Posts Tagged ‘morocco’

Thanksgiving in Marrakech, Home for December!

Thursday, December 2nd, 2010

It’s been a while since we’ve chatted. Sorry for the break! Everything from Halloween forward seems like a fog now. So much happened, I had quite a bit of business and personal life to attend to, and flying to Marrakech for some poker tournaments was the first chance I’ve had to get back in touch with my blog readers. Thanks for being patient with me. 😉

(photo courtesy of Francois-Philipe Fpc Croue)

After being able to spend some time at home in Las Vegas and with friends in Los Angeles and Seattle over the past month, it wasn’t so bad to get out and travel again. Flights to Marrakech are not easy, though! But I made it in one piece, I wasn’t groped by any TSA officials at the airport, and I’ve been set up in a very luxurious hotel here.

When I arrived in Marrakech, I immediately got into the poker spirit with a charity event on my first night. It started at 10:30pm, and the Tournoi des Sultanes was a fun set-up, The nine Sultans were Estelle Denis, Karima Charni, Tatiana Golovin, Laurie Cholewa, Pascale Clark, Caroline Diament, Valerie Benaim, Charlotte Pay, and myself. The winner of the tournament was going to receive 10,000€ Euros to donate to the charity organization of her choice, and when it all came down to it after four hours of play, I got heads-up with Pascale Clark, and the tournament ended with Pascale claiming the victory. But things were light at the end, and we all agreed that the top three players would split the prize money, with first place getting the most of course, to donate to our charities. We were all so passionate about raising money for causes that meant something to us that none of us wanted to give it up! It was funny and fun, all in good spirit, and the money raised for charities was a great outcome.


Tournoi des Sultanes – Chilipoker Marrakech Festival 2010

I should mention something about my lack of Twitter and Facebook updates from Marrakech. I started having internet problems as soon as I arrived, and it’s been sketchy for majority of the time during my stay. It was strange not to be connected at all times! I also recently switched to an iPhone from a Blackberry, and I’m still getting used to it. It’s very different from my BB, and I’m not entirely happy with my decision so far, but I’m trying to love the iPhone!

Anyway, after the Tournoi des Sultanes, I was ready for the Chilipoker Deep Stack Open event, and so was everyone else because it was a complete sellout! It was incredible to see so many players turn out for it, and the casino was pretty happy to have a full house.

(photo courtesy of River Tells/Chilipoker.fr)

I arrived about two hours late, which was normal for me, and I was off to a rocky start at the tables, but I won my first hand with AK and felt okay for a bit. But I couldn’t get much momentum going. It was into the fifth level that I tangled in a huge pot . I had about 45K in chips and looked down at pocket nines. Blinds were 150/300 with a 25 ante. I raised to 750 from middle position, and the guy to my left reraised the minimum, and two other players called and I did too. The flop came 9-T-3, and I checked. The guy to the left of me checked, too, and the last player to act on the button bet 5,500. I raised to 16K, and he moved all-in. I called his all-in with my set of nines, and he showed Q-J offsuit! I had to look at that hand twice! Anyway, the 8 came on the turn to fill his straight, the river blanked, and I was out of the tournament.

The next couple days were filled with interviews, the most interesting was done by That’s Poker, a French magazine. I’d arranged to meet up with Hugues Fournaise and Emmanuel Vanglabeke at 3:30pm down by the pool at my hotel to do the interview which lasted 3 ½ hours! I decided to open up and shared a lot more personal details than I normally do for this one, answering a lot of questions about my personal life, charities, my career, visions about the poker industry, and my family. I’ll be on the cover of That’s Poker magazine for the issue that comes out in December, I’m looking forward to seeing it!

(photo courtesy of Hugues ‘Def’ Fournaise)

I spent some time watching the rest of the Chilipoker DSO tournament play out. And I took a trip to the local souk, which is a monstrous market in a walled part of the city, filled with vendors,food, and interesting people. I had a great time hanging out with my Chilipoker team member Ophelie Laffuge, Hugues ‘Def’ Fournaise, Kevin Noblat, Steven Bensimon, Julien Bochereau, Julien Gaignard,and Stephane Lecocq who were all in town for the Chilipoker DSO event the WPT Marrakech tournament. I was looking to buy several rugs to bring home as gifts – they call it a carpet here – incense holders, moroccan oil, and candles, but I didn’t find what I was looking for. I did find a nice chess set. The price was jacked up, but I was able to bargain with the guy. He wanted 500, but I told him all I had was 300. He kept trying to get me to make a deal, but I stuck to 300 and he finally took it. So, now I have a chess set. Who wants a chess set?! Hehe 😉

(photo courtesy of Hugues ‘Def’ Fournaise)

I waited until Day 1B of the World Poker Tour event to play; I always like to play the second starting day. Numbers were down for the tournament in general, maybe partly because it was on Thanksgiving weekend and many Americans didn’t make the trip. Even so, it was a good tournament, especially with Matt Savage running it.

My table was full of action players , including two local cash game players, and all of the guys were majorly gambling it up. They were playing some crazy poker, and it was tough to even put them on hands. For example, in one hand, I had two pair on the A-J-9 flop holding A-9. I check-raised my opponent, and he called. The turn was a king, and he makes a slight over bet of 6,800 that time, and I called. The river was a 5, he bet 10K, and I check-called again. He showed pocket kings. It was that kind of tournament. I did slowly build my stack throughout the day but had to keep doing it because I lost every big pot I played. Another example, I had two black kings. The flop was 7-6-2 with two diamonds, I bet out 3,500 and got two callers. The 10 of diamonds came on the turn, player behind me bet 6,500, and I called. The river was the 8 of diamonds, he bet out 12K. After I decided to muck my kings, he turns over J-5 of spades! Gotta love it!

(photo courtesy of carrondesign)
(photo courtesy of Hugues ‘Def’ Fournaise)

That was how my tournament went. I lasted until about 1:30am on Day 1B. With only 37K left and 8-6 of clubs in the big blind, I called the min-raise from the UTG player. The flop came K-Q-9 with two clubs, he bet 2,500, and I check-called. The turn was the 7, which gave me the open-ended straight draw to go with my flush draw, so when he bet 6,500, I check-raised all-in for about 29K. He insta-called with Q-10 offsuit! The river didn’t give me what I needed, and his queens were good. I was out of the WPT event.

I’m done with poker in Marrakech and just wrapping up some business before heading back to Las Vegas. I’ll be there through Christmas, which means I’ll probably play the WPT Bellagio in the next few days if I make it back in time. I’m considering another trip to Vietnam before the end of the year but that might wait until January. For now, I’m just looking forward to getting home for a little while, relaxing, and trying to refocus back on poker.

I hope my American friends had a great Thanksgiving! We all have so many things to be thankful for!

Cheers!

The Comeback!!

Thursday, October 8th, 2009

I’m please to say that I’m playing some really good poker lately and it’s only a matter of time before I win another tournament. Liz Lieu is back!! I didn’t have a name for this next chapter in my life but the comeback seems as appropriate as any. I was extremely pleased with the way I played in London. I managed to have a really strong showing at the WSOPE Main Event last week. I finished 22nd out of a Field of 334 players. I will go over some key hands in that event later and I played some really solid poker at the EPT Main Event as well.

Before I recap my time in London, I want to thank everyone for their support. If you didn’t catch the twitter updates, I will recap it shortly but the overall support was amazing. It feels good to play poker again on a regular basis and I want to personally thank the Chilipoker Team, especially Alexandre Dreyfus for sticking with me over the past two years. Shortly after signing with Chilipoker, my father passed away and I tried to play as much poker as I possibly could but my heart and soul really weren’t in it. Alex has been extremely patient and I feel like I’m on the verge of doing some of those great things that I’m sure Alex hoped for when we first formed a partnership. Thank You Chilipoker!!!

Speaking of Chilipoker, I am very pleased to announce, I am currently in Marrakesh, Morocco for our first ever sponsored WPT event. We expect a great turn out of top notch pro’s for the Chilipoker WPT Marrakesh Events. I am writing this blog from the Palace Hotel. This place is frikkin awesome!! Morocco is an extremely beautiful place and I cannot wait for the upcoming events. Partially because Chilipoker is sponsoring the event and partially because I am playing very good poker at the moment.

It all came together in London. Is it a coincidence my poker play increased exponentially now that my Two-year promise is over? I think now that I can focus on poker more and put some of the personal stuff behind me and move on, my poker play is going to improve month to month. I didn’t think it could all come together as quickly as it did but London was very encouraging. I finished 22nd in the WSOPE Main Event, outlasting one of the toughest field ever with ton of great players.

On Day 1 of the WSOPE ME, I managed to end the day with 65,600 in chips. I spent the entire day at the ME featured table. I had Hoyt Corkins, Allen Cunningham and Huck Seed to the left of me for most of the day at the featured table. How is that for a group of poker sharks?! But I managed to pick up pots and stay out of trouble most of the day. Above average chip stack by the end of Day 1.

On Day 2 of the WSOPE ME, I started to make some moves and got involved in some big hands. I dipped down to 50k at one point and doubled up to 100k. And then I doubled up again with pocket A’s. On a 9 high flop, went all-in and doubled through Brandon Cantu who had pocket Q’s. I was at 230k and among the top 5 chip leaders at this point. I did lose a few pots towards the end of the night and finished the day with 181,400 in chips. I was in very good shape still.

(photo courtesy of MadeInPoker.com)

On Day 3 of the WSOPE ME, for most of the day. I didn’t really make much movement. I just fluctuated around 180k until I did get involved in a hand against the SB when I had the button that admittedly, I got very lucky. I ran into a situation where I thought my opponent was overplaying his hand to take down the pot so I shoved all in with pocket 2’s. I ran into pocket A’s but hit a miracle flop with the first card being a deuce. After this pot, I had 240k. I eventually chipped up to approximately 300k by level 13 with about 60 players left. I guess the poker cards had to even things out because in level 14, I ended up losing 100k when I called an all-in with pocket 8’s. My opponent had pocket 4’s. He spiked a 4 on the flop and I was down to approx 180k. I finished the day with 193,500 with approximately 36 players left. I went into Day 4 with one of the smaller chip stacks.

(photos courtesy of Jules Pochy)

On Day 4 of the WSOPE ME, I had a pretty strong table. My table draw consisted of Keith Hawkins (4 WSOP cashes), Devil Fish, Teddy Sheringham (retired soccer player who has played in numerous WSOP and European events), Matt Hawrilenko (top young pro with 13 WSOP cashes and a bracelet in last year’s WSOP), Chris Bjorin (50 WSOP cashes and 2 bracelets, experienced pro), Stephen Zolotow (36 WSOP cashes, 1 bracelet and underrated veteran grinder), Thomas Bichon (won WPT Cyrus for $579k 3-weeks before) and Christian Harder (won Bellagio Cup Tourney in 2004 for $204k, 4th in the WPT Championships in April for $572k and several other 6-figure finishes). As you can see, I had my work cut out for me.

(photos courtesy of Jules Pochy)

I ended up getting cold decked and with this table I just couldn’t make any moves. Every time I raised somebody came over the top of me and I just didn’t have any hands to play back with. I had to grind my way to 22nd place and all things considered I was pleased with the result. More importantly, I was pleased with how I played for 4 days straight. I didn’t make any mistakes and made some really strong leads. I felt like I could have made it to the final table if I didn’t hit a cold deck on Day 4.

(photos courtesy of Pokerlistings.com)
(photo courtesy of Pokernews.com)

The results at the EPT London weren’t quite as good as the WSOPE ME but again, I played my hands very well. On day 1, I was chipping up nicely and ran into a cooler. After a raise and re-raise battle with Ivan Demidov, The flop came A-K-J. I had A-K. Ivan bet out 6,250, and I announced all-in. He almost folded but reluctantly called and ended up having J-J for a set. I was pretty much crippled after that hand dipping to about 6,800 in chips. My chips dwindled down to about 5000 and I tripled up with K(d) J(d). I actually played really solid poker and even chipped up to about 33,000 in chips. I didn’t last very long on Day 2. I saw a good opportunity to double up and took it. I pushed all in for my last 32k with pocket 7’s and was called down by A-K. The flop missed my opponent but spiked a king on the turn and my tournament was over. I wasn’t happy to lose but overall I was pleased with my overall plays. And I plan to play well in Morocco! I will be tweeting a ton so if you want up to the minute updates, follow me on my Twitter.

Cheers!

“Bang” to “Bust” to “Bang” again… my July in Vegas!

Saturday, July 25th, 2009

What is she saying??? Well like many of you, my July began with a BANG of fireworks. As you may know, I spent Independence Day living it up Vegas style which meant fireworks under the Bellagio skies, drinks and dancing at my favorite clubs and enjoying the holiday festivities with my close friends. It was a very nice 4th to say the least.

I was well rested and prepared for the main event on July 5th, however the overall outcome was not what I hoped or strived for. I grinded it out the whole time and never hit any rushes. I wanted to be physically and mentally prepared and ready to drag in pot after pot at the event. Unfortunately, that was not the case at all. Well the dragging in pot after pot anyways. I was prepared and rested but I busted out on mid Day 3 of the event.

I started off Day 1 of the event dropping about 7500 in chips the first hand I played. I flopped two pairs and lost to a straight and a flush, which left me about 20000 in chips. But right before the break, I got pocket Q’s and went heads up against pocket 10’s. I knocked that player out and was back up to 34000 in chips. I was feeling good at break but by the time we ended Day 1, I was back to 14600 in chips.

(photo courtesy of Made In Poker)
(photo courtesy of Pokerlistings)
(photo courtesy of Pokernews)

I began Day 2 grinding it out and staying focused. I didn’t get too many good hands but managed to build my stack back up to 47000 by the end of the day. I was feeling really good and confident. In between the banging and busting, on Day 2 of the main event, I did get a chance to unwind and spend some quality time discussing business with Alex (CEO of Chilipoker) and Fabrice. Alex came out to Vegas for 8 days this month and as usual, he spent 6 of those 8 days tied up in business meetings. How does he do it? I don’t know but I do know he is a great businessman and the fact that Chilipoker is growing as fast as it is, is proof of his determination and hard work. I could not be happier!

(photos courtesy of Pokernews)
(photo courtesy of Pokerlistings)

As good as I felt the day before, Day 3 was definitely not my day! I was pretty much short stacked the entire day3, winning three all in’s to keep me alive till mid day. When the blinds got to 1000-2000 ante 300, I went all-in again with my last 30k picking up pocket 9’s on the big blind, and was up against an opponent with pocket 10’s. Needless to say, I did not hit my flop, turn or river.

(photo courtesy of Pokerlistings)
(photo courtesy of Made In Poker)

It’s okay though, things like this happen and I will continue to remain focused because I know my “rush” is coming soon!

After busting out of the ME, two days later I played in the Dream Team Poker event hosted by DPG. My Chilipoker teammates Matt Waldron (Life’s a Bluff), Anh Tran (my beautiful girlfriend), and I had so much fun playing team poker while poking fun at the other teams (and ourselves). We did not place but it was a day filled with laughs and jokes. I ended up busting out with AQ(off) when I my opponent’s 22’s! All I have to say on that note is, “I retired my jersey”. Haha.

(Chilipoker Team)

But those events are now the past and my motto is to move forward and learn from yesterday and that is what I intend to do. I am truly looking forward to and will remain focused on getting prepared for the upcoming APT Celebrity Charity and ME in Macau, and Chilipoker’s WPT Marrakesh Event this October. It is going to amazing in Morocco. A beautiful city with unbelievable scenery is going be filled with top notched poker players from around the globe. This event is going to be the best of the best playing to win and I look forward to the challenge the felt in Morocco is sure to bring.

Anyways, it hasn’t just been poker in Vegas this month. I did find time to get the most BANG out of my buck… to be continued in “Bang” to “Bust” to “Bang” again… my July in Vegas Part II!

Cheers!

WPT Marrakech .. presence confirmed!

Monday, March 9th, 2009

I have some great news to share. My sponsor site, Chilipoker.com has just announced an exclusive three year agreement with the World Poker Tour (WPT). 

Chilipoker and World Poker Tour® (WPT) Launch WPT Marrakech in Morocco – www.chilipoker.com/wpt-marrakech

I would like to applaud Alexandre Dreyfus for putting this agreement together. I know he’s been working on it for quite awhile. If you remember back to my blog when I visited with Alex in Los Angeles, he was in town working on this deal.

Chilipoker.com and WPT Enterprises announced recently that they have finalized an exclusive partnership to launch the first ever World Poker Tour® (WPT) event to take place on the African continent — WPT Marrakech. The three-year deal enables the partners to create annual televised broadcasts around the events. The first WPT Main Event will take place next October, while several satellite tournaments on Chilipoker and other rooms of the Ipoker network are authorized to qualify players online as soon as March.

For those of you who don’t know, Morocco is located in North Africa and has coast lines on the Atlantic Ocean, Straight of Gibraltar and the Mediterranean Sea. I wasn’t exactly sure either. I had an idea of where Morocco was and I decided to go to Wikipedia and look up some interesting and fun facts about Morocco.

Here is an interesting fact: Morocco is the only African Country that is not a member of the African Union. Morocco is part of the Arab league but is an Ally of the United States of America. Most people are probably familiar with one of its biggest cities, Casablanca.

Casablanca of course is a famous American film popularized in the early 40’s by such legendary actors as Humphrey Bogart and Ingrid Bergman. The film won an academy award for best picture. Okay, well that’s my history lesson for the month!! Ha-Ha.

Fun facts aside, I just wanted to share with everyone this great news. The WPT in partnership with Chilipoker will play its first WPT event in Marrakech, Morocco in October and I am excited to be a part of Chilipoker and I’ve already confirmed my presence at this event in the fall. I’m hoping to see many of you there!

I also want to thank everyone who cheered me on and sent me words of encouragement during the Los Angeles Poker Classic (LAPC). If you did not hear, I did make it to Day 3 of the main event but I busted out just before the money.

(photos courtesy of Pokerlistings.com and Cardplayer.com)

I have been in Los Angeles for a few weeks now. Besides playing in the LAPC, I have been playing a bit online and also spending time with family and friends. It’s a rough time for many people because of the current economic conditions so I hope everyone continues to hold their head up and press forward with hope. I will update this blog again in a couple of days.

Cheers!