Archive for June, 2010

Time for a Poker Break

Saturday, June 12th, 2010

I’m not going to lie. This has been a tough WSOP so far. I’ve only made one Day 2 and haven’t yet made it into the money in any of the seven events I’ve played. There are a few things going on in my personal life that have distracted me, the most important being my cat, Jace, who is dealing with some major health problems. In addition to giving him medicine, taking him to the vet often, and dealing with his sickness and irregular sleep, I’m worried about him constantly, which weighs heavy on me. I know he can heal, but it’s taking a lot of time and care to get him there.

Excuses? I have them. But am I giving up on the WSOP? No!

Let’s get the last two tournaments recapped, even though I kinda want to forget about them! 😉

Event 18 was the $2K limit hold’em tournament, and as I’ve said before limit is my game. So, I started that day by working hard, though at the end of Level 2, I only had 5,600 chips, less than I started with, because I lost a big pot earlier in the level. That hand was brutal. Luckily, blinds were only at 75/150. I picked up pocket kings under the gun and raised. A woman in Seat 9 reraised to 225, Seat 1 tried to call 150 not realizing it was 225, but he did call. Seat 3 also called. I reraised and they all called. The flop was 6-5-2. I bet, Seat 9 raised, Seat 1 called, I reraised, Seat 9 reraised. I ended up capping it, and they both called. The turn was the 8. I bet and they both called. The river was a 6. I just checked there but Seat 1 bet, and we both call. Seat 1 showed 6-7 and then said he never would have called if he knew it was 3 bets to him! Sigh. He won the pot.

(photo courtesy of Pokerlistings.com)

But I grinded my way back up. At the same time, Tom “durrrr” Dwan was seated at my table, and it was funny to see the tweets that came back at me when I wrote that because I’m actually happy when I have a tough table! It keeps me focused on my game and gives me more to think about with each hand. My bad luck had nothing to do with him, it was just that no matter how much I grinded and got chips, I’d lose them in one hand. For example, I took Ac-Kc into battle with Seat 8, and I hit big on a Jc-10c-8h flop. The Ks turn gave me that pair of kings, but the 6h on the river didn’t give me the flush or straight. Seat 8 won it with pocket tens that flopped the set. Ouch.

(photo courtesy of Pokerlistings.com)

The 90-minute dinner break was good because I had to drive home to give Jace his medicine, but it also left me a little sad to leave him and exhausted from rushing on the break and not having time to eat much of anything. I still came back with a good attitude, though, and finished the night with 22,300 chips. Out of 478 players, there were 110 left, and the average stack was 26,000. Day 2!

I went back the next day and didn’t last too long. My bustout hand was tough. I had Qh-10s in the big blind and called Bob Lauria’s raise from the small blind. The flop was Qs-9c-4h, and he bet, I raised, he called. The 10d on the turn gave me two pair, so when he checked, I bet, and when he raised, I reraised all-in. Bob called with Ks-Jc for the turned straight. The river blanked, and I was gone. There were 80-something players still in, but I wasn’t one of them. SO frustrating.

Early on Friday, I was upset to have a cough and sore throat. Seriously? Maybe I’m running myself down, but a cold for myself on top of everything else? Oh well, I took some medicine and focused on playing the 5pm start of Event 23, which was the $2,500 short-handed LHE. I was super excited about the six-handed tourney!

I felt good, except for the cold symptoms, going into it but took a hit in the first level when I took my pocket eights on through a flop of A-7-5. My opponent had 9-2 and called…and caught a 9 on the turn. Okay. Fine. I moved on. By the end of Level 2, I had 5,400, which was not ideal but I could work with it.

What I couldn’t work with was my last hand. I had Qd-9d, and four of us went to a Q-9-A flop. Not bad! I was all-in when the turn was a 7, but the player who called me had A-7. Nothing on the river helped me, and I was eliminated. My tweet about it said, “This calls for a BREAK…!!”

And I was right. Working so hard with nothing to show for it is tough to take on an emotional and physical level. But I’m not giving up! No way. It’s not what I do. I don’t know how to quit. But what I am doing is taking a day or two to relax. I have to clear my mind, work on my meditation, talk to some friends, and hang around the condo with Jace. All of that will help me focus so I can get back to the tables with a smile on my face and positive feelings about the tournaments. There are plenty more tournaments to go, and I’ll be ready to attack them very soon!

Cheers!

Lucky 8 Magazine Cover & Another Fast WSOP Event

Wednesday, June 9th, 2010

Let’s get to the positive things first, shall we?

I’ve been asked to be on the cover of Lucky 8 Magazine, a casino and gaming publication that wanted to do a feature story on my life and career in the poker industry. But most importantly, they want to focus on my charity work, which I’m glad they’re doing because it will hopefully inspire more people – in and out of poker – to give back as much as possible. I haven’t seen the final article, and the publication won’t be out for at least a month or so, but I’ve been working with them on the cover photo and finishing up the interview process. I can’t wait to see it!

Jace is still struggling with his infections, but I have so much faith that he is on his way to recovery. I’m sure I’ve said this before, but he has the sweetest, most loving personality, and despite all that he’s going through, he stays in good spirits most of the time. I just adore him. Can you tell? 😉

Actually, I adore him so much, and I’m so glad that I rescued him (I can’t even think of how sick he would be without the vet care he’s gotten recently) that I want to go back to the shelter and rescue another cat. I’m going to wait until Jace is all better and completely healthy first, but I’m already thinking about finding a female friend for him and another sweet addition to my home.

On to poker news, I played in Event 17 on Tuesday, which was the $5,000 NLHE event. I started in good spirits, but on my first hand in the big blind, I got involved with K-10 and three other players. The flop came Ah-Jd-Qc, then the 6h turn and Jc river. My opponent had pocket aces and rivered the full house to my flopped straight! I lost 10K in chips and was kinda disgusted by that hand. It didn’t take too long for me to push in the big blind with pocket queens. Guess what the caller had? Pocket kings. Of course he did! The board was 7-6-3-J-blank, and I was out.

The only good part of the day was going home to Jace, who didn’t care what happened in the tournament but let me tell my stories anyway!

I plan to play Event 18 on Wednesday. It’s the $2K limit hold’em, and since limit is my strong game… Wish me luck!

Cheers!

Only a Few Events into the 2010 WSOP

Saturday, June 5th, 2010

That is a positive way to think about it, right? Only a fraction of the WSOP events have taken place, and I’ve only played a few of them. There are many weeks and tournaments left to go, and things have to get better. 🙂

Before I get into my last two tournaments, I want to say thanks to everyone who has asked about Jace, my rescue cat and love of my life. He is still struggling with several infections, and we’re making frequent trips to the cat specialist to try to get his medication right and get him healthy. For now, though, he’s still sick, not always comfortable, and doesn’t sleep through the night. That means my sleep patterns have been off, and I can’t help but be worried about him. That’s not an excuse for why I haven’t gone deep in any WSOP events, but it definitely plays a part when my mind is on Jace at all times.

On Thursday, I played Event 9, the $1,500 Pot-Limit Hold’em tournament. I was actually feeling very good about that one, somewhat rested and comfortable at the table. Several players at my table were not there at the start of action, so it was Fabrice Soulier, me, and four other players. That table went okay, but when I got moved, I had Yevgeniy Timoshenko and a bunch of other tough, young players at my table. I slowly made my way up in chips, starting with several double-ups. But then I lost more than 8K with A-Q under the gun versus A-J, and the board came A-J-6-K-7. That left me with 2,200. Ugh.

Then I looked down at A-4 in the small blind and limped in. The big blind checked. When the flop came A-Q-10, I checked, the big blind bet 350, I raised to 1,100, and the big blind moved all-in. I called with my top pair, but he showed K-J for the flopped straight. Turn and rivers were blank, and I was gone. I lasted more than four hours in that tournament but left before the dinner break. Very discouraging.

The next day, I drove back over the Rio for the 5pm $1,500 limit hold’em tournament. Limit has always been my specialty, so I was looking forward to it. But I happened to get seated at a table where a guy decided to take his shoes off during the beginning levels. Smelly, gross feet to start the tournament? Yuk! The only good thing to come out of that was that when I tweeted it, I got some hilarious responses. My twitter friends are funny!

(photo courtesy of Pokernews.com)

As for the cards, they weren’t funny at all. I was running bad and down to 1,300 when I got back from the dinner break. I lasted almost another two hours on the short stack but finally pushed with pocket eights, but my opponent had pocket kings. The flop was 7-8-9 for the set! But the king came on the turn to give my opponent a better set. I was gone.

Now it’s definitely time to take a few days off. I planned on it anyway because the next event on my schedule isn’t until June 8, but I do need this time to do some relaxing, meditation, and positive thinking. I know there’s a lot more of the WSOP left to go, and I’ll be ready! After a couple days of peace and no bad beats, that is. 🙂

Cheers!

Nominated for Two Poker Maven Awards, What an Honor!

Wednesday, June 2nd, 2010

Poker Maven Awards

When I found out about this, I was very humbled. I never do charity work for the recognition but occasionally it does feel good to get a pat on the back. And I feel very honored. I started doing charity work in Vietnam when my Father moved back six years ago. I started travelling there more often and I had an opportunity to see firsthand, how many people were suffering in my homeland and it broke my heart to see so many people suffering. It feels really good to help people who suffer through poverty, tragedy, and natural disasters at no fault of their own. I have been extremely fortunate and blessed in my life, and it only made sense for me to give back.

When Maryann Morrison of Woman Poker Player Magazine contacted me to let me know I was nominated for an award because of my charity work, I was overwhelmed. She told me that two other women were also up for the award; Annie Duke and Linda Johnson were also nominated in the same category. Annie and Linda do a great deal of work for organizations that matter to them, and seeing the poker community give back like they do is inspiring. I’m extremely happy to be in the same category with such outstanding humanitarians.

Then I see the news that I’ve also been nominated for “Outstanding Professional Player of 2009.” Wow!! I’m in that category with Kathy Liebert and Vanessa Rousso, both top players in the world of poker. Being in this category also means a great deal to me, because I really had an opportunity to focus more on Poker in 2009. In 2009, I fulfilled my two-year promise to my father after his passing in 2007, and I felt like I was finally at peace with poker and life, and this allowed me to play much better poker. And most importantly, playing well enables me to give back more to the charities I support.

The purpose of the Maven Awards is to acknowledge the many great females in Poker. Maryann Morrison, the managing editor of Woman Poker Player Magazine had this to say, “I am very excited about the potential of the awards to heighten the profile of women in poker, as well as having the industry start thinking about making additional efforts to cater to the women who enjoy poker,” she said. “As we have seen already this year, more women are winning major tournaments then ever before. I hope many people submit their votes to show their support for the accomplishments of the nominees.”

Of course, I would be honored to win either or both of the categories that I’m nominated for. The award would mean a great deal to me, personally and professionally. But I also want to make this known because I’m humbled and honored to be included in such a contest. I want to bring additional attention to the Maven Awards. But to be honest, just knowing that my charity work is noted and recognized, and might inspire others to do the same type of work, warms my heart. Feel free to vote if you think I deserve either award. Voting is open now and can be made at mavenawards.com until September 30th, 2010. Further details on the presentations of the awards will be announced once they are available.

Cheers!