Posts Tagged ‘poker’

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates….

Thursday, October 20th, 2011

Hey everyone! I’m sorry it’s been awhile since my last blog. So much has been happening, I’m not even sure where to begin. I think I will have to fill everyone in over a few different blogs so I would like to just focus on one thing right now…. my future life path.

Since the World Series of Poker this year, I feel like my life has been heading in a new direction. I’m not entirely sure what direction that is just yet, but I can feel that I’m on my way. My trip to Vietnam this year was an eye opening experience in so many ways, and it really got me thinking. Change is inevitable in life, and often quite desired. Even when it’s desired, it can be a very scary thing. I’ve been feeling a lots of changes coming on and just wanted to share a big one with you.

Moving forward, I will no longer be representing Chilipoker. We had a long amazing run, and I wish them all the luck in the world! With the landscape of poker having changed so much over the last few months, I can just feel that the winds are changing for me too. I have no idea if that means I’ll still be playing poker in my future or not. I might go overseas and play or maybe start moving in a whole new direction.

I’m not really sure what the future holds in store for me. What I am sure of is that I’m onto a new chapter in my life. I’m open to all possibilities and I’ve never been happier! I believe 100% that whatever is meant to happen will happen, and it will happen when the timing is right. So for now, I’m just enjoying the ride.

When I have something more exciting on this topic to report, you can be sure that you will hear it from me first. In the meantime, I wish everyone lots of love, happiness and success… and remember… life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get!! 🙂

You only get one unique today. Ultimately, it’s not so much about where you end up, but how you get there. Enjoy the journey.…..

Joy and Light of Love ~ Liz

Where Does the Time Go?

Saturday, March 5th, 2011

Where has everyone been? Haha, just kidding. I haven’t done a blog post since December, but time sure flies. It started out with the holidays – they always get hectic – and then between poker games and tournaments, a new cat, and a super busy work schedule, the time really just disappeared. But I’m back! 😉

January was mostly a blur, with lots of travel, work, and personal business to take care of. February was a time for me to play some poker but also take some personal time. Everyone needs time away from the internet, time to focus on the important things in life, and I did too. But February was also a time for some private poker games. Vegas doesn’t seem to have the games I’m looking for in the casinos, but with juicy private games, though, I certainly played a good amount of cash poker, which was nice.

I also participated in a great charity event on February 19. It was called Raise Your Hand for Africa, and it was hosted by the Starkey Hearing Foundation at the Golden Nugget Casino in Las Vegas. I am so glad I attended! It was not only a great event to raise money for a good cause – and I met celebrities like Steve Martin, ‘Mini Me’ Vern, and a handful of NFL Pro Player! – but I connected with the foundation. I found out that they took a trip to Vietnam in 2010 and gave hearing aids to thousands of kids, allowing them to hear sounds for the first time in their lives. And they’re going again this year, so I spoke to Starkey about their plans, and I’m going with them! I’ll be able to combine the trip that I wanted to take to deliver food and other help to the poor in Vietnam, and I can help Starkey donate hearing aids to children, too. I’ll have more details on that as we plan the trip.

After playing that poker tournament, I hopped on a flight back to Los Angeles for the WPT Invitational, which was the same night. I made it in time to play, though I busted out of the event on the first night.

A few days later, I played the WPT L.A. Poker Classic, which I play every year. Things started slowly, without much action at my first table. Lee Markholt was at my table, but I didn’t know many others. I had an up-and-down day that ended with 42,250 which was a little above average.

Day 2 started with an exciting table, one that included several good players like Nenad Medic, Joe Hachem, and a few others. I have to say that Joe is completely hilarious! He had our table laughing for so long. The best joke of the day came when he said that he figured out why the young kids wear glasses at the table…because they’re all high. Maybe you had to be there, but it was so funny! For poker, I started off the day with a big double-up. On the second hand, I woke up with pocket kings UTG, so I raised and got one caller. I checked the flop of K-J-8 with two diamonds on the board, but the guy bet 5K, and I just called. The turn was a 5, not a diamond, I checked, he bet 6500, and I raised to 15K, which he called. The J of diamonds on the river came, and I went all-in. He called with A-Q of diamonds, and I had a nice double-up to begin the day. I took a hit at the end of the night, though. With 35 minutes left to play, I looked down at pocket aces UTG. Wanting to make the most out of it with my table, I simply limped in so there was 4 of us in the hand. The flop came 9-9-2 rainbow, the blinds checked, but when I bet 2200, the BB made it 6800, and I called. It was heads-up, and the turn came 8. He bet 10K, and I called. The river was a blank, and he pushed all-in for 32K. I was pot-committed but thought I was beat, but he was new to the table and I didn’t have much of a read on him. As I was thinking about my decision, he called the clock on me after less than a minute! He was very nervous, even shaking, and I finally called. He showed 9-6 suited. Yuck, I lost 55K in that pot. Even so, I ended the day with 50,700.

(photo courtesy of Matt Waldron)

Day 3 was a tough one. I had no cards in the beginning of the day and aside from stealing a few blinds, I blinded off some of my chips and was down to 31K. Allen Cunningham joined the table and played his first hand. He raised it up to 6K, and when I looked down at K-Q in the BB, I shoved all-in. He called with pocket jacks, and I never improved on the blank board. I was out. It felt good to go so far in the event, but obviously it sucked to bust on Day 3 before the money.

What else is new with me? A few things…

I was informed in January that I won a great award. It was in the 2010 Maven Awards that the public voted for several categories. I was nominated in two and won the Humanitarian Award, which was great because I was up against Annie Duke and Linda Johnson, and both of them do a ton of charity work too. I am grateful for the award and recognition, even though I do all of my charity work each year for the people who benefit from it. But thanks to Woman Poker Player and the tens of thousands of people who voted in the awards!

I also wanted to mention a very cool, creative person I met a year ago who has the most positive energy. Her name is Gabriela Pomplova, and she’s an artist, yoga instructor, jewelry maker, and painter. A few media crew and poker players had approached me and asked about the cute necklace I recently bought from Gabriela that I wore through the LAPC, and I felt that it kept me in a good place no matter what the cards were.

Finally, I want to mention a couple of things that Chilipoker is doing. 2011 is going to be a big year! After a very successful first season of DeepStack Open tournaments around Europe and Morocco, they announced Season 2, which will have 7 stops – Costa Brava, Cannes, Marrakech twice, Paris, Malta, and Vienna. Buy-ins of €550 are the same as last year, but they will have cheaper side events and cash games at every stop. Players can still qualify on Chilipoker for all of the stops, and they can also get cheap flights and good hotel rates through DSO specials. Not only can players win their way into tournaments in some of the best locations in the world, but they have a chance to win a full DSO sponsorship for 2012 as part of the Chili DSO Team! The first stop is Costa Brava, Spain, and I hope to see you at one of the stops on the tour soon!

I’ll be going to Paris to play in the Team Poker Cup at the Cercle Gaillon. I’ll be playing with partner Xavier Niel, CEO of Iliad, and there will be 20 teams. It should be a real fun tournament.

March is going to be a busy month, but I’m going to try to keep my blog updated so you don’t think I fell off the face of the earth. 😉

Cheers!

Back in the US for the Holiday Season

Thursday, December 16th, 2010

When I last updated, I was still in Marrakech and looking forward to leaving, though there was a bit of business to attend to first. The World Poker Tour Main Event was still in the works, and I stayed in town so I could watch the action at the final table, which was sponsored by Chilipoker. It was an amazing day, as Sebastian Homann, who had been the chipleader since Day 1, took that lead into the final table and went on to win the tournament. To top that, he was a Chilipoker qualifier! It is what players dream of when they win a satellite into a big live tournament, and Sebastian did it and played so well. The young man from Germany did a great job, so Congratulations to him!

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

By the time it was all over, I was ready to get back to London on my way home to the U.S., but it wasn’t going to be easy. Because of terrible winter weather in London, Gatwick airport was closed, which meant that my flight was cancelled. I was in the airport wondering what to do, waiting for about 4 or 5 hours for some answers, so finally decided to head back to the Palace where I had been staying. Then a few hours later, I received an email from Virgin Atlantic informing their upper class passengers that they’ve cancelled all flights to and from Gatwick Airport for the next two days, but with determination and hours of internet searches, I finally found a flight to Heathrow instead.

Once I arrived in London, I tried to book a hotel room for the night because my flight to Los Angeles wasn’t until the next day, but everything near Heathrow was sold out! After about three hours, I was able to find a hotel online that said it was 5.5 miles away. I jumped in a cab to head over there and get a little sleep, but it turned out to be 13 miles away. I did it anyway, was able to get a few hours of chill time, then headed back to the airport early in the morning and caught my 11-hour flight to L.A. When I got there, I booked a Southwest flight to Las Vegas and finally arrived home. What a journey that was!

I was so happy to be home! Jace was so patient and loved that I was finally home. So when I made the decision a week later to head to Seattle to visit some good friends there, I decided to take him with me. It was his first flight! But he did so well, trusting me the entire way but being the very good boy that he is. I’ve even been going Christmas shopping for actual gifts, instead of just giving people money when I’m too busy to shop in past years! Hee hee. But this year, I’m shopping and loving it. I guess I really found the Christmas spirit this year!

One of my friends told me about this great cat shelter called the Meow Cat Shelter, so of course I had to visit! I saw three cats that were attractive and melted my heart, but two were just not suitable for a home with another cat, especially the sweet one that I met with his ears cropped. He was so traumatized by the process and the “home” he was in before that he was fearful of everything, and I feared that I couldn’t give him the right home. But I did meet a sweet brown female kitty who was just amazing! She was super friendly, loving, energetic, and her energy was very positive. She even a polydactyl (an extra toe) kitty, which is odd but very cute! And she has the same kind of tail marking as Jace. So, I adopted the little girl as a companion for Jace, and they’re loving each other so far. I decided to name her Tesni, which means “warmth from the sun” in Welsh.

As for poker, I’m excited that the latest issue of the French magazine That’s Poker has finally come out! The cover photo turned out really well, so I’m looking forward to getting my copy of the magazine to read it – in French?! – and enjoy the article as well. There’s nothing else going on in poker for the rest of the year for me because due to my travel delays, I couldn’t make it back to Vegas in time for the WPT event at Bellagio and won’t play any other live events until January. I need the break, as all players do sometimes, to simply enjoy friends and family and relax for awhile.

(photo courtesy of thats-poker.fr)

I should mention, though, that Chilipoker is running an exciting promotion right now! It’s called “Santa Liz is coming to town” – haha! The pictures are kinda fun, and the promotion is great! Part of it is for cash game players, who can compete in the raked hand race and compete for their share of $13,000 and prizes like an iPhone, Android, camcorder, camera, and Xbox. There are also thousands of dollars for MTT players and SNG players, and the promo runs through December 31st. Who couldn’t use some extra money for the holidays, right? 🙂

As for me, I’ll be back to posting again when I take a break from the holidays, and I’ll be back on the poker scene in January. I’m planning a trip to the Bahamas for the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure (PCA), where I’ll play the Main Event that starts on January 8, though I’ll probably play Day 1B on January 9. It should be an amazing time, and I know that thousands of players go there every year. And on my off days, I’ll just take advantage of the amazing Bahamas beaches. Win-win!

I’m also trying to decide on some dates for a return trip to Vietnam. As the new year gets underway, it will be the perfect time to do some charity work, as there are people in my country struggling, and some food and other help could be very useful in starting their years with some hope and love. It’s been too long since I’ve been there, and I’m anxious to get back, so I’m considering the trip around late January or early February.

For now, I want to wish all of my friends an amazing holiday season! Merry Christmas, Happy Hanukkah, and Happy Holidays! And if we don’t talk before the year ends, Happy New Year! May the holidays and the new year bring all of the health and happiness that you can handle!

Cheers!

On the European Road Again

Tuesday, August 24th, 2010

Well, almost! I’m still handling last minute preparations before spending about three months overseas, and there is quite a bit to take care of. Besides finding a loving soul to look after Jace while I’m gone, as he’s not well enough to travel yet, there are all of the home details to attend to before I head out. And I’m trying to map out my entire trip and all of the tournaments I’m going to play. I’m exhausted before even getting on the first flight – LOL!

One of the most important things I’m handling before I leave home is the arrangement of my father’s three-year praying ceremony. It’s coming up later this week, and since I can’t be in Vietnam for it, I wired the money to cover all expenses and have been on the phone with my cousin almost constantly to make sure the organization and preparation is being done perfectly. The ceremony falls on the week of the Vu Lan Ghost Festival, which is a significant event for the people of Vietnam and throughout Asia, as Buddhist temples all over the region celebrate the deceased wandering spirits. And since the anniversary of my father’s passing happens to fall on that week, it’s an even bigger memorial, which features charity for those in need and a tribute to spirits. It’s the best way I can celebrate the memory of my father, and it’s very important that I make everything perfect.

(photo courtesy of Ian Morton)

“Vu Lan Festival” is believed to be the spirit month in Vietnamese culture as a way of honoring the dead. On this day, souls are believed to return to their former homes.

From this assembly, many Buddhist countries developed the custom of offering food, clothing and other items to hungry spirits in the month when the realms of Heaven, Hell and the living are open.

The object of this ceremony is to feed the hungry ghosts and to pray for their salvation. This ceremony is a way for people to meet their compassionate filial duty. During the ceremony, offerings are made to rescue up to seven generations of ancestors from whatever misery they might be suffering. During the month, every family can choose a day to present a feast and burn joss paper and incense in front of the house to invite the spirits to eat.

The most distinguished feature of the ceremony is the “offering snatching.” After the incense burns down, the neighborhood children are allowed to grab the food. No one will stop them as it is believed the spirits may be angered if they do so. The ceremony is also a great chance for people to express their gratitude to their parents.

One more tradition of this day is for people – Buddhists and non-Buddhists alike – who wish to express their gratefulness and appreciation towards their mothers, to go to a pagoda, often wearing a rose. Thousands of people flock to pagodas wearing red roses if their parents are alive or white roses if their parents have passed away. The rose has been a symbol of love and sharing among parents and their children regardless of social background.

Once that is ready, I can jump on a plane this week. The first stop on my whirlwind trip will obviously be London, as I need to check on my home there and see my beautiful cats that I miss so much, as well as some friends and colleagues. But the first tournament I’ll be playing will be the Partouche Poker Tour in Cannes that starts on Sept 2nd. After taking some much-needed time off to rest, do some charity work, and connect with friends, it will be nice to get back to the tables and play some poker.

Here is my schedule of tournaments for the next few months:

September 2 – 7: Partouche Poker Tour in Cannes
September 9 – 12: Chilipoker DeepStack Open in Paris
September 23 – 28: WSOP Europe Main Event in London
September 29 – October 4: WPT London
October 14 – 17: Chilipoker DeepStack Open in Vienna
November 2 – 6: WPT Amneville in Amneville, France
November 20 – 30: Marrakech Poker Festival in Morocco
December 13 – 19: WPT Five Diamond at Bellagio in Las Vegas

It would only make sense that I should final table at least half of those and win at least one of them, right? 😉

It seems like a lot of travel, which it is, but I will have some time to relax in London for a few days in that time period, though I will be handling quite a bit of business when I’m not playing tournaments, as usual. And when I write it all out like that, I realize just how busy I am! I’d also like to include a trip to Vietnam to do some charity work before the end of 2010, but we’ll have to see how everything plays out over the next few months.

So, I hope to keep everyone up to date as I play in some of these European events, and I’m sure I will even see some of you at those tournaments! I encourage everyone to play the Chilipoker DeepStack Open events, like the ones listed above in Vilamoura, Vienna, and Marrakech, as the buy-ins are always €550 and start players with massive 50K chip stacks. And for those without the money to buy-in directly, Chilipoker has numerous satellites running to give away seats. Check out the website for details!

I’ll see you on the road!

Cheers!

WSOP Off to a Rough Start

Sunday, May 30th, 2010

Yesterday was the first day of my World Series. I was ready to play, though definitely a bit tired because Jace didn’t sleep well. My sweet cat is back from the hospital and taking his medications like a good boy, but he has several health issues to deal with. His energy spurts come at odd hours of the night, but I believe that’s a sign that he’s happy and trying to beat these infections.

So, a little tired but excited, I headed over to the Rio and took my seat in the Amazon Room. The Pavilion Ballroom was completely full of tables and players, so my section was in good old Amazon. Familiar place, but I felt that this year was going to be different.

(photo courtesy of Pokernews.com)

It was the $1,000 NLHE tournament – Event 3, Day 1A – and I started off well. On the third hand of the day, I looked down at pocket jacks from the small blind. Seat 2 raised to 100 preflop, and I called. The flop came 9c-5s-9s. When Seat 2 bet, I check-raised to 300, and he reraised to 600. I called, and the turn brought a 9 that we both checked. The river was a 5, so I bet 1,000, and Seat 2 pushed all-in. I called all-in and showed my jacks for the double-up. Wheee! Off to a great start.

I lost a few chips during the first level and ended it with 5,200. But it was the second level that was utterly frustrating. There were three of us all-in preflop. I got my chips in with pocket kings, another player came along with pocket jacks, but the other guy had pocket aces. It played out just as you think it would, and I was gone. Out. Eliminated.

(photo courtesy of Matt Waldon)

So, my 2010 WSOP didn’t get off to the amazing start I planned, but it was only one of the 23 events I’m playing. As I said, the lack of sleep didn’t help me today, but it was the bad run of cards and luck in the second level that did me in.

I went home and curled up with Jace to calm me down, which definitely worked. He is such a peaceful presence in my life, despite his bursts of energy and tough times with the infections.

My next event is Monday, with the $1,500 NLHE in Pavilion Yellow, table 156, seat 8. I’m gonna give it my best shot!

Cheers!

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!

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!

Life Sometimes Gets in the Way of Poker

Thursday, February 18th, 2010

My plan was to come to L.A. last week and play the Monday tournament, but when I got to town the week before, life had other plans.

It started with a weekend call from my cousin in Vietnam. She told me that my aunt was in the hospital again but for an unknown reason. Of course this worries me and there’s nothing I can do from the U.S. except stay updated and make sure my aunt is getting the best care possible. Besides many phone calls to Vietnam, my weekend (and most of my week) ended up being filled with work and meetings, though I did fit in a quick trip to Rodeo Drive in L.A. to do a little shopping.

But poker was set aside for a few days, which means I didn’t play the LAPC preliminaries. The good part of that is that I’m saving my great poker for the Invitational and Main Event! 😉  I will be heading to Commerce Casino on Saturday for the red carpet welcome party and the tournament that starts in the evening, and I plan to play through the day on Sunday, too, on my way to the final table. Then I’ll take a few days off before the start of the WPT LAPC Main Event that starts next Friday. I’m still feeling great about my game these days, so I’m looking for great results at Commerce!

Speaking of poker, if you missed my last post, check out the information on the Chilipoker DeepStack Open coming up in April. Players are starting to sign up, and a lot of Chilipoker players are already winning their seats. This looks to be a great event!

In the meantime, I have to send out a BIG congratulations to my friend Quinn Do, who announced his engagement to Gale Mah earlier this week. I’m so happy for them! And it is refreshing to see love in the air – so positive and powerful. Wonderful to see Quinn has found his true soul mate!

(photo courtesy of Anh Van Nguyen)

A true soul mate is probably the most important person you will ever meet. They will come into your life to reveal another layer of yourself to you. Someone that will mirror you, show you everything that is holding you back … a person who will bring you to your own attention so you can change your life.

May your engagement be the beginning of a lifetime filled with special love & happiness!

Cheers!

WSOPE Inspiration

Wednesday, February 10th, 2010

After the Super Bowl on Sunday night, I switched over the ESPN2 to check out the coverage of the 2009 WSOP Europe. It was the first night of episodes from the beginning of the WSOPE Main Event.

It was an emotional time for me, back in September/October of 2009, as I had just completed the chapter of my life that involved fulfilling the two-year promise to my dad. I felt more peace than I knew was possible, with my father’s passing and my readiness to move on with my own life, and I was ready shift my focus to poker again. It also helped that I was so inspired by the two years worth of charity work and meditation that I was looking forward to putting my efforts into poker, where I can make money in order to do more charity in the future. It’s a wonderful circle!

The WSOPE was my chance to jump back into action, and it was amazing what a peaceful mind allowed me to do. I entered the Main Event determined to make a comeback, to start with a fresh attitude and all of my skills and mindset in order, which is what I did. I played my absolute best until Day 4 of the tournament, where I found myself card-dead and unable to continue the momentum. Day 4 and a 22nd place finish was the end of my journey. It wasn’t a final table, but I was really happy with my play and my deep run in a tournament that features some of the greatest players in the world. To finish 22nd out of a field of 334, where Daniel Negreanu and Barry Shulman were the last two players standing, was a great accomplishment!

More than anything, the WSOPE finish let me know that I was excited about poker again. I was not only confident in my abilities at the tables, but I was ready to get back to focusing on business, poker, and life. Though my father remains in my thoughts always, keeping my promise to him and completing that heartfelt journey allowed me to move on to the next phase of my life. The London event was just the first step, and it was fun to watch the coverage on ESPN2 as I prepare to head to L.A. for the LAPC.

Lesson learned? I’m BACK! 🙂

Cheers!

Preparing for the LAPC

Monday, February 8th, 2010

Since my last blog post, I’ve been crazy busy with travels and meetings. Someone asked me yesterday where I was at the moment, and I actually had to think about it for a minute! I can never seem to stay in one place too long, but the L.A. Poker Classic will change that soon enough.

The plan is to be in Los Angeles by Wednesday to start playing the tournaments at Commerce. Besides my work schedule, I’ve been waiting for the higher limit buy-in events to begin. I hope to start playing later this week in some preliminary events, then of course play in the WPT Celebrity Invitational and the LAPC Main Event. I usually stay in L.A. longer and play the cash games, but I’m very focused on tournaments right now, and the opportunities at LAPC are too great to pass up. So look for me at either the final tables 😉 or the high stakes cash games this year!

The past month was so busy that I unfortunately had to miss the Chilipoker Deepstack Open Dublin 2010 ME, but I will be heading back across the ocean during the second week of March for a fantastic 2 days televised cash game event in France, sponsored by Chilipoker. Any pros interested in playing a 25/50 NL game with 10k min buy-in then give me a shout. 🙂

Congratulations to Frederic Brunet on his excellent performance, becoming this years champion in the Chilipoker Deepstack Open Dublin 2010 ME.

Among one thing that came through in the last month for me was the cover story for the February issue of Baller Magazine. I’m pleased with the cover photo, and in the article I was able to discuss my life in poker and my dedication to charity.

As my schedule settles down a bit and I focus on the LAPC, I plan to blog more often and let everyone know what’s going on in my life. 2010 still looks to be a great year, and I’d love for you all to be able to share it with me.

Cheers!