Archive for September, 2010

Recovery & Back to the Tournament Trail

Wednesday, September 29th, 2010

The last week in London has not been a great one for me. I’m finally feeling better, but the week of food poisoning not only kept me from playing one of my absolute favorite events of the year (WSOPE) but even forced me into the hospital for a few days.

It all started early Wednesday morning, the day before my starting day for the World Series of Poker Europe Main Event. I was registered and ready to go. So, I went to bed on Wednesday night feeling absolutely normal but woke up after a few hours with serious pain in my stomach. I tried to lie there and hope it got better, but it only got worse, to the point that I was doubled over in pain and very afraid that something major was wrong. I called down to the front desk and asked them to call me an ambulance, and while I waited 2 hours for it to arrive, the hospital called me with a million questions to ask me on the phone. I was practically begging them to hurry with the ambulance while they were asking me my date of birth and lots of other information. When they finally arrived, they didn’t bring a gurney and forced me to walk downstairs and out to the ambulance. Then we sat in the ambulance on the cold London early morning – with the engine off! – as they asked me even more questions! That seemed to take another hour, and they finally decided to start up the vehicle and take me to the hospital.

The waiting time gets worse as we go through this story. I’m still shocked by it all.

Once in the emergency waiting room, I waited another hour to see a nurse and it took 2 hours from there to get someone to come in with painkillers. Unfortunately, they came in with pain pills and I told the nurse that taking pills would be impossible because I couldn’t keep anything down, so how could I take pills and not throw up? They finally decided to give me a shot of liquid painkiller, however to obtain this, most of my veins were poked and prodded for what seemed like eternity until they eventually found a suitable vein to inject the IV. I was pretty horrified by the difficulty that it took for the nurses to get in the IV line and my bruised arms are a testament!! After laying there for more than three hours, the pain didn’t get any better. The doctor, who looked like he couldn’t have been more than 21-years old, came in after taking x-rays and told me that all of the test results were negative. He thought it could be an ulcer but then again could also very likely be food poisoning, so he suggested I drink water with the instruction that if I became sick again I should return back without the added worry of waiting around for hours on end.

I did leave and went down the hall to buy medicine, but I was still doubled over in pain and decided to head back to the hospital. I demanded that they treat me because I was afraid to go home with such severe pains. That time, I waited about 5 hours to get a room, and even when I did get one, I was ignored until another doctor finally came to see me. They gave me lots of anti-nausea medication, which started to work, but they tried to feed me horrible hospital food which only made me sicker. I stayed a total of 3 days in the hospital, and when the doctor said I should be healed because nothing showed up on the tests, I finally was released to go home.

I have to say that I couldn’t believe the terrible medical system in London. It made me really appreciate the caring doctors and nurses and great facilities in the United States! Being sick away from Vegas where I’m most comfortable was bad enough, but having it happen in a hotel in London was even worse, but the medical care I received was the absolute worst part of it all.

I was also extremely disappointed to miss the WSOP Europe Main Event. After my deep run there last year, I was so excited to do even better this year. My mind was in a great place, and I was feeling good about my game. And I just love the structure of the WSOPE, so to miss it was a huge disappointment as I’ll never know what would’ve happened if I had actually played it.

I’m finally feeling a little better today, and I don’t want to miss another great tournament opportunity, so I’m going to play the EPT London on Thursday (Day 1B). I’m hoping to put all of this sickness behind me, try to eat some solid food today, and get ready for a long first day in the tournament.

Looking at the calendar, I see that it’s almost October. OMG! Where did September go?!? LOL. Anyway, that means that I’ll be heading to Vienna, Austria in less than two weeks to play in the Chilipoker Deepstack Open at the Montesino Casino in Vienna. The buy-in is only €550 for the Main Event, and we get 50,000 starting chips! There are two starting days – October 14 and 15 – and I’m not sure yet which one I’ll play, but I hope to see a lot of Chilipoker players there! Satellites are running on Chilipoker and giving players a chance to qualify for a lot less than the buy-in, so I’m sure there will be a lot of qualifiers there. And anyone else hanging out in Europe should head on over to play, too! 🙂 Hope to see you there!

Cheers!

Partouche Poker on the French Riviera

Sunday, September 5th, 2010

My whirlwind fall poker tour started with my trip to London, and it was nice to be back there to see friends. The weather was a big change from the heat of Vegas, but it was somewhat refreshing. The toughest part was that it was the first time I’d been so far away from Jace, but he’s being taken care of by a couple I’ve hired to be a full time live in pet-sitter while I’m gone, so he could get round-the-clock love and care. And I’m getting almost daily photos of him to make sure he’s okay. Yes, I obviously really miss him!

Sometimes, the poker tournament circuit takes me to amazing places. Cannes is one of them. The beach city in the South of France is just breathtaking! I was here last year and took some time to be a tourist and see the city, and though I got out a little this year, I was busy with work and trying to get in the right mindset for the Partouche Poker Tour stop here. But I’ve been jet lagged for more than a week and haven’t been able to get over it, so sleeping each night (or morning!) has been a bit of a problem.

I played Day 1B, and the fields were pretty massive. There were over 750 people in the tournament altogether! I sat down at my first table with some well-known players like Jean-Robert Bellande and Antony Lellouche. Things started out well, as I took down several good-sized pots during the first level. In one of them, I had pocket nines, and they held up on a board of K-K-7-6-3 when my opponent in Seat 3 with A-8 kept betting, and I just smooth called all the way through. Took some small pots too and ended Level 1 with more than 40K.

(photo courtesy of Jean-Robert Bellande)

Things leveled out from there, and I just maintained my stack over the next few levels, increasing in little spurts. We took a dinner break for 90 minutes, which was a good amount of time to enjoy an amazing French dinner overlooking the sea. Beautiful! I came back to the tables refreshed, but I couldn’t get much going. By the end of Level 5, I still had 42K, which is still plenty of chips to work with. However, in Level 6, it all fell apart. I had pocket sevens under the gun and raised 1K. I only got a call from the small blind, and the flop came 8-7-5. A set for me! The action on the flop started with the small blind checking, I bet 1500, small blind raise 4k, I re-raised another 10k, small blind re-raises but didn’t put in enough chips so the dealer had to stop the action and call the floor over to make a ruling which took about 5 mins, at this point I was already pot committed so I didn’t have to think much with my decision, I pushed all-in, and my opponent called. The pot was big – about 100K, but he turned over pocket eights for the higher set. The turn and river were blanks, and I was out.

(photo courtesy of Hugues ‘Def’ Fournaise)

Funny thing (not really) about busting from a tournament. It doesn’t matter where you are, even somewhere as amazing as Cannes; a bustout with set over set hurts just as bad as anywhere else. Ouch.

So much for the Partouche Poker Tour! I plan on staying here and try to enjoy Cannes for a few more days, then back to London again for the WSOPE tournament.

Cheers!