Archive for April, 2010

Breezing Through Monte Carlo

Wednesday, April 28th, 2010

After San Remo, a change of scenery was necessary for several reasons before playing the EPT Monte Carlo. Not only did I need to get back to London to check on my lovely cats, who I missed greatly, but I had some business to attend to. Luckily, the volcanic ash problem subsided, and when flights resumed, I was able to book a flight from Nice to London. And though I was only home for a few days, it was wonderful to get my bearings, exercise a bit, and get in the right mindset for the next tournament.

I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to let things go in poker and recharge. Bustouts can be disappointing and discouraging, but one has to chalk it up to experience the swings of the game, get that loss out of the brain, and power up for the next one. Luckily, I had the chance to do that before flying back over to Monte Carlo, where I checked into my hotel, relaxed a little more, and prepared to play the EPT Grand Finale.

I chose to play Day 1B, the second starting day of the event. It was a spectacular turnout for the season-ending EPT tournament, and the whole field was 848 players, all putting up the €10K to enter and making for an event that would award €1.7 million to the winner. That is a tough number to get out of your head! And I didn’t want to, as it’s added motivation.

I took my seat at Table 2 and went on to have a very up-and-down day. It was tough to keep my Twitter friends updated as there were internet issues, but take my word that it was a hard to gain any momentum throughout the day. I started with 30K in chips and had only 17K left when Level 8 started. And things got worse from there when I doubled up an opponent with A-K versus A-Q after getting it all-in after an all-small flop. The queen came, and I was down to 4K. But the very next hand, I was able to get it all-in with pocket queens, got called by the big blind, and I doubled up to around 9K. Soon after, I woke up with kings and doubled through Katja Thater with pocket queens, which put me at 16,500. I climbed from there and ended the day with 33,900 chips. Not a bad comeback!

(photo courtesy of

Day 2 started with a few hundred players. I waited for the right moment and doubled up in Level 11 by pushing all-in with pocket kings on a Q(h)7(h)6(d) flop. My opponent had pocket jacks, and I hit a king on the turn to make the set and secure the double-up. But from there on out, I couldn’t get much going. Finally, with a 49k chip stack, I moved all-in with pocket nines preflop, and I was called by A-K. The flop was blank. The turn was blank. But an ace fell on the river!

That was that, and I was out of the tournament with only 253 players remaining and 128 paid. Frustrating!

(photo courtesy of ClubPoker)
(photo courtesy of Partouche)
(photo courtesy of Pokerlistings)

With a couple days left in Monte Carlo, I’ll take the time to get some work done and maybe enjoy the beachfront hotel and Riviera sights. But I’ll be ready to get back to London soon to attend a couple business meetings, get some rest, get back on my diet and exercise plan, and put things together for my trip back to Las Vegas for the start of the World Series in May.


Rough Ride in San Remo

Sunday, April 18th, 2010

As I mentioned in my last blog post, the travel involved in getting to San Remo was tough with some of the trains not running, last-minute bus rides, and many hours on the road. Once I arrived, it was hard to settle in and accomplish much because the internet was constantly going down. I was even willing to go buy an air card for my computer but couldn’t get online long enough to do an internet search for a location of where to buy the air card!

Between that and handling some unpleasant business, and trying to do some work, it was tough to get into a positive mindset for the EPT San Remo Main Event. I skipped the welcome party because I was still exhausted from the travel and had too much to do. And I even had trouble registering for the tournament because I walked all the way over the casino to register and found that the registration cage was closed until later in the day, though they couldn’t tell me when it would be open. I tried to channel all of the meditation methods I could to calm myself.

Finally, I registered and showed up to play on Day 1B. The field was huge, and it set a record for the EPT Europe events as the biggest one ever with 1,240 entries. Pressure switch on, I ready to play!

(photo courtesy of

It was a slow start to the day, but I stayed focused and worked my way from my 30K starting stack to 48K by the end of Level 2. At one point, I looked down at pocket queens and played them against a very loose player. The pot was raised and reraised preflop, and after the board came 2-Q-2-8-6, I took it down with my full house and added 12,400 chips to my stack. Wheee!

But the 65,000 count during Level 3 was the high point of the day. It took only about 20 minutes before playing my pocket kings against an opponent’s 7(c)8(c), and that player got two clubs on the flop and another on the river to hit the flush. I lost 26K on that pot. A half hour later, I went into battle with 10(h)6(h) against the J-10 of the same player. My check-call on the 4-10-3 flop led to both of us checking the 10 on the turn. When the ace hit on the river, I bet 2,200, my opponent made it 6,100, and I called. Not nice!

(photo courtesy of Pokernews)

Toward the end of the night, I doubled up when I hit my flush, which beat my opponent’s trip deuces. And I ended the day with 58,400, slightly above the average of 55,042. I survived a very up-and-down day and went back to my hotel to rest.

I started Day 2 with a positive attitude but no cards. I took my seat and got the BB the very first hand. Level 10, Blinds at 600-1200, Ante 100. I picked up pocket 3’s and immediately got into action in a HU pot against Markus Lehmann (on button position) who raised 3,500 preflop, I called. With around 7,500 in the pot, flop came 10(h)-6(c)-2(s)-9(d)-J(c), I checked flop, Markus bet 4,000, I check raised to 10,000. Markus thought for awhile before making a flat call. We both checked on the turn with the 9(d). I checked again on the river. Markus bets out 14,000, I took some to think before making the call putting him on either AQ or AK. My read was spot on correct! Markus turned over AQ (no pair). My pocket 3’s took down the first pot. Wheee …..

(photo courtesy of PokerItaliaWeb)

Literally, I went completely card dead right after the first hand I played until I busted out eight hours later. I had nothing to work with, lost chips slowly, and finally busted with only 207 players left in the tournament out of the 1,240 who started it. Sure, I survived longer than the vast majority of the field and came fairly close to the money. But it’s tough to run so deep and be eliminated after putting up a strong fight.

(photo courtesy of Pokernews)

For now, I plan to get out and enjoy a little of the sights and sounds of San Remo. In a few days, I’ll head over to Monaco for the EPT Monte Carlo Grand Final, which I’m very excited to play. I’ll update more in the days to come.


Smooth Travel is Not an Option!

Wednesday, April 14th, 2010

I don’t know what the problem is. Maybe I was a very bad train conductor in a past life? Maybe I angered the travel gods by bringing too much luggage? I may never find the answer. 😉 ha!

It was supposed to be simple. I was going to the train station in Aix-en-Provence to catch a train to Nice. Though there was a strike among train workers, some trains were running, and I was told I could buy a ticket when I went to the train station on April 13. And that’s where the problems began.

My travel friend, Liv Boeree, and I arrived at the Aix TGV station, where we were told that no trains were running from there, so we should go to Marseille to catch a train. So we went back to the city by bus, and then we caught another bus to the Marseille train station. From where the bus dropped us off, we had to walk up a massive hill to get to the station, and I had serious luggage with me. Mine, I think, weighed about 65 pounds, and I wheeled my luggage for a short distance before Liv kindly offered to switch luggages as hers was a lot smaller and lighter, so she took over mine and wheeled it uphill the rest of the way. At that TGV station, we were also told that no trains were running. Seriously? Zero communication between the stations. So we were told to catch a bus to Nice, though we had to wait three hours for that bus. Once we finally got on it, we’re looking out the windows and thinking that everything looks rather familiar. Oh, that was because we were going back through Aix! We went all the way back to the Casino in Aix-en-Provence because the bus needed to pick up more passengers. From there, it took two hours by bus to reach the Nice airport.

Funny bus story. Sitting in the back of the bus for the entire trip made me car sick. That’s not really funny, but I thought I’d share. It was such a fun day that just kept getting better!

When we arrived at the Nice airport, we caught a cab, and the ride that took more than an hour finally got us to San Remo. A trip that was supposed to take about 2-3 hours ended up taking more than ten. Liv was dropped at her hotel first, then I was taken to mine. By the time I checked in and put down my luggage, I was exhausted! I did try to get on the internet to check a few things, but the internet wasn’t working at the time, and I didn’t have one ounce of patience left. It didn’t take long for me to pass out and sleep for quite awhile.

One of the most frustrating things about the horrible travel day was the inability to really enjoy the countryside or the sights as we traveled. France is so beautiful, especially the regions we traveled through, but it was so mentally and physically draining that I wasn’t able to soak it in as I would have liked.

But, I’m in San Remo. And despite having to get some work done and deal with a couple business matters, I’ve taken a few moments to take in the view from my wrap-around balcony here. It is absolutely gorgeous to be in this little Mediterranean city in Italy and to see the sea from my room.

Also, on the bright side, the EPT San Remo doesn’t start until the 16th, which gives me time to rest up, get back to a good mindset, and even see some of the sights in this town before the tournament begins.

Hopefully, I’ll be bringing you some great updates from the tournament when it begins later this week.


My Great Start, Bad Ending at the Chilipoker Deepstack Open

Saturday, April 10th, 2010

A couple days ago, I headed off to France for the Chilipoker Deep Stack Open. I was very excited not only to get to the tables but to spend some time with my Chili friends. It was sad to leave London because I knew I would miss my cats – Moyo and Byni – terribly, but I knew they would be well taken care of in my absence. And I had been looking forward to this France/Italy/Monaco tournament excursion for some time. I headed to the airport with so much energy, feeling amazingly positive mentally and physically. I haven’t felt this great in years!

(Moyo & Byni)

The airplane ride was followed by a car ride to the Pasino d’Aix-en-Provence, and my team and I were very excited to walk in to the warm welcome by casino staff and players. Everyone was excited about the event, and I simply couldn’t wait to get on the felt.

I had a very solid start to the tournament. My positive energy was flowing, and I grabbed 20K in chips on the first hand I played! I thought it was a sign of things to come, but in fact it was a very up-and-down day. I lost 5,500 chips on the second hand I played, and then I lost a big one. It started with my pocket aces. I raised to 300 preflop and got four callers to see the 4(h)2(h)10(c) flop. I bet out 2,000, and Seat 3 was the only caller. The turn produced the Q(c) and I bet 5,000. Seat 3 check-raised to 13,700, and I called. The river brought the K(c) and Seat 3 pushed out 19,000 with only approximately 6,000 behind. With the clubs on the board, I decided to muck but the player turned over a little pocket pair of threes. Doh!

(photos courtesy of Jules Pochy)

But I didn’t let it get me down. I was ready to play, ready to gamble, and I kept my positive attitude going. By the end of Level 2, I rebuilt my stack to 38K. And by the end of Level 4, I was up to 57K, simply by executing a couple of key check-raises and winning some pots. Then I woke up to pocket kings. There was a lot of action going to the 5(c)6(s)8(c) flop, at which point Seat 1 bet 8,500 and I moved all-in. Seat 1 called, and I had him covered. He showed pocket queens, and the rest of the board blanked. I busted the player for 32K, and I was up over 85K.

(photos courtesy of Jules Pochy)

Not long after that, I got into a bit pot with another player. I had 10(s)7(s) and put in 5,000 preflop. We both checked the A-10-2 flop, and when the 7 hit on the turn, I bet 8,000. The player called, and the 3 came on the river. I bet 20,000 with my two pair, and the player called with pocket kings. My two pair were good, and I was up to about 110,000. My exact word on Twitter was BoYakKaSha!

(photo courtesy of Jules Pochy)

A little later, I lost a 55K pot when my A-J flopped a jack, and I got involved with another player all the way through the river on a J-7-9-5-7 board to find out he had pocket queens. Oh well, I accumulated a few more chips and still had 83K when the average was around 60K. But then, the big pot went down. I started with 9-8 and hit two pair on the 3(h)8(h)9(c) flop. I got all my chips in against A(h)3(h) and the flush draw. That flush didn’t make it, but the K(c) and A(c) cards gave him the higher two pair. That 220K pot hurt. Bad.

My last 45K went all-in four hands later when I looked down at pocket fives. The Seat 3 player called with K(h)10(h) and flopped a ten. My fives never improved, and I was out of the tournament after thirteen hours of play on Day1.

Overall, I was happy with my performance in the tournament with the exception of the last key hand. Could I have made a better read on the pocket fives? Sure. But I have to remember that it is poker, and one bad play can destroy an entire day of good plays. For most of the day, my reads were right on, and I felt that I was in the groove.

What to do now? Heading back to the casino today to play a couple side events. Explore the beautiful region of Provence and do some shopping! I’m going to enjoy the rest of my stay here until I leave on Tuesday for San Remo, Italy. I can’t wait to play in the European Poker Tour event there, and I’m really looking to make a solid run there before heading to Monte Carlo for the EPT Grand Final.

I wish the best of luck to everyone still playing the Chilipoker Deepstack Open! It would be fun to see an internet qualifier take it down for only a few Euros invested. It should be an exciting finish to the tournament. And I’ll see some of you in San Remo next week!


Happy Easter!

Sunday, April 4th, 2010

I just wanted to take a moment today to wish everyone a happy day! Whether you celebrate Easter in a religious way or enjoy a day with a family get-together or simply organize an Easter egg hunt and eat up the goodies that the Easter Bunny brought this morning, it can be a fun holiday to celebrate. And no matter what, it’s a good opportunity to take a moment to contact those of importance in your life and tell them that you love them.

I spent my Easter in the company of two very loving, sweet cats – Moyo and Byni, who have brought so much joy to me in London. There is no love like that of a furry companion. 🙂

London is treating me well but I’m anxious to head to France in a few days for the Chilipoker Deepstack Open. I feel like I’m in top-notch shape physically and mentally, as the diet and exercise plan has been tough but beneficial. But day after day of rain can be a little depressing, so I’m hoping for some real spring sunshine and warmth in France!

As a side note, I just heard about the earthquake in Baja, California. It was a 6.9, which is pretty major! I’ve been checking the internet for updates, and I can’t find any reports of damage, though people seem to have felt the quake and its aftershocks all the way from Los Angeles to Phoenix. Sending good thoughts to my friends in that area today!

Happy Easter to everyone!