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.