lincoln is working - he was the only one who made an awesome coffee! And the white bread they use there for their toast is amazing. Random, but true.
As for the sights, there are some great things to see, but I won't write about it as I think I did enough talking in the following video!
With the long days of work, hitting the town at night wasn’t an overly available option for someone who needs their sleep like I do, except for one crazy night where we celebrated the kick off to the Main Event and PokerStars’ 10th Birthday and one of Macau’s most popular nightclubs, D2. Usually the male to female ratio at poker parties is so heavily skewed, it was a pleasant surprise to see so many females when we arrived. Check out the video if you don’t believe me!
One of my favorite things about working in the poker industry is the awesome people that you get to meet and work with. It’s rare for me to meet a poker player that I dislike. I don’t know Randy ‘nanonoko’ Lew that well, but from what I do know, he is an awesome guy, and with that added to his monster online-cash-game skills, you’ve just got to love him! We could see it in his face with each all-in moment he had at this final table, just how much his heart and soul was in it to land that title. And that he did. Congratulations Randy!
The (Legit) Massage
Lastly, I had a few hours to spare in the Hong Kong International Airport so I got myself a chair massage in the Traveller's Lounge near Gate 1. My expectations weren't that high for a spontaneous airport massage, but oh my, the girl I had was absolutely incredible. Quite easily the best massage I think I've ever had.... Her name was Sylvia - do yourself a favour if you're flying through Hong Kong and request her!
Since Black Friday, so many US poker players have been on the move, with a handful making their way to Mexico's Mayan Riviera. Most North Americans know it for Spring Break's ultimate destination: Can Cun; but just 45 minutes south is a little beachside town known as Playa del Carmen (which Chad Holloway wrote all about on PokerNews recently).
That's where I spent three weeks with my boy, just livin' the dream by the crystal clear blue waters of the Atlantic Ocean. A good friend of Angel's, JC Alvarado, has lived her for two years and Shaun Deeb just joined him a few months ago. Those guys left for Europe during WSOPE and EPT San Remo, so Angel and I snapped up Shaun's empty penthouse by the beach. Seriously, it was heaven on earth.
On our first weekend, Angel took me down to Tulum for my early birthday spoiling. We stayed at the Ana y Jose Hotel and Spa. Amazing, amazing, amazing, amazing!!! I'm going to let the pictures do the talking.
Tulum's main feature is the ancient Mayan Ruins. I just loved visiting this place. The energy was incredible, and obviously so was the setting!
For two of the weeks there I was going to school learning Spanish. I absolutely loved being "back at school" and that's given me an extra urge to study again. But first I have to nail this language which is going to take a loooooong time. I was expecting to be studying with mostly northern american's, but surprisingly of the 15 or so people that I met, only two were American! There was such a range of cultures, from Irish to German to Swiss to Aussie.
I felt like a bit of a local after three weeks living in Playa del Carmen, and while I obviously haven't tried everything, I of course came away with some of my top places of what I did try. Here they are:
• Best Place for Breakfast: Green Box has the best bagels I think I've ever tasted and yummy freshly squeezed fruit and vegetable juices. It's an awesome little shack sitting on the corner of Calle 38 Norte and 5ta Avenida.
• Best Place for Lunch: Fri-Das on 5ta Avenida near the corner of Calle Corazon. Everything we had there was amazing.
• Best Place for Dinner: Byblos on Calle 14 Norte and 5ta Avenida. Surprisingly this was right out the front of my Spanish school and I had no idea! I never gave the place any credit as it looks really basic, but when JC arrived back in town he took us to his all-time fav restaurant in town which he goes to religiously, and just as he promised, the food was incredible. Seriously, incredible.
• Best School to Learn Spanish: IMAC at International House - located on the corner of Calle 14 Norte and 5ta Avenida - stunning location!
• Best Facial: There's a little spa tucked away in the middle of two central resorts just off 5ta Avenida - Mosquito Blue and La Tortuga Hotel & Spa. There's just a couple of spa rooms and it feels like they're hidden inside a little secret garden. Most importantly, the facial was awesome, and that's coming from a well experienced opinion!
• Best Hang Out: Canibal Royal at Grand Coco Bay, it was our "local hangout" and is clearly on my list for the obv reasons displayed in the photo below
Next time you're planning a holiday, or perhaps if you're looking for a new poker-playing-home, then I highly recommend Playa del Carmen. Incredible place!