Archive for November, 2008

Thanksgiving! What Are You Thankful For?

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

Happy Thanksgiving for those of you in the States! For many of us this is a good time to reflect and think about the value of family and the importance of friends and life.

This hasn’t been the easiest year, 2008. I lost my father in late 2007. I was actually at the table playing the Barcelona Main Event when I heard the bad news. I left in the middle of the event and immediately arranged a flight to Vietnam. I spent the first part of 2008 mostly in Vietnam . Paying tribute and respect to my father’s memorial. Doing lots of Charity work in Vietnam, I know my Dad would have wanted it that way.

Poker took a back seat for a while now that I reflect upon the year. I tried to get poker back on track and one calamity after another struck me down in early 2008. It just wasn’t meant to be I guess. For starters, I missed one of my favorite events of the year. The Monte Carlo event in Monaco. I ordered room service the night before Day 1 and came down with food poisoning the next morning. I had to pull out of that event. I flew back to the States a week later and got extremely ill, requiring me to be hospitalized and undergo surgery which took months to fully recover.

All of this occurred, just before this years WSOP. I came into the WSOP on a pretty significant lay off from tournament play but I still managed to play very well in a few events. Ultimately I just went card dead or ran into a bad beat at the wrong times.

Poker has been very choppy for me this year. The high stakes cash games in Las Vegas have dried up. There has been some good action at the Commerce lately. I have had to go to L.A. a few times to find good games. Outside of L.A., the games have been pretty limited.

Because of my heavy travel schedule in 2008 and the lack of juicy cash games, I spent more time online than ever before. I’ve had very mixed results online. I have had some good sessions and some not so good ones. I am a winning player online, overall, but I definitely have less of an edge online than I do live. I think I really need to get back to the Commerce and get back to those cash games. This is a goal of mine in 2009! To play a lot more cash!!

Despite the rough year, I have many things to be thankful for! And I have grown as a person and become stronger. I still have my mother, sister, brothers, nieces, and nephew to enjoy. I have a good support system around me and many reasons to smile. A few very close friends have supported me emotionally and spiritually throughout the year and really helped me through some personal setbacks. Alexandre Dreyfus and Chilipoker have also been wonderful to me.

Life isn’t always perfect but it is always exactly as it was meant to be. A friend of mine just came across a very fitting quote and I like to post it here. I don’t know who to attribute the quote to? If you know make a comment.

“There is nothing for you to go back and live over, or fix, or feel regret about now. Every part of your life has unfolded just right. And so –now — knowing all that you know from where you now stand, now what do you want? The answers are now coming forth to you.”

In that spirit, life is good. I am lucky to have the freedom to travel. I have travelled all over the world and visited some beautiful places. In the past year, I have been to London, France, Poland, Italy, Australia, Hong Kong, Macau and Malta just to name a few.

I have very entertaining friends in the poker community. Love them or hate them, the poker community is like a large dysfunctional family. Some of them party too much. Some of them have unnecessary drama. Some of them just simply gamble too much. No!! I am not naming names. I am very protective of my friends and family. I don’t judge any of my friends for whatever they are going through. Sometimes it’s just a phase. Sometimes they are using it as a distraction for other issues. I love them all regardless!

I’m privileged to belong to such an interesting community of people. Not to say 2008 has been perfect. I have lost a few friends. I have gained new friends. I have drifted further from some and closer to others. That is life. Poker can be a very competitive game and sometimes a few toes are stepped on. Feelings are hurt and drama ensues. But we fight and make up and do it all over again. Just like any big family. We usually make amends and all that begins well should end well.

It is important to keep your sanity at times and I can honestly say I have been keeping it together better and better. This is what I am thankful for. I am thankful for having a positive life perspective. I am thankful of not being envious, jealous and bitter of others.

I am thankful that I don’t judge others and I try not to let those who judge me influence my emotional state of mind. I am thankful for charity and love. So many people showered their sincere feelings with me during some rough times. I know I am loved!

I am also much better at selecting friends and knowing who I can trust and who to keep close. I will reflect on 2008 someday and view it as a year of personal growth! I am about to celebrate Thanksgiving soon and I wanted to share with everyone that it is a way of life.

Thanksgiving shouldn’t be a single day on a calendar that we celebrate with an oversized Turkey. I travel to Vietnam frequently and other parts of the world and America has so much to be thankful for. All of us that are Americans are privileged. For the freedoms, for the democracy, for all of the little luxuries we take for granted.

I just had a funny conversation with a friend last night. We were talking about something as simple as a washer and dryer. I lived in an upscale part of London for part of last year and they don’t have separate washers and dryers?! You dry your clothes in the same machine you wash them in!

It takes about 4 hours to do a load of laundry!! In Italy, they don’t even have dryers! Or at least I didn’t come across one and have shared similar stories with others that travel frequently. Most people in Italy hang dry their clothes. These are modern first world countries. Really, we all have a lot to be thankful for. Even those simple little luxuries.

Don’t forget to appreciate the moment. Don’t forget to absorb all of life’s lessons and don’t forget to apply every bit of wisdom gained and lesson learned to forge an even better future. Happy Thanksgiving everyone!! This includes all of my friends and fans around the world!

Cheers!

BC Poker Championship

Tuesday, November 25th, 2008

Quick update. Sorry for the week long delay between updates. I’ve been busy in Vancouver, playing poker, partying and even doing some commercial promos for the River Rock Casino.

Congratulations to Daniel Negreanu for winning the Main Event of the BC Poker Championships. Daniel took home the first place price worth $371,910. A bunch of poker players celebrated with Daniel at Republic on Sunday night.

I will give you more details in the next blog. I am still recovering from the trip. Who says girls cannot get along? Lacey Jones, Maria Ho, Tiffany Michelle and I stayed at the same Penthouse Suite Wednesday through Monday. The girls had some great bonding moments in Vancouver this past week! Unfortunately none of us made it deep in the main event tournament. :(


We arrived at River Rock Casino Resort in Richmond, British Columbia and the Poker staff and Resort were awesome! They went out of there way to make accommodations for us and make us feel welcome. I want to give a special thanks to Alex Lee Behan. Alex handles the PR for all seventeen casinos in B.C. In addition to that, Alex is a close friend of Lacey Jones and she went out of her way to make sure we had the very best experience during our time in BC. Thank you Alex!!

There were many aspects of my trip to BC. My brother Kenny Lieu lives in BC so I spent some time visiting him and his family. As most of you know my dad passed away last year and my brother Kenny looks almost identical to my dad. I cannot help but think of my dad when I visit my brother.

The second part of my trip was the actual poker. I only planned on playing the Main Event and unfortunately for me I didn’t last past the first day. I wasn’t able to pick up any chips and before I knew it I was short stacked and forced to move all in. I ran into a better hand and my tournament was over.

That only freed up more time to play online. This was difficult at first because we only had a cable modem in our Hotel Suite. I had to call the Casino Exec and he was able to coordinate with the resort to get us a wireless modem. Four girls in the penthouse suite all wanting to get internet access and play poker or get work done on our lap tops. We couldn’t do it without the wireless access and the hotel was very accommodating in helping us get wireless internet.

Lots and lots of pros were in town for the tournament. Some of the big names who also tried their luck at the table included Brad “Yukon” Booth, Gavin Smith, Lacey Jones, Mark Napier, Gabe Kaplan, Dennis Philips, Isabelle Mercier, Maria Ho, Tiffany Michelle, David Williams, and Steve Sung. The nearly 700 player field had a really good mix of amateur and professional poker players. Many recognizable online players rounded out the field. Once I was knocked out the Resort asked me if I could do some promos for them and light hosting duties.

The third aspect of the trip was just good ole fashioned fun. On Thursday night a large group of us went out to dinner. Some of the other poker players such as Michael Binger, Steve Sung, Todd Bui and all of the ladies went out to dinner. Later that night we just had a chill time in our Hotel Suite. We had drinks and laid low.

The next night, Friday, a large group of us headed into Downtown Vancouver. Lacey, Tiffany, Maria, Gavin, Brad, Steve Sung, Todd, Brian “Devo”, and about 10 other friends headed into a night club called Caprice. Lacey’s good friend Alex Lee Behan booked us a table at Caprice. We had a terrific time.

On Saturday, the girls stayed in for the night. I filmed some cutaways for the River Rock Casino Resort. To promote the Resort and the BC Poker Championships. There was also an autograph session.

(photo courtesy of Alex Lee Behan)

On Sunday, we all stuck around the final table area to watch Daniel Negreanu win the BC Poker Championship. Once again, congrats to Daniel!! I’m back in Las Vegas and next on the Horizon is the Five Star Diamond Classic at the Bellagio in December.

(photo courtesy of Alex Lee Behan)

I will post another blog very soon. I have some other thoughts and stories to share. But for now I need to get some rest and recover from the busy week in BC!!

Cheers!

Ultimate Fighting type of a Weekend

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

I am writing this blog from my sick bed! Yes, I caught the stomach flu that’s kicking my butt harder than anything I watched at UFC 91 this weekend!!

For starters, my weekend started off grand. My friend Jewels flew into Vegas for one day. She is a close dear friend of mine from Israel and it’s been 2 years since I’ve seen her last. Unfortunately she is travelling for business and was only able to stop by Vegas for one day. Jewels and I headed to the Wynn to eat at the very upscale Alex Restaurant. It is absolutely superb if you have never been there. We caught up on each others lives and shared some girl gossip. Love you Jewels! xoxo

The very next day I had another visit from another good friend, Eddie Ting. Eddie flew in with six of his friends. A few of them were staying at the Luxury Villas at the Bellagio. The Villas are 6500 Square-foot estates. It was my second time going to the Bellagio Villas. It is simply amazing. The Villa has its own private pool and Jacuzzi. It comes with 24 hour Butler service and the guests get treated like Royalty. The Suites are only available by invitation only.

If you haven’t received your invitation to stay at the Villa don’t worry, I am still waiting for my invitation too!! But at $10,000 per night I think I would possibly pass even if I was invited.

At the last minute my friend Eddie sends me a text asking me to go with him to UFC 91 Event at the MGM. I don’t know how he got his tickets at the last second but when you are staying at the Villas I don’t think getting tickets to any event is a problem. Our seats were pretty amazing. (Thanks Alan!) ;)

A few of my friends were surprised I wanted to watch the UFC when I told them about it. Little did they know huh? :P I guess I’ve been around guys too much all of my life! That’s what happens when you are a female poker player. To most people’s surprise, this wasn’t my first fight. I’ve been to several other fights in the past and I really enjoyed it.

It’s never any fun going to any of these fighting events without placing any bets right? :) So Eddie and myself placed a couple prop bets on some of the matches. Result ending with Liz +2 Eddie -2. LOL! 

The Randy Couture vs. Brock Lesnar fight really lived up to the billing. Randy was the Heavyweight champion and UFC legend. Brock was probably the freakiest person I’ve ever seen in my life. He looked like the real life embodiment of the Hulk!! Despite the size difference most people seemed pretty confident about Randy’s chances. Because of his experience and history of beating all of the top guys in the UFC. The crowd was really behind Randy Couture but Brock Lesnar was too much.

And then comes this final ending, with Couture on the ground getting pounded on the head full strength -non-stop! It’s over! Sigh… Lets just say with Brock Lesnar winning the fight.. A large sum of money went down the drain.. WT*!

Afterwards, the 4 of us who attended the fight together - Eddie, Nick, Lisa, and myself, headed back to the Bellagio and ate a sushi feast before meeting up with Eddie’s friends Liberty and her husband, who also joined us at the Bank where a table was waiting for us. I finished out my night at The Bank and midway through I started to feel a stomach ache coming on. Ever since then I’ve pretty much been feeling like a dead fish the last couple days. I’m sure it was the sushi I ate! Argh!! I would love to be playing some online poker right now but it’s never a good idea to play poker when you are feeling sick.

I’d like to send my Congrats to Eddie and his beautiful wife on having an adorable healthy new born son Tyler Ting. (And Eddie if your reading this, you can ask me a thousand more times who your son looks like and you’ll still get the same answer, your wife! :P)

The last two days have been miserable but I am starting to feel better now. My next journal entry will probably be from Canada. I fly into Vancouver on Wednesday and plan to play some poker with our friendly neighbors in the North. Until then.

Cheers!

A quick trip to LA and back

Saturday, November 15th, 2008

Monday morning, I jumped into my Benz and started driving to Los Angeles to visit my Chilipoker Sponsor, Alexandre Dreyfus. I was supposed to meet him at 5am. Don’t ask. Something to do with Alex trying to stay on European time. He tries to sleep at the same time he would if he was in France.

I didn’t leave Vegas until 2:30am. I was struggling to leave at all. Alex has been so supportive of me and has been the absolutely best Sponsor anyone could ask for so there was no way I wasn’t going to drive to L.A. but I was soooo tired!! I arrived in L.A. around 6:30 in the morning and I decided to spend the rest of the week there. Alex and I had some good meetings on Monday and discussed some upcoming projects and pending business.

After joining Alex for breakfast, we decided that I take him on a sightseeing tour. We headed to Beverly Hills and Alex wanted to check out some of the homes in that area. There’s a slight chance he might move to Los Angeles someday, since he loves the weather so much. And then I took him to my favorite spot in L.A. That’s right! Rodeo Drive. :)

The rest of the time I just played poker online. I am not running well online!! I am actually playing quite well. I played heads up mostly. I ended up down 13k before I called it quits for the week. It was an up and down session. On Thursday I went heads up against a very loose and aggressive player and he hit so many times on the river. I wanted to puke. I would check raise and raise him on the flop and turn. Of course he had air everytime but this didn’t stop him from chasing me down and hitting every over card or draw on the river. It was pretty sick. Oh well, that’s poker right?

Here’s a funny story. It is Friday and I just returned from L.A. I am in Vegas now writing this blog from home and it took me 6 ½ hours to get here. The traffic in LA is an absolute nightmare. I called a friend and they asked me why I was driving back to Vegas on a Friday. That is the worst day to drive. I thought it was Thursday!!

Okay. I think I am going to book my trip to the British Columbia Poker Championships in Vancouver, B.C. next week. I hear it’s a great event at a great venue. I haven’t played this event before but I am looking forward too it.

The event will be held at the River Rock Casino Resort. Rumor is the first prize of the Main Event will be around one million U.S. dollars. I fly out Wednesday. I will report back from Canada and let you know how it goes. Cheers!

What a Weekend!! Whew…

Monday, November 10th, 2008

Picking right back up from where I left off. I made the short drive to the Bellagio to meet up with my friends to go to The Bank. When I arrived I ran into Eric Morris, Owner of Bluff Magazine and Justin Bonomo. I have never met Justin until then. They were waiting on Lacey and Christina.

I decided to book my own table separately on the dance floor since I had out of town guests and decided to invite a couple of girlfriends. It turns out our tables were very close. Jeff Madsen, Nenad Medic, Brandon Cantu, Tiffany Michelle, Maria Ho, Justin Bonomo and Rick Fuller were just a few among many other poker players that decided to come out for the Bluff Party.

(photo courtesy of Spy On Vegas)

We settled in around 11pm and ordered three bottles of Vodka. I don’t drink at all, typically, but I did have half a shot with Nenad towards the end of the night. It was one of those type of nights. Everyone seemed to be in good spirits. The WSOP Main Event was just a day away and I decided to celebrate the occasion.

(photo courtesy of Spy On Vegas and Napkin Nights)

Most of the night everyone bounced back and forth between the different tables. I also ran into the entire Asian Dragon APT Crew, Quinn Do, Nam Le, JC Tran, Steve Sung, as well as Martin Elliott and Tom Hall of the Asian Poker Tour. They had a few tables as well Saturday night. I am a big supporter of the APT and I plan to play in several events.

(photo courtesy of Spy On Vegas)

Sunday was really uneventful. It was a complete recovery day from the two nights before. A chance to catch up on errands. Check emails. I pretty much stayed in my home the whole day and ordered Mexican take out to be delivered to my place.

Now it’s Monday and I just returned from taking my mercedes into the dealership for some routine maintenance and oil check. I plan on driving to Los Angeles tonight. My Chilipoker Sponsor, Alexandre Dreyfus, is in Los Angeles for a few days. I want to catch up on some work with him while he’s in town.

Most of our correspondence in the past month has been over Skype or phone so this is a good chance to meet up with Alex because we are both travelling so much and he is always busy with work. Alex is truly one of the most intelligent business people I know and has a great sense of humor. I look forward to seeing him again.

And I promise you some poker blogs are coming soon!! :)

Cheers!

Long.. busy .. fun weekend

Saturday, November 8th, 2008

It’s Saturday evening and I thought I would post a quick blog before getting ready attend the Bluff Party tonight at The Bank in the Bellagio. I will be joined by some of my good friends.

For the past two days, I have been entertaining a couple friends from out of town and handling some poker business. Many people are in town this weekend for the WSOP Main Event. I will be at The RIO on Sunday to meet up with Matt Waldon to do an interview for Lifes A Bluff and possibly Flush Magazine. While I’m there I’m also gonna swing by the final table to root for David “Chino” Rheem.

Many young players can be cocky and obnoxious but Chino has never been like that. Chino has always been respectful. Chino might still be young but he is a grinder who worked his way up from the cash games and always worked hard to improve. It’s no fluke Chino is at the Final Table and I wish him the best of luck.

I am not all work and NO fun however. I did go out last night for a bit to Lavo, the new club at the Palazzo last night. I met a couple of my friends out there and we had a good evening. If you haven’t been to the Palazzo it has a similar vibe as TAO Night Club but much smaller and more intimate. Right when you walk in there is a main bar area that feels more like a cocktail lounge and the upstairs is a dance floor.

I had friend’s texting me to come to Prive and the Hard Rock as well. Unfortunately by the time I received those texts it was getting pretty late. I grabbed a few late night snacks with my friends before we decided to call it a night. Tonight should be a much more adventurous night. Last night all of my friends were spread all over the place.

Some were saving there energy for the Hoyt Corkins Charity event today. Others were at Prive or the Hard Rock or just staying low key. Most of the friends I’ve talked to are all coming out tonight so this should be a really fun evening.

It is time to go get ready. I am going to grab dinner somewhere. Not sure where yet!! I need to get ready first however. If you happen to come across this blog and see me at The Bank tonight, say Hi. Until the next blog, arrivederci.

Obama’s campaign slogan

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Hump Day!! How do you blog about Monday and Tuesday? Seriously, does anything interesting ever happen on a Monday or Tuesday? Normally that is true but this Tuesday turned out to be a pretty interesting day. Once every four years on Election Tuesday, the American people get to elect a President.

I was glued to CNN most of yesterday like the rest of the Country. I don’t want to get too political because I’m not a very political person but the reaction to Obama being elected was pretty electrifying. I also want to give some respect to John McCain who conceded very graciously as he acknowledged an Obama victory. McCain’s concession was very classy!!

And what can you say about Obama?! His speaking ability and charisma remind me of a modern day John F. Kennedy. Much of Obama’s success can be attributed to the way he motivated younger generations to vote and motivated those who previously felt disenfranchised with the political process to vote. I know many Republicans are upset today but around the globe and around this nation, many people are celebrating Obama’s brand of hope and change. The election is over and what is done is done!! Let’s all move forward.

                                      (photo courtesy unknown)

On the topic of poker and politics, rumors suggest Obama is a pretty decent poker player himself and maybe he will be an advocate for poker unlike his predecessor George W. Bush. Obama has expressed an interest in regulating online poker and gambling. Doyle Brunson, a lifelong Republican, supported Obama down the stretch because the Republicans support the current ban on internet gaming. In 2009, the Democrats will have control of the House, the Senate and the Presidency. While online gaming is probably pretty far down on the priority list, there is a beam of hope for poker players. Crossing fingers!

On a more cheerful note! I watched Step Up 2 the Streets and 21 the last two days. Ha-ha. I should be ashamed of myself!! I thought Step Up 2 the Streets was kind of cute. Some of those dance moves and choreography were crazy! And 21 was entertaining. I will have to ask Andy Bloch about that someday. I know he was involved somehow with the MIT team. I will get some good stories out of him perhaps. Maybe I will post them on here for you guys.

I for one, stay away from the pits games!! That’s actually one of the dark secrets about the world of poker. How many of the players are truly gamblers!! Many of them cannot stay away from the pits. Craps, blackjack and baccarat. Or prop betting. So many times I’ve been at the Bellagio or somewhere else and noticed poker players gambling away there winnings. Some of my good friends will gamble on anything!! Usually it’s funny but the amounts they wager are sick amounts. Truly sick!!

Looking forward to this weekend by the way. I have a few parties to attend and lots of Poker Industry people are coming into town for the weekend. The Main Event of the WSOP will be played out on Sunday. I will keep everyone posted on anything interesting that happens over the weekend. Until then, Au Revoir!!

Picking up where I left off..

Sunday, November 2nd, 2008

I split my Halloween weekend between Las Vegas and Los Angeles. Yes. I started in Sin City and moved the party to the City of Angels! For starters, I partied at TAO nightclub on Friday night with some of my girlfriends.

The girls and I arrived at TAO around 11pm and proceeded to our table near the dance floor. I spotted some of my poker player friends as we arrived. Steve Sung, Nenad Medic and couple others had a table on the dance floor. I spent half of my night bouncing back and forth between the guys and girls. Lately, I’ve been spotting my poker player friends and acquaintances more off the felt than on the felt! I guess that is a sign I need to go play more.

The atmosphere at TAO was very festive. Everyone had on such great costumes. Lacey was a dead ringer for Uma Thurman in Pulp Fiction. Of course the club was packed and everyone had on such great costumes. What an interesting night! After a few hours I had my fill of fun and entertainment and decided to head home and rest up for my trip to Los Angeles the following day.

I almost didn’t make it to LA!! I turned on my computer to get some work done and the day just flew by. I had to text Shannon Elizabeth that evening and let her know I might be a little late to her party! Shannon texted me back and let me know it was never too late!! I ended up on the last flight out of Los Angeles and asked Maria Ho to pick me up since she lives in L.A. The two of us headed over to Shannon’s party and as expected, the party was packed. Everyone was still in the Halloween spirit. Most everyone was dressed in Halloween costumes.

When I arrived at the party, my girl Shannon came right over to say Hi and gave me a BIG hug. She looked great in her witch costume and was also a terrific hostess. Her party was a huge success and I look forward to coming back for more. I didn’t know that many people at the party but it was a good opportunity to get to know Maria a little better. Up until a few weeks ago I didn’t really know Maria at all. Most people might be familiar with Maria because she was the last woman player standing at the 2007 WSOP Main Event. Maria’s a real sweetheart, I’m glad I got to know her better.

Now it’s back to Las Vegas again. I have a very close friend visiting from out of town on Thursday and the Bluff Party at The Bank over the weekend.