Archive for December, 2007

Back to Sin City For Bellagio’s Five Diamonds Main Event

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Here’s the latest update from Las Vegas. Yes, I’m back home in Vegas again, after spending three weeks in Hong Kong, Macau, and Vietnam. Whew!! That was quite a trip. I flew out of Vietnam and after traveling for almost 24 hours, hopping on and off several flights, I finally arrived back in the states on December 8th. Boy, was I glad to be back home and finally sleep in the comfort of my own bed again.

I haven’t done much since I’ve returned to Vegas. I spent the first two days jet lagged and rested as much as I can at home. I think the wear and tear of traveling got me a little sick so I’ve been staying home mostly trying to get healthy for the Main Event. I did however make it out of the house a few times. I arrived in Vegas on a Saturday and the following Monday I spent a few hours in a photo shoot with my teammate Fabrice Soulier. Fabrice was already doing the photo shoot by himself before I arrived and the last two hours of his session were photos of both of us to be used for our website (www.chilipoker.com). Afterwards I headed to the Bellagio to do an interview with a U.K. television crew. The interview was for ITV Series called ‘How to become a Poker Millionaire’. They are conducting interviews with top pros from all around the world and the aim of the show is to show the public glimpses of the lives of the worlds poker elite, and how they’ve succeeded and stayed at the top. So, if you’re in the U.K. keep an eye out for that show sometime in 2008.

After the photo shoot and interview with the U.K. television crew, I decided to go play some poker since I was already at the Bellagio. My normal game wasn’t going so I jumped into a 100/200 Limit game and luckily I was playing lower because I wasn’t running very well and ended up with a losing session and after 2 hours, I decided to cut my losses and go home. I probably needed to rest up anyways and get better for Wednesday’s Day 1A start for the Main Event at the Five Diamond. I was still feeling a little under the weather at this point. I didn’t do much on Tuesday, except go back to the Bellagio to register for the Main Event and meet up with my good friend Jennifer Newell. We went to dinner at Fix Restaurant and that was pretty much my night.

Wednesday was the first day of Event 13, the Main Event and 15k buy-in. I decided to play in Day 1A which is normal for me. I usually compete on the first day of the tournament if there are multiple starting days. I want to get it out of the way and it gives me an extra days worth of rest between days which is sometimes nice since the tournament is potentially 5 days long and each day is pretty long and grueling. I’d have to say I played well the first day. I ended up in 11th place when the day ended with 80,125 chips which was well above the average stack.

I was able to accumulate some chips early in a pretty big pot. I picked up some information on one of the players at my table. I noticed he made a big raise from the big blind with pocket tens in the first level. Later, I limped under the gun with pocket nines and watched as it came to the BB with three other callers in between. The BB raised to $750 and from the information I gathered earlier on this player, I felt like he had worse than tens this time around so I re-popped him another $3k and everyone folded back to the BB and he called. The flop came J-5-6 and it was checked down on the flop. The turn came 5 and I felt like I had the best hand and again the BB checked so I bet out $3,650 into the pot. The BB decides to re-raise to $13,200 and after taking a bit of time to analyse the hand - the amount he re-raised was too much to make me believe he’s got my 99’s beat so, I called. The river brought a non heart 3 and this time the BB checked and I checked behind. He turns over 77’s just a bit shy of beating my 99’s so I take down a large pot. :-)
Another big hand during the first day was towards the end of the day. I got into a big hand with Brian Powell as the day was closing. Brian limped from the cut-off and I raised it up to $1,700 from the small blind. I had A(d) Q(s) and felt confident I had the best hand at this point so I raised. Brian made the call and the flop fell J(h) 10(h) 6(h). We both checked and the 6(d) fell on the turn. I checked again but this time Brian fired out $2,500 into the pot. I still felt like I had the best hand and immediately check raised him to $6,500, Brian thought for a bit then flat called. I didn’t want to see a call at this point but then the river brought a Q(d) and now I have top pair. I was pretty sure Brian didn’t have a 6 or A-K so I fired $10,000 into the middle and after some thought, Brian made the call. He showed A-10 and turns out my Ace Queen caught up to his Ace Ten and I ended up finishing with the better hand.

That’s pretty much how my first day ended. I did get involved in a couple of pots where I lost some decent amount of chips but I was able to chip up each time and luckily I finished the day pretty strong and I’m right near the top of the leader board. I’m at home now checking up on Day2 and I notice some very strong players are on top of the leader board. Most notably Phil Ivey, who is the only player with more than 200,000 in chips. Both my friends John Phan and Joe Sebok are also near the top of the leader boards and John Hennigan who finished with the chip lead on Day 1A. There are so many big names near the top of the leader board and I have my work cut out for me. I think once the dust settles, we’re going to end up with an extremely tough final table with lots of big name pro’s. Hopefully among one of those names will be Liz “The Poker Diva” Lieu. HeHe ;-) Until next time everyone, Take Care!

Back to Back Finals In Macau, China!

Monday, December 3rd, 2007

After 3 hours of delay at the airport, I finally arrived in Hong Kong. That was my first time there and I was really excited about it. I heard from friends that Hong Kong is a shopping paradise. I knew my schedules are booked solid for the next few days, but I was hoping I could squeeze a little time in between meetings to go and pamper myself. :).

It seem like when work starts, it will never stop. I had an interview with Prestige Magazine as early as 10am, followed by a 30 min recording with Bloomberg TV. During the recording, we discussed about poker and the life of the poker diva. I’m not spoiling it by going into too much detail, so do watch out for that episode! Right after that, I had to do 2 interviews with the local newspapers before I can headed back to my room at JW Marriott Hotel. What the day! The next morning, the crew from Capital, the leading documentary programme of France, joined us in Hong Kong. They would be following us throughout the events in Macau as Alex, Fabrice, and myself will be appearing in their 60-minute documentary.

The next morning, we headed to Macau, the Las Vegas of Asia. It was a 45-minute ferry ride from Hong Kong to Macau, and Alex just could not resist snapping pictures along the journey. When we arrived at the Venetian, I was totally surprised it looked almost identical to The Venetian in Vegas. Home sweet home! Haha. This is sure going to be fun. There was Opening Night Party held at The Waldo Casino. I managed to catch up with many of the pros in the poker circuit.

Day 1 of the Main Event was a roller-coaster ride for me. My chip stack was moving up and down, but I did manage to go into Day 2 with an average stack. I had a much better run on Day 2 and did not take any big hits. I was below average in chips going into Day 2 but managed to double up my chips the first round with 10 10’s against A K. I kept my chips pretty steady the entire night and finished Day 2 with 232,000 and off I go… TO THE FINAL TABLE!! whoohoo :)
The chip leader, Dinh Le, played well in the final table. He made very good use of his chips to dominate the table and I was having a cold run of cards. There was one hand where I had A8 suited and raised it to 35k in middle position. Everyone folded and action got to Dinh Le in the small blind. He re-raised up to 90k, and after going into the tank for few minutes, I decided to fold. I later found out he had Aces on that hand. Phew! The cold run continued after that hand and soon I was short stacked. I picked up A6 and pushed all-in from late position. Guillaume Patry called from the big blind, and showed 72 (off)!! The board came 8 3 7 J 7 and I was eliminated in 7th place. Well, I was going to have the 15k High Roller Event the following day, so I wasn’t going to think about that bad beat and just go get a good nights rest in my room. Anyway, I would like to congratulate Dinh Le for winning this event.

The 15k High Rollers Event featured quite some big names. There was even once where Nick Schulman, Jeff Lisandro, Scotty Nguyen, Guillaume Patry, Vanessa Rousso and John Juanda were all at my table. This was not an easy field of players and I had to battle through to about 4:30am to lock myself a back-to-back final table. However, I was the short stack in the final table and was busted in 8th after my A10 did not hold up against my opponent’s AQ. Although I’m quite disappointed for not able to win either event, but I’m satisfied with my overall performance in this APPT Macau. Let’s just hope I will win this next year when APPT is back in Macau! :)
I’m now in Vietnam, and heading to Danang tomorrow to do more charities. It will be a good break for me as well. After that, I’m flying back to Vegas on the 8th for the Bellagio Five Diamond Event. Till then, take care!