Archive for March, 2011

Chilipoker Team in Paris for the Team Poker Cup

Friday, March 18th, 2011

My experiences with Paris in the past have not been the greatest. I always have problems, either with the hotel or flight or weather or everything! But with a positive attitude and outlook, I was set to go back to Paris this month for the Team Poker Cup at the Cercle Gaillon. This competition will happen between poker rooms and poker communities, each represented by three members, composed both by pros and amateurs.

As one of the rooms authorized by the authorities in FranceChilipoker will take part into this competition, represented by two professional players, and one amateur.

It didn’t start out that way, though. Haha. ;) I left Las Vegas on March 10th, and there were no problems with the flight. I also checked only one bag, so that was going to make things easier, or so I thought! I got off the plane, got my bag from baggage claim, and suddenly the airport security guys stop me and start asking questions. (Did I look like a terrorist? I didn’t think so!) When they asked me what I do for a living and I said that I was a professional poker player, that was it, they took me into a back room. They searched through all my bags, every single corner and edge of every bag, even running the bags - open with all of my belongings right there - through a scanner. Then he got to my computer bag and started to open the side zipped pocket, I was so annoyed that I said to him “stop!” Don’t open it, there’s sex tapes in there. (joking of course) Haha. :P I noticed the officer’s eyes suddenly lit up … Hmm I wonder why?

They still asked me questions, though. They wanted to know how much cash I had with me, so I told them about $7500 in USD and British Pounds. They counted everything and found some Euros and asked why I didn’t mention the Euros. I just told them I forgot, which was true. I was really irritated by the whole process, after about an hour they finally let me go.

I took a cab from the airport to my hotel, and the driver was acting a little strange. He kept trying to tell me to put my computer bag on the floor, but I didn’t want to put it there. He seemed really annoyed with me, and it wasn’t until I was on my way back to the airport at the end of my trip that I figure out why. That second cab driver explained to me that theft is big in Paris, and the cab drivers try to protect their fares by telling them to keep their luggage in a certain place. Oops! I wish my first driver had told me that! Even so, though, he was a little pissy, especially when I didn’t have the exact change for my ride. Oh well, I went into the hotel, and my room wasn’t ready so I had to wait. But when I did get my room, it was upgraded very nicely!

The next day was the tournament, and there were 20 teams of 3 people each for a total field of 60 people. It was a great event, actually! The team poker concept is a little different to me, but I had a lot fun with my Chilipoker.fr teammates Xavier Niel, CEO of Iliad, and Lionel Rozenberg. I was seated at the featured table for part of the day, which should be shown on European television when it airs on April 1st.

(Liz Lieu with Xavier Niel)

Everyone played pretty well, even the amateurs, but that meant that I didn’t get a ton of action. There was nothing I could do, it seemed, to get calls or raises when I had hands. For example, I had K-8 of diamonds in my blind, and when the UTG players raised 2x, I called. The flop of Q-8-3 gave me a pair, but we both checked. The 5 on the turn was a blank, so I checked hoping for him to bet so I could check-raise, but he checked. The Q came on the river, and I checked again hoping for a raise opportunity, but he just checked to me! I won it with my two pair but it was a pretty small pot.

I was on a table with a few French players who loved to gamble. Two of them were running good and really on a heater, and it seemed like they couldn’t lose. So I knew to stay out of their way. On one hand, player in seat 8 moved all-in for 2800 chips, I picked up AK and decided to call. The player to my left, who had a ton of chips, puts me all-in! I mucked because I knew how he was running, and he showed A-Q. The all-in player had pocket fives. The board was A-7-3-Q-2, and that would’ve put me out of the tournament, so I’m glad I trusted my read.

By the dinner break, Xavier was out, both Lionel and I were still in, both of us had about 10k left in chips . I went to dinner with Alex, Xavier, Lionel, Antoine Arnault and his sister Delphine. We had a lovely dinner and talked about everything from poker to shoes to fashion to handbags. It was a very nice distraction, and I’m always willing to talk about those topics! But then it was back to poker, and I ended up shoving the last of my stack 15 minutes after we returned with pocket nines, but my opponent had pocket aces. And that was the end of my tournament! It was a great time, though, and I was glad to be a part of it.

The weather in Paris was not pretty. It rained almost every day that I was there, but I still got out to see some of the sights in Paris. How could I pass up that chance?! I went to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe. I also did a little shopping along the Champs-Elysees and a famous outdoor mall that I can’t remember the name of! I packed a lot of sight-seeing and shopping into those couple of days I had left of my trip, but if it wasn’t raining so much, I would have liked to have seen more of the city, walked along the Seine, and more. But I did what I could, enjoyed Paris in a way I hadn’t before, and finally headed back to the United States. By the way, it was sunny on the day I caught my flight out of Paris!

Back in Vegas, I’ve been catching up on life and news. What is the deal with Charlie Sheen, everyone? I’m finding some of his videos and tweets pretty funny, and most other people seem to be entertained too. The “tiger blood” saying is funny, and I obviously like “winning!” :)

Speaking of winning, I’m SO ready for spring! One of the first places I went when I got back to Vegas was to Red Rock Canyon for some hiking. I enjoyed it so much that I’m going to hike about three times each week. I’m also in the mood for more outdoor activities, so I’m going to start thinking about other possibilities for exercising and clearing my mind in the spring months. Mostly, I’m feeling a happiness and calm these days. I believe some changes in my life are in order that will lead to a very positive year, and I’m starting to put those things in motion. It could get interesting! But it’s definitely going to be “winning!”

Cheers!

Where Does the Time Go?

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Where has everyone been? Haha, just kidding. I haven’t done a blog post since December, but time sure flies. It started out with the holidays - they always get hectic - and then between poker games and tournaments, a new cat, and a super busy work schedule, the time really just disappeared. But I’m back! ;)

January was mostly a blur, with lots of travel, work, and personal business to take care of. February was a time for me to play some poker but also take some personal time. Everyone needs time away from the internet, time to focus on the important things in life, and I did too. But February was also a time for some private poker games. Vegas doesn’t seem to have the games I’m looking for in the casinos, but with juicy private games, though, I certainly played a good amount of cash poker, which was nice.

I also participated in a great charity event on February 19. It was called Raise Your Hand for Africa, and it was hosted by the Starkey Hearing Foundation at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. I am so glad I attended! It was not only a great event to raise money for a good cause - and I met celebrities like Steve Martin, ’Mini Me’ Vern, and a handful of NFL Pro Player! - but I connected with the foundation. I found out that they took a trip to Vietnam in 2010 and gave hearing aids to thousands of kids, allowing them to hear sounds for the first time in their lives. And they’re going again this year, so I spoke to Starkey about their plans, and I’m going with them! I’ll be able to combine the trip that I wanted to take to deliver food and other help to the poor in Vietnam, and I can help Starkey donate hearing aids to children, too. I’ll have more details on that as we plan the trip.

After playing that poker tournament, I hopped on a flight back to Los Angeles for the WPT Invitational, which was the same night. I made it in time to play, though I busted out of the event on the first night.

A few days later, I played the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, which I play every year. Things started slowly, without much action at my first table. Lee Markholt was at my table, but I didn’t know many others. I had an up-and-down day that ended with 42,250 which was a little above average.

Day 2 started with an exciting table, one that included several good players like Nenad Medic, Joe Hachem, and a few others. I have to say that Joe is completely hilarious! He had our table laughing for so long. The best joke of the day came when he said that he figured out why the young kids wear glasses at the table…because they’re all high. Maybe you had to be there, but it was so funny! For poker, I started off the day with a big double-up. On the second hand, I woke up with pocket kings UTG, so I raised and got one caller. I checked the flop of K-J-8 with two diamonds on the board, but the guy bet 5K, and I just called. The turn was a 5, not a diamond, I checked, he bet 6500, and I raised to 15K, which he called. The J of diamonds on the river came, and I went all-in. He called with A-Q of diamonds, and I had a nice double-up to begin the day. I took a hit at the end of the night, though. With 35 minutes left to play, I looked down at pocket aces UTG. Wanting to make the most out of it with my table, I simply limped in so there was 4 of us in the hand. The flop came 9-9-2 rainbow, the blinds checked, but when I bet 2200, the BB made it 6800, and I called. It was heads-up, and the turn came 8. He bet 10K, and I called. The river was a blank, and he pushed all-in for 32K. I was pot-committed but thought I was beat, but he was new to the table and I didn’t have much of a read on him. As I was thinking about my decision, he called the clock on me after less than a minute! He was very nervous, even shaking, and I finally called. He showed 9-6 suited. Yuck, I lost 55K in that pot. Even so, I ended the day with 50,700.

(photo courtesy of Matt Waldron)

Day 3 was a tough one. I had no cards in the beginning of the day and aside from stealing a few blinds, I blinded off some of my chips and was down to 31K. Allen Cunningham joined the table and played his first hand. He raised it up to 6K, and when I looked down at K-Q in the BB, I shoved all-in. He called with pocket jacks, and I never improved on the blank board. I was out. It felt good to go so far in the event, but obviously it sucked to bust on Day 3 before the money.

What else is new with me? A few things…

I was informed in January that I won a great award. It was in the 2010 Maven Awards that the public voted for several categories. I was nominated in two and won the Humanitarian Award, which was great because I was up against Annie Duke and Linda Johnson, and both of them do a ton of charity work too. I am grateful for the award and recognition, even though I do all of my charity work each year for the people who benefit from it. But thanks to Woman Poker Player and the tens of thousands of people who voted in the awards!

I also wanted to mention a very cool, creative person I met a year ago who has the most positive energy. Her name is Gabriela Pomplova, and she’s an artist, yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and painter. A few media crew and poker players had approached me and asked about the cute necklace I recently bought from Gabriela that I wore through the LAPC, and I felt that it kept me in a good place no matter what the cards were.

Finally, I want to mention a couple of things that Chilipoker is doing. 2011 is going to be a big year! After a very successful first season of DeepStack Open tournaments around Europe and Morocco, they announced Season 2, which will have 7 stops - Costa Brava, Cannes, Marrakech twice, Paris, Malta, and Vienna. Buy-ins of €550 are the same as last year, but they will have cheaper side events and cash games at every stop. Players can still qualify on Chilipoker for all of the stops, and they can also get cheap flights and good hotel rates through DSO specials. Not only can players win their way into tournaments in some of the best locations in the world, but they have a chance to win a full DSO sponsorship for 2012 as part of the Chili DSO Team! The first stop is Costa Brava, Spain, and I hope to see you at one of the stops on the tour soon!

I’ll be going to Paris to play in the Team Poker Cup at the Cercle Gaillon. I’ll be playing with partner Xavier Niel, CEO of Iliad, and there will be 20 teams. It should be a real fun tournament.

March is going to be a busy month, but I’m going to try to keep my blog updated so you don’t think I fell off the face of the earth. ;)

Cheers!