LG... Life's Good
My favourite video that comes out of any event, is always the bloopers & highlights. I love looking back on all the good, and embarrassing times! Here's a compilation of myself, Kristy Arnett and Sarah Grant's finest moments.
For now, it's adios Las Vegas. Thanks for another AWESOME World Series of Poker. Next up, it's some well-needed Mexican beach time! to chillax!
Each week I publish a "Video Vault" on PokerNews, highlighting my favourite four videos from WSOP that week.
But to celebrate the WSOP midway mark (already?!), here's a collection of what I'm gonna call, Top Top.
I love a good laugh, so my "Top Pair" hands down goes to The Straddle. Kristy Arnett has been putting these gems together each week, and they just keep getting better! If you haven't seen The Straddle yet, it's basically a "behind the scenes" look at the WSOP. Show Me Your Sack is easily the best segment IMO!
With the comedy aside, the "Top Kicker" so far was having the privilege of interviewing Phil Hellmuth table-side after he won his 12th WSOP bracelet.
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 can't believe it's here again! Although today is Day #3 of the WSOP, tonight is my first official shift, reporting for PokerNews.com of course. It just so happened that the schedule worked out that I had the first two days off which has been such a tease with all this crazy news going on, I feel so out of the loop! I'm so excited to get in there amongst it all tonight! I've been in Las Vegas for about a month now, minus one week where I went home (yes, all the way to Australia) to refresh myself (and my suitcase) before the grind. I've got all the Vegas partying out of my system after Kristy Arnett's crazy bachelorette weekend in Las Vegas and then her and Andrew's AMAZING wedding in the little tucked away town of Fort Wayne. I had the honour of being one of her bridesmaids which was so much fun and I couldn't be happier to have been a part of such a perfect couple's union! Congratulations Andrew and Kristy!
So, now I'm ready to set myself back into Trojan Horse working mode for the next seven weeks! Working with Sarah Grant and Kristy Arnett all summer is going to be crazy, we have so much fun together which is probably evident in our first video kick of the WSOP with our own guided tour of the Rio:
I hope you're enjoying our coverage so far of the 42nd Annual World Series of Poker! The only place to find everything you need is at PokerNews.com
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.
At the 2008 World Series of Poker, Hevad Khan’s antics were hard to miss. The next year, we saw an addition to the WSOP Rulebook prohibiting “excessive celebration through extended theatrics,” meaning that if you dance around, you get a penalty. So, strolling among the tables of the Rio offers not much more than the sound of well-behaved players shuffling their chips. If you walked into the tournament area of the City Center Rosario during today’s Latin American Poker Tour, however, you might find the sound of the chips regularly interrupted with emotional outbursts throughout the room.
If you’ve experienced any kind of competition south of the U.S. border, then you’ve been faced with the intense passion and emotion that Latino’s invest in their sport. To a newcomer, finding this kind of behavior in a poker room can be jolting. Some consider it rude, but is it?
I asked LAPT Tournament Director Greg Pappas why he allows this to happen despite it being frowned upon by official standards, and he responded, "In South America the people are so passionate. They love to really get behind their countries. So even though it’s not allowed in North America, here it’s a part of the game.”
Of course, there are a lot of lifestyle differences between North and South America. Latin Americans adopt a more laid-back approach to life, evident with the common term Hora Latina – meaning Latin Time. Flights commonly depart late, stores don’t always open exactly on the hour, and I can guarantee you that each day of your poker tournament will not start exactly at noon, and dinner break will go at least 10-20 minutes overtime. Every day you will be greeted with kisses so don’t even think about shaking hands – it’s actually considered rude. And let’s face it, things don’t always work. The sewage systems clog easily so you’re forced to pee next to a bin full of dirty toilet paper, and having 300 poker players in one resort will no-doubt crash the WIFI network. But hey, Viva Hora Latina – you’re on vacation!
So yes, a vast difference in behavior exists, but is passion not part of your game like it is with the South American players? Think of your average guy in the U.S. as he roots for his NFL team. He’s most likely screaming at the television, launching out of his seat and jumping around the lounge room when his team scores a touchdown. What about when you river that two-outer when hidden behind your monitor while your buddy is there with you? Don’t lie, you’ve given him a high-five with a giant grin at the very least, if not run around the desk with your arms flung out like a clothesline screaming “bulllldooooozzzzer.” Or is that just me?
These gestures of “excessive celebration” are all within us. It’s human nature. Are we being too emotionally reserved in the live setting by forcing everyone to be “polite” and remain emotionless? We’re all playing the game for the same reason; there’s no team in our game. Yeah, you’re going to have situations where you think someone played a hand against you horribly, so watching him cheer wildly when he sweeps up your chips makes you just want to launch over that table and rip his hair out. It’s all subjective. But if you ever have or ever will be lucky enough to play in an LAPT event or the like, be prepared for banging tables wildly, jumping around screaming Spanish expletives, and your opponents pointing and yelling at you in either celebration or frustration. Don’t take offense, embrace it. You know that the kid inside you does it too sometimes.
I can't believe the day has finally arrived. The Casino Employees event is nearing dinner break in the Pavillion, and a crowd of media and spectators has formed in the Amazon Room waiting for the first $50k players to take their seats.
The PokerNews Team have put together their WSOP picks, so I thought I'd include mine here:
- Which under-the-radar player will be the biggest surprise? Andrew Lichtenberger
- Which big-name pro will be the biggest disappointment? Tom "durrrr" Dwan
- Who will take down WSOP Player of the Year? Annette Obrestad. She's planning on playing a ton of events and she won her very first attempt at WSOP Europe. She has been waiting so long for this, and she's psyched and ready to rock.
- How many bracelets will Phil Ivey win? Zero
- How many events will Tom Dwan play this year? Seven
- How many final tables will Annette Obrestad make? Hopefully, I can count on two hands, seeing as how I picked her for player of the year.
- Which member of Team PokerNews is most likely to win a bracelet? My wrist is waiting for that Ladies Event bracelet but "most likely" would have to go to Mickey Doft in the Razz.
On top of that, Tim Duckworth put together a Fantasy League competition based on most winnings/cashes, so Kristy Arnett and I have put together our Dream Team for this year's WSOP:
- Female: Annette Obrestad
- Previous WSOP Main Event Winner: Chris Ferguson
- USA nationality: Eric Baldwin
- Canadian nationality: Daniel Negreanu
- European nationality: Elky
- Other International nationality: Jeff Lisandro
- Online Player: Andrew Lichtenberger
- Full Tilt sponsored player: Phil Ivey
- PokerStars sponsored player: Jason Mercier
- Other sponsored player: Phil Hellmuth
Let me know what you think!
Oh, and last night we had the PokerNews Party at Palazzo's Legasses' Stadium. We got a few picks from the team there, check out the video: