Posts Tagged ‘lifestyle’

Feed the Children

Friday, August 6th, 2010

The relaxation after the World Series of Poker has been wonderful. 🙂

It’s hard to even realize how tough the WSOP grind can be until it’s over. Suddenly, you don’t have a tournament to race to, you’re not spending thousands of dollars every few days on a tournament, and you’re not fighting every germ you come into contact with. It’s always fun to play a lot of poker and see friends that you don’t see most of the year, but the rest period after it’s all over is very calm and centering.

In the last few weeks, I did take a break from Las Vegas to visit some friends in Los Angeles, and I even got to spend some time shopping, partying, among many other things with my very close girlfriend Shannon Elizabeth. And it was then that I made a decision about where I’m going to spend some time in the next few weeks.

Nicaragua!

I was considering doing some charity work in Vietnam, but when Shannon talked to me about her upcoming trip to Nicaragua for Feed the Children, I was so excited to make the trip with her. I’ll get back to Vietnam in the next few months, I’m sure, but this new adventure gives me the chance to help other people in need as well. We’re going on an aid mission for this nonprofit organization, and we’ll be helping children by providing food and clean water, helping create shelters, and giving them other supplies that they don’t have. It’s something most of us take for granted, but many children don’t even have food in their lives every day. Shannon is no stranger to doing charity work, and I figure that both of us together can do some great things!

(photo courtesy of FeedtheChildren.org)

Another exciting thing about this trip is that Associated Television International is working with Feed the children to shoot a documentary about this trip. This 60-minute documentary will give people a first-hand look at our experience, seeing the poverty and helping make their lives a little better. But the major point of the documentary will be to show the rest of the world what kinds of problems exist in these parts of the world and what needs to be done to help.

For more information about Feed the Children and how you can help, visit www.FeedTheChildren.org.

And I leave in a few days! I’ve got my shots to prevent me from getting any of the local diseases… Ouch! I hate getting shots! But I know it’s all for the right reasons. I’m so looking forward to doing this project and getting involved in helping the people of Nicaragua.

Thanks for all of the recent birthday wishes, as it really made my day even more wonderful! The most precious gift I received, in addition to the love from everyone, was this lovely Lakshmi statue and some meditation items from Shannon. So sweet! After she helped me schedule an immediate appointment for Jace to see her vet to handle a problem with his breathing, which turns out to be asthma, we ended up going out to dinner for sushi that night. Shannon was so considerate on my birthday, understanding that I wanted to keep it low-key, even though she surprised me with good friends Tracy Wagner and Matt Mazzant showing up to dinner! It was a wonderful birthday, and big thanks to the three of them for making it extra special!

I think this year is going to be a good one for me, and once I get back from Central America, I’ll be preparing to get back to poker with the first few events in Europe. It should be an interesting few months, and I’ll keep you updated as best I can!

Cheers!

Next Steps Await

Wednesday, July 21st, 2010

I’m finally winding down from the WSOP. It was certainly a frustrating Series for me, but I have to admit that following the updates for the Main Event was pretty exciting. Sure, it’s always tough when we, as poker players, are not still in the tournament, but when the November Nine gets close, it’s fun to keep up with the live reporting. And now, a final table with Michael ‘The Grinder’ Mizrachi? How great is that? I can’t wait to see how it all plays out in November! A Big Congrats to ‘The Grinder’!

I do want to take a minute to thank everyone at the WSOP for the improvements this year and making everything convenient, roomy, and smooth. (Can I just suggest that the air conditioning be turned down a bit next year? It was freezing in that Pavilion Room some days! Brrr!) And thanks to all of the reporters and photographers who told the story of poker for seven weeks and worked their butts off! Go home and get some rest, people. 😉

Chilipoker has just announced a new addition to the team. I’d liked to welcome Rohin Malhotra (former CEO of WorldPokerTour) who will be joining our Management Team starting Sept 1, 2010. He brings diverse experience across global media and gaming markets and will play a key role in helping develop Chilipoker internationally, establishing media, telecom, and casino partnerships in regulated and new markets. Glad to have him aboard.

I’ve had almost two weeks to rest up after the tournaments, and I’m starting to feel like things are back to normal again. Jace is doing great, and though he still requires medication, he’s feeling so much better and even more loving of a cat than he was before! I appreciate all of the positive thoughts and feelings sent our way this summer.

So, what do I do now? There are quite a few decisions I need to make in the coming days and weeks. I have several options of places to go. First is Vietnam, as I always find peace in the praying ceremony for my dad and doing the charity work that allows me to give back to my country and people who are suffering. (Side note: If I don’t do that now, I will arrange a trip before the end of the year.) Second, is Kenya because I’ve been wanting to go on a wild safari trip for about three years but haven’t found the time. Being adventurous and seeing a different part of the world might be great for me right now. And lastly is India because of my meditation and search for peaceful places. Spending some time in India would help my meditation techniques and give me the time to be more spiritual, where no one knows me and I can simply focus on the tranquility that I need in my life.

Let me know what you think! I have to make those travel plans in the coming days and weeks, so any input would be helpful.

For now, I’m going to hold off on setting my full tournament schedule, though my next tournaments will be the WSOP Europe, EPT London, and Chilipoker’s WPT Marrakech events. Now it’s all about relaxation and getting in a more peaceful frame of mind. I hope everyone else has settled down from the WSOP and enjoying your summers!

Cheers!

Hello, Vegas!

Thursday, May 13th, 2010

Since Monte Carlo, I’ve been relaxing in London. The last few tournaments I played were rather frustrating, so I needed to do some meditation and find my happy place again. 🙂

The last few weeks in London have been very tranquil. Sure, I took care of some business and put some things in motion with my attorneys, but I made a big effort not to work too much. I spent a lot of time with my cats, did a lot of jogging, bicycling, and other exercising, and I got back to my healthy diet. All of those things do wonders for the mind as well as the body; it’s really true! I’ve been getting in a good mindset for the upcoming WSOP as I will be grinding in quite a number of events this year.

I did return to Las Vegas this week, and though I’m suffering from jet lag, I immediately headed out to the SPCA (Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals), a no-kill shelter that houses tons of animals. I was specifically looking at the older cats, as kittens often are the first to get adopted and those cats that are a few years old wait longer for families. As I was sitting in the room with so many cats (wanting to adopt a bunch of them!), one captured my heart right away. He is an ginger/white short-haired tabby, about four years-old, with the most loving and gentle personality.

During the time I spent with him, there was another gray female cat who kept hissing at him, even trying to attack him for no reason, but my loving boy just looked at the other cat, looked away, and went back to resting. What a great disposition! We bonded instantly, which made the decision quite easy. I filled out all the paperwork, then took my adopted handsome boy to his new home.

I gave him a new name, Jace, which means Healer, for several reasons. One is that pets are naturally healing; they’re so calm and unconditionally loving that their presence seems to heal almost anything. Two is that he came to me with an upper respiratory infection/virus, which means I have to nurse him back to health. But he’s a Healer, and I just know he’ll be fine.

As far as poker goes, I’ll be laying low until the World Series of Poker begins in a few weeks. It’s coming up so quickly! I’m not exactly sure which events I’ll be playing as of yet, but I’m going to work that out in the next week or so when I have time to take a closer look at the schedule. But I will be at the Rio… I hear that it’s the “Year of the Woman” so I guess it’s my time to participate in that, right? 😉

Hope to see many of you at the WSOP this summer! And in the meantime, make a visit to your local animal shelter if you can. There are so many loving, incredible animals there that could use homes.

Cheers!

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 Pokerpt.com)

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.

Cheers!

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 ItaliaPokerClub.com)

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.

Cheers!

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.

Cheers!

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!

Cheers!

Friends, Relaxation, and Poker!

Monday, March 29th, 2010

I was running quite well there for awhile, posting blog entries every few days… And then I got to Europe! Yes, we do have internet access over here – LOL – but I’ve been so busy soaking up the atmosphere that I haven’t posted for two weeks. Now that I’ve confessed, let’s move on, shall we. 😉 hehe

So, when I left Vegas two weeks ago, I headed straight for London, but that stay was short-lived, as all I had time to do was drop off my luggage and get back to the airport. I took a short flight to Malta for one day. Why such a short time? To surprise a friend!

Feliciana is the finance director for Chilipoker and a good friend. She has been nothing but loyal, honest, kind, and sincere since I first met her, and she is the type of person who will do anything for her friends. Since I’ve been with Chilipoker, she has been a person that I not only respect but look forward to talking to every time I call or visit. She invited me to her birthday party numerous times but I kept telling her that I didn’t think I could make it, though I knew the whole time that I would be surprising her. And I did! It was a blast!

There were about 40 people at the party, mostly Chilipoker staff, which was great because it was an opportunity for the Chilipoker family to bond. The reason I signed with Chilipoker back in 2007 was because I enjoy working with a close-knit group of people, and it had been awhile since we all bonded like we did on the night of Feliciana’s birthday. The entire team was there, catching up on our lives and enjoying the night, which felt wonderful and made me very happy. It was definitely one of the best parties I’ve been to in a very long time, and it was awesome to chill with my Chili teammates in Malta!

As for Feliciana, she had a fabulous time, which was the biggest goal of the night. She wrote some notes on her facebook the next day, thanking several people for their efforts and their friendship. Part of what she wrote, which means so much to me: “A VERY special thanks to LIZ, for having come all the way down to Malta just for me. Thank you LIZ for your presence, thank you for the Moet I used to toast with for my birthday, thank you for just being YOU, the party girl who was chatting and dancing with everybody…” And because I’ll do anything for my friends, I also put my Blackberry in my purse and kept it there for the entire evening when Feliciana asked me to. She wrote that it was the “best present ever.” I love that! Anything I did was the least I could do for such an amazing person and friend.

The next morning, I flew back to London. The weather has been horrible here – cold and rainy every day! – but I’ve been taking care of business, doing a lot of shopping and relaxing, and seeing parts of the city I’ve never seen before. Some of my days just involve chilling at home with my cats, too, which has been a refreshing change from the first few busy months of 2010. And I take some time every other day to play online poker on Chilipoker, and I’m using this as a good warm-up for live events on the horizon. What I’ve been doing feels a little like a normal, calm life. Wow! It’s strange but I love it. 😉

I also started my nutrition and workout program, including a healthy eating plan and workout sessions with my personal trainer. The warm-up consisted of three days a week, but we’ll soon be doing five days each week. That is some tough training! But I can already see and feel the difference, so I have to admit that my trainer is frickin’ awesome!

Speaking of poker, I’m looking forward to getting back on the felt to compete in some live events soon. And the big Chilipoker Deepstack Open (DSO) is coming up very quickly! (Is it really almost April already? OMG.) The DSO starts on the 9th of April in Aix-en-Provence at the Partouche Pasino there, and I can’t wait! Not only is it going to be a great mix of amateurs, online qualifiers, and pros, but it will be a sold-out event. How great is that? The event was capped at 500 players and sold out weeks before the tournament is even set to begin. Fantastic!

After the DSO in France, I’ll be heading to San Remo in Northern Italy for the European Poker Tour stop there, and I’ll play in the San Remo Main Event. And then I’ll be traveling just a few miles west of there to Monaco for the EPT Grand Finale in Monte Carlo at the end of April. I’m super excited to play some live poker and start to see all of the positive things in my life come into focus. With the hopes I have for my poker year in 2010 and the work I’m putting into my physical health these days, I feel prepared and ready for the circuit. Let’s go!

Cheers!

The Joys (or Not) of Travel

Sunday, March 14th, 2010

Airline travel is not a fun thing, plain and simple. There are the security lines, limits on baggage weight, limits on the number of checked bags, and rules about what can be in your carry-on bags. Everything is so complicated!

Packing alone is a chore, especially when trying to pack for a few months. It’s hard to know what clothes and accessories to bring. How do I know how often I’ll be going out to nightclubs or nice dinners? I have to consider clothes for those occasions, for my new exercise routine, for casual days around the apartment, sleeping, casual lunches with friends… And speaking of exercise, I really wanted to bring my bike, , so I had to check with the airline about how much it would cost to check it on the plane and how to pack it, then I had to go to the cycling store to have them disassemble it, box it up, and help me get it back to my place before going to the airport.

Getting to the airport with all of my bags is another task, and once I get there, I had to deal with checking all of my bags, paying the fees for them, and only then could I go to the security line. Those lines are never fun, especially when you have to remove shoes, belt, jacket, and jewelry that might make the security alarm buzz. I take the computer from the carry-on bag, remove baggies full of liquids, throw away my bottle of water before going through the line, and remember to hold my boarding pass. After passing through security, it’s time to put everything back in their packed places, put my clothes and other accessories back on, and then trudge to the gate.

Oh, and once I arrived at the gate, they informed me that my flight was two hours late. Times like this is when first class tickets really comes in handy. 😉

I guess I shouldn’t complain. I am going to be spending a few months in Europe in the springtime. It just used to be much easier to fly. And most people thought that by 2010, we’d be flying around in little space-mobiles like the Jetsons, right? LOL.

Anyway, I’m safe in Europe with my luggages, bike, and everything else that took me days to pack. Twelve hours later, I was back on the road headed to the airport again, hopping on the another flight to my second destination.

Cheers!

Getting Healthy

Tuesday, March 9th, 2010

Everyone seems to be doing it these days, getting healthy I mean. People go on diets, start exercise plans, and try to remove some of the stress in their lives. And I may be joining them!

Not saying that I’m unhealthy. I’ve had personal trainers, exercised here and there, and tried to eat fairly balanced meals when my schedule allows. But being so busy with poker, business, and life, I let things get away from me. And the level of stress in my life sometimes gets so bad that I feel physically ill. That can’t be good! So, at the advice of a close friend, I’m going to make a more serious effort to get super healthy.

First, while in Europe over the coming months, I’ll be exercising more with the help of a top personal fitness trainer. If I make it more of a regular thing with a specific plan, it can be something that I continue when I’m back in the states and getting through the WSOP summer.

Second, I’ve been given a diet plan. This is the part I’m going to struggle with…I can tell! It’s a nutritional plan, where common sense prevails, so no starvation-type liquid-only type diets, just healthy well balanced meals containing the right amounts of carbohydrates, protein and good fat. For instance, the first day he has me eating porridge with berries and crushed almonds, fruit salad with sunflower seeds for a morning snack, tuna and veggies for lunch, boiled egg and avocado for an afternoon snack, and a thin slice of beef with veggies for dinner. It actually doesn’t sound so bad when I write it out, but I’m used to eating some pretty hearty meals! I might try this when I arrive in Europe and settle in, and it is only three days… We’ll see how that goes! :S

In the next few months I want to improve my total well-being; that means incorporating a lifestyle that is super healthy, enabling me to de-stress, and become stronger both physically and mentally. My persona is that of a workaholic perfectionist (if there is such a thing…or am I the first?!?) hehe , and through experience I have come to realize that I need to adopt a more balanced lifestyle to take care of ‘ME’! 🙂

Cheers!