Posts Tagged ‘tournament’

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!

The Next Chapter: Peace and Joy

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Right now, I have no idea what is going to happen next. What will be accomplished in the next year or two? I have high hopes but it is a great mystery. The way life is supposed to be. Filled with pleasant surprises and occasional let downs. But most importantly, I hope it will be filled with laughter and joy. I am so much more appreciative of life’s little treasures at this stage in my life, and so much better at brushing off the occasional let downs. I credit much of this to my Father and I couldn’t be happier about the way the last chapter of my life closed out.

(photo courtesy of Ian Morton ~ VinaPix)

I left you with the 2 year promise and I am happy to tell you that I have successfully kept my commitment all the way through to the final day. We had a ceremony with the Shaman to send my father’s spirit away in peace on Sept 6th. And to help my father on his way, I purchased 888 birds to release on his behalf. This is a very common activity done in the Buddhist culture, in the hope that such good deeds will earn them credits for a better incarnation in their next life, as well as helping their relatives in hell to win earlier release from their suffering. I originally wanted to purchase more than 3000 birds but my Shaman assured me 500-600 were more than enough. LoL. I might have gotten a little carried away! I decided I would do 888 instead because it is a very lucky number.

(photo courtesy of Ian Morton ~ VinaPix)

Quite a few interesting things happened during the ceremony that were truly surreal. I will save you the details because it’s impossible to believe unless you were there. I told a few close friends about the supernatural events I witnessed only because they truly know how skeptical I am as a person. It’s in my nature to analyze everything from all angles and look for alternative answers whenever something doesn’t seem right or logical. I am always processing info in my head to see if everything “adds up”. And I had no answers for what I saw except it was truly spiritual. I’ve seen a few magicians such as Chris Angel perform in Las Vegas and this was more amazing and unexplainable than anything I’ve ever seen before. Afterwards, I was assured they were very good signs and the ceremony couldn’t have went better; my Dad is in peace.

Once that Chapter closed for good, I flew back to Las Vegas for 5 days before flying back to Europe. My first destination: Venice, Italy. So beautiful!!! It is one of my favorite places to visit so far. I flew there for the Gioco Digitale ME tournament but I had some free time to check out the sites as well. Everything in Venice is accessible by walking or canals. Water runs thru the entire city and there were hardly any cars. It’s an amazing sight. I also had a film crew following me around to film the “Poker Diva Lifestyle” through the lens of Alexandre Henry. I am excited about working on this project as well.

The tournament itself was uneventful. I ran into a bit of a cooler on my final hand which knocked me out right after the dinner break. I flopped a set of 3’s on a J, 7, 3 board. Two spades on the flop. I bet 800 on the flop. And I was check called. The turn peeled off a 7(s) which was potentially a good card for me if my opponent hit a flush. We both checked the turn. I wanted to faint weakness in case he did hit his flush. The river brought a non-spade Ace. My opponent checked. I bet out $3,000 and my opponent check raised to 7k, I then pushed all-in and got an immediate call. I had a full-house and couldn’t imagine my opponent had a bigger full house. Sure, enough my opponent hit perfect perfect on the turn and river and flipped over A-7 for a bigger full house. On that note, I was out of the tournament.

After I spent a few days in Italy and wrapped up the Main Event, I flew to London and currently taking a few days to rest up before the WSOPE Main Event which starts on the 26th of September. The film crew for the “Poker Diva Lifestyle” will also meet me in London in a day or two and we will resume filming. Hopefully, I can give you a taste of the European lifestyle and culture. I really do appreciate the different cultures you can experience in such a short geographical distance. I have a week before the WSOPE Main Event starts in London. Now what?!? I am already getting restless. Perhaps I will catch up on emails and stay a little more socially connected.

I did want to send a special blessing to my friend Adam “DJ AM” Goldstein. May he rest in peace. I know it’s a little late but it was important to me to share a couple of moments from Adam’s life. To share with you what a special human being he was. I first met Adam approx 5 years ago at the Bellagio in Las Vegas. What many people don’t know is that Adam is an avid poker player. He loves poker!! He used to come the Bellagio about 2x a week to play in some relatively high limit games after spinning at the Pure Nightclub, a nightclub I often partied at and chilled to Adam’s awesome music spin. Over the years he played less and less because his Deejay responsibilities would keep him on the road more and longer. Usually, late at night after a Deejay gig. Sometimes he came alone and sometimes he would come with a friend or two.

(photos courtesy of Pure Nightclub)
(DJ AM and Liz Lieu in the house at Pure Nightclub)

At first, I learned thru Jonathan Shecter that DJ AM didn’t like me very much. At the time, I was playing in a 3 handed 80-160 limit hold-em game when Adam sat down and took a pretty good beating from me. At the time, I don’t think he really knew I was a professional poker player. On one occasion, I remember completely stripping him of his entire bankroll for the night. I don’t think Adam was making as much money back then because this used to really upset him and we developed a minature rivalry. Well, more of a rivalry on his part. I liked his action.

Eventually, about 1 years later we became friends and Adam told me about his feelings toward me. He told me, he thought I was cocky and it really irritated him. I never disrespected him or laughed at him but it was more my style of play that frustrated him. I am a very aggressive poker player and most guys aren’t accustomed to running into that type of aggression from a female. Anyhow, we shared a laugh about it and once we got to know each other on a more personal level, we grew to respect each other. And Adam did get the best of me a few times on the poker table. After a couple losing session to him at the Commerce, I playfully commented “Alright, we’re even now.. OK?” And he laughed it off. At this point, he was making a lot more money and I could tell the poker swings didn’t affect him as much.

One of the things I respected and admired the most about Adam was how much he loved his mother. His mother Andrea was the entire world to him. And I also admired how much Adam cared about people in general. One day, I was actually talking about charities with Adam because he struck me as the type of person that would care about that stuff, and I asked him some advice on some potential charities to donate too. He suggested I donate to MS research. Okay, so I asked him why? He told me his Mom had MS and they were very close to coming up with a cure and any additional help would be so beneficial. I was more than happy to do it. I started to donate to the cause immediately with a % of my winnings.

I also learned that Adam was donating a significant amount of his own personal earnings to MS research. Adam even told his Mom that I was donating money to her cause. One day, his mom even emailed me personally to thank me for my support for curing MS. I guess she was very pleased that one of Adam’s friends would also champion his cause and she was so thankful that she wanted to bake me a huge batch of homemade cookies!!

I continued to see Adam a couple of times a week playing poker and then he got more involved with bigger gigs and he was going to Las Vegas more often but we continued to stay in touch. When LAX first opened and I was just signing with the Martin’s Poker team he made sure I had a table and was taken care of. There was a huge mix up actually over my reserved table and when Adam got back to CA, he personally came to the Commerce and brought the Main manager down to personally apologize over the mix up and took care of the situation. And that was the type of guy Adam Goldstein was.

Over the past year and a half, I haven’t had a chance to keep in contact with Adam at all. We both had different priorities and poker wasn’t one of them. I don’t really know what happened in NY and what was going on with him, unfortunately. To me he will always be the caring and compassionate person who loved his Mom more than anything in the world. A generous person who would go out of his way to take care of a friend. It’s a sad loss. I hope Adam has peace and happiness.

Cheers!

Blame it on Rio

Sunday, June 7th, 2009

I’m back in Vegas everyone!! I participated in my first WSOP event a couple of days ago. Event # 14 $2500 Limit Holdem (6-handed). I quickly built my chip stack to 13k after the first four levels of play, but ended up busting out late in Day 1 after going completely card dead after the dinner break. I’ve been back in Las Vegas for a week now. I was hoping to play in a few earlier events but as soon as I drove back from LA, I woke up the next morning with a bad cold flu. I had to wait almost a week until I was able to play my first event.

(photo courtesy of MadeInPoker.com)
(photo courtesy of Pokernews.com)
(photo courtesy of Pokernews.com)
(13k chip stack after 4th level before dinner break)

Since my last update, I made a sudden decision during my last week stay in London to hop on a plane back to Vietnam and spent a week there. I did some charity work for a few days and had an opportunity to clear my head from poker. This was my goal for staying in Europe and Asia for the entire month leading up to the WSOP, to mentally prepare myself for the WSOP and get myself spiritually and emotionally in the right state of mind.

While I was travelling through Vietnam, I had some amazing personal experiences that are a little difficult to explain. Through charity work, family, and friends, I was able to meet some very wonderful people in my recent visits. Some of the most wonderfully charitable and humble people I have ever met in my life. I had some eye opening experiences and moments that I cannot possibly explain in a blog. Let’s just say that I have a deeper understanding for life and my place in this world. I’d like to send out a very special thank you to Thay Hung, anh Phan, chi Thuy, and anh Banh for all the things they have done for me to make this charity journey a complete success!

(Xin thành kính cảm tạ Thầy Hùng (Hà Nội), người đã dành trọn tâm huyết cho chuyến làm từ thiện này. Và cũng xin chân thành cảm ơn anh Phán, chị Thuý, và anh Bằng đã cùng chung sức cho chuyến từ thiện này.)

Now that I am back in the states again, I am excited about playing poker again. I rarely get to step completely away from poker and I feel completely refreshed and with a strong desire to play really hard and put in the effort that is necessary when you are trying to navigate through some of these very deep and competitive WSOP fields.

I’ve only had a chance to play 1 day so far but I’ve noticed a trend where there are more and more unrecognizable faces every year. I am pretty sure some of these guys and gals are experienced and successful internet players so I always need to take caution and not assume I have a huge edge just because I don’t recognize somebody.

I also want to congratulate my friend Steve Sung for winning Event #4 for his first WSOP bracelet. Steve took home a cool $771,000. I’ve known Steve for a couple years now and he’s a really good guy and I’m extremely happy for him. And what Phil Ivey did in Event #8 isn’t very surprising at all but still amazing. Ivey is truly an amazing player and I heard rumors that he won close to $10,000,000 on a side bet for winning the Seven to Deuce event.

I’m hoping to have some of the same kind of success too and right now, I’m trying to figure out which events I want to play next. I believe there are 56 events this year so I have a long ways to go still and I’m trying to pace myself. I don’t want to burn myself out and throw money away when I enter a tournament. I really want to win every tournament I play.

I think there are a number of different places you can get WSOP results and updates. Keep your eyes out for me. Hopefully, I’ll make some big waves in one of these events soon and generate some excitement. Until then, I will keep you posted on my progress. I look forward to catching up with old friends in Vegas and most importantly enjoying myself but don’t be fooled. I really want to win that bracelet and will give each and every WSOP event my absolute best effort.

Cheers!

Weathering the storm and staying the course…

Friday, March 27th, 2009

I think many of you will find this journal entry is pretty topical considering recent economic events. I’ve spent the past couple of weeks playing poker at the Commerce in L.A. and something is definitely up. I’m not sure if it’s the economy or what but all of the high stakes games have temporarily dried up. I’ve been playing 100/200 at the Commerce lately because that’s the biggest game going in the high limit section right now. The few times we’ve been able to kick up the stakes, the game will fall apart within a couple of hours.

Las Vegas has been the same way if not worse in terms of high stakes cash games. I think it’s a combination of a lot of things. I know some of poker players are struggling lately. I’ve heard rumors of different players going broke. I know a ton of players spend a lot of time travelling or playing online. And the live cash games have suffered because of it. But it’s okay because I’m going to adapt and stay the course until better days.

In Nautical terms, staying the course means not altering your path regardless of the obstacles in your way. You weather the storm and reach your destination. In 2008, I ran into a bunch of different storms, personally, spiritually, physically, and professionally. And a few times I was thrown off course and had to find my way again and it’s prepared me for everything to come in 2009. In the past week, I’ve been able to stay pretty even playing the cash games. I ran pretty bad early, losing on some pretty horrific beats. I was able to finish the week strong booking 3 straight winning sessions. I took a lot of personal time in 2008 and now I’m back stronger and better than ever.

After pulling several all nighters grinding the cash games, I was wearied! So what did I do to get away? I took a short break! Last Friday night I went out with my girls to celebrate one of our girlfriend Kayla’s birthday at iLounge Nightclub, one of the new trendy hot spots in Newport Beach. We managed to get the best table in the joint in the Presidential VIP suite, which in my opinion felt like we were trapped in a cell behind bars. HaHa!! Nevertheless, we had a awesome time!

(Birthday girl Kayla)

At the moment, I see clear skies and sunrise. I am really looking forward to this weekend’s tournament at Caesar’s. The Dream Team Poker Event. Quinn Do, Matt Stout and I make up the Pokerlistings team. I know Poker Road has a team in the tournament headed by Joe Sebok. Also, Eric Morris of Bluff Media will have his team there ready to play. My good friends Lacey Jones, Maria Ho, and Tiffany Michelle will make up an all-female team. I believe they are going by the name “Yo Mamma” or something like that. Phil Hellmuth, Mike Matusow, Dennis Phillips, Jamie Gold and Jerry Yang are some other players with teams entered into the Dream Team field.

I hope I have more to report after this weekend. I expect good things and even if the cards or chips don’t fall my way, I will stay the course!

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!

Balancing Time During WSOP!

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Well, it’s been a great couple of weeks for me since I posted here last.  Thanks for stopping by, and I hope you’ve followed me on PokerListings as well as everywhere else you find poker news.

I’ve been mixing tournaments with cash games at the Bellagio.  I had my first WSOP cash this year (28th in the $2.5k NLHE event).  I played really well, but I would have loved to take down that bracelet (the $666,697 for first wouldn’t hurt either!).  So many pros going deep.  The bracelets are staying in the pro ranks, both the old-timers and the young studs.  There aren’t nearly as many soft spots as there have been in the past.  I guess the number of players is still as strong as last year, but the quality seems to be much deeper.  It is rare to not recognize someone at your table, unless you take a seat at a $1.5k NLHE donkament!

Cash games are going great for me.  Seven sessions:  one small loss, one break-even, and five winning sessions.  That is the plan, to win big and minimize the losing sessions.  The games have finally started to get a bit bigger at the Bellagio.  I played two sessions of $400/800, one with a $100 ante at Nick Shulman’s suggestion.  It included Hansu, Greg Mueller, Van Diesel, Jenifer Harman, Eddie Ting, and Minh Ly.  That group will definitely keep you on your toes, and it was nice to rack up more chips than I sat down with at a table like that.

I also got away from poker a bit.  I did some shopping at the Caesar’s stores (I miss, miss, miss shopping!).  They still remember me there, even though I’ve been gone basically for a year.  I had Zach, my PA, and one of his friends Alvin in town.  I think they had a great time—good food, seeing a show.  Vegas done right!  He and Alvin are sweethearts, and it was great to spend some time with them.

I also had my girlfriends in town from LA.  Seven hotties out on the town, taking the night by storm!  It was a crazy night, one big girls party.  I kept drinking Red Bull while they drank whatever they had that looked pretty similar to Red Bull (but with a different kick).  One of my girlfriends picked up the tab (we never ever let boys pay for things—GIRL POWER!).  Anyways, the girls chose to party at The Bank, one of the hot night clubs at Bellagio in Vegas, and the bill for the seven of us came out to $8600.  So my girlfriend asked what we tip. I told her it’s up to her, and she left $800 for the waitress and $400 was tipped to the busboys earlier in the night already.

So the waitress comes back with a response it’s not enough, that we needed to leave at least 10-20%.  I really have never had anyone come back with a tip and say it wasn’t enough. I thought it was outrageous. We ended up just laughing it off and leaving her $1000.

I missed being out with my girlfriends, just laughing and not thinking about anything.  This past year has been a year away from that, twelve months of being alone for the most part.  I’m not used to it, and I really loved being there with all my friends.

I’ll be playing a few more events before the Main Event, so keep checking here or PokerListings to see how I’m doing. I’m physically feeling great, so my sickness is behind me.  That and my friends are keeping me at my best, and I hope I can get even further at my next WSOP Event.  Ciao!

Back on the Road Again……

Monday, March 10th, 2008

After 6 weeks playing cash games at the Commerce and my early exit from the LAPC main event, i’m back on the road again.

First stop on this round of my travels was a quick stop in London where I did an interview with Gambling Online Magazine for a front cover feature to come out next month and also to catch up on the progress of the new site I am involved in www.ipokercal.com.

The very next day I took a flight to Malta where I will be situated for a few weeks working closely with my sponsor Chilipoker as we prepare for the next stage of my tournaments in Europe and start to discuss future plans.

While I was in Malta, which is my second visit to this hotbed of online gaming companies I had chance to spend some quality time with Alex and the Chilipoker team who have just moved into a beautiful large new office which is very impressive. It just shows the quick growth in this amazing company and proves to me that the vision of Alex is coming to reality.

Also Alex was kind enough to take me on a quick tour of the island and it was right on the day of the elections and so there were tons of Maltese people voting for either the red or the blue party. While I’m not fully up to date on Maltese politics, the blues winning was a popular signal for the online gaming industry on the island. The driver that took me to the airport the next day said “more power to Chilipoker”.

So it was an interesting introduction to island life but before I could even unpack my suitcases I was on a plane to Warsaw in Poland for the next stop on the European Poker Tour. However I had to fly via Munich because there are no direct flights from Malta so it was a 7 hour journey just to get here but luckily the hotel laid on a limo pick up for me to bring me to the Mariott Hotel where I am now staying right on the top floor – the views of this beautiful city are just amazing so I couldn’t resist going for a bit of sightseeing and of course checking out the local boutiques! 🙂

So let me just say first off that I have a new strategy for this tournament. As you know I normally prefer to play on day 1a if there are two first days. This gives me chance to get straight into my game and if it doesn’t work out to travel home. However since my 2 Final tables in Macau APPT, my tournament life has not been as good as I would have liked dropping out early in Melbourne and the LAPC in Los Angeles. Of course the hectic travelling also does not relax me sufficiently well enough. So this time I decided to travel a day early and book my seat in day 1b. This has allowed me to relax in my hotel, catch up on some much needed sleep, get my business affairs in order so that I am fully prepared for the day that I start to play in this event.

The EPT Poland is one of the latest additions to the European Poker Tour which seems to be ever expanding and I really enjoy these European events. I hope with my new start time and a couple of other strategic decisions I have made (which i’m keeping quiet about !) that I will go deep into this tournament and hopefully the final table.

So if you don’t get chance to follow my progress online then I will certainly let you know how I progress.

After Poland it’s back to Malta for a short while where I will be staying until the next EPT event which is in Saint Remo on the 1st April.

So I will write again when I am back in Malta before I’m back on the road again ! Cheers!