European Open Special Edition

3 Nov

Las Vegas is one of my favourite places in the world for poker; unlimited daily choice of tournament and cash game action, lush array of poker rooms, soft fields of recreational players and sometimes if you are lucky with your seat draw you get to rub shoulders with real poker superstars and battle versus some of the best players in the world;

And don’t get me started on entertainment, dining and shopping there as you would never see the end of this blog 🙂

Here I’ve listed just a few of many fantastic reasons why I was looking forward to going back to to Sin City for the second time this year 🙂

This time I was in for a real treat as Unibet Events team has put together a 5 star Vegas experience for it’s players and Ambassadors alike in celebration of the 10th season of the Open Series….

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I flew in 5 days prior the main event so I could aclimatise and most importantly have some fun with friends. Jet lag is always a killer; you keep on waking up at 4am and is always good to have a spare few days to deal with it.

11 of us including one cute baby were sharing a beautiful house off the strip. Marc Convey has done his research and found a property for us with the most stunning outdoor area where we ended up enjoying the sunshine in the lush surroundings, having diving competitions, pool parties and tasty BBQ’s -the latter orchestrated by Tambet who turns out to be not only uber talented photographer but a brilliant cook too.

The place had a massive outdoor Jacuzzi too which was a nice touch for the chilly evenings especially with the boys :). It really was so much fun hanging out with everyone and to be fair we had no good reason to leave the house at all apart from some grocery shopping and for us girls some outlet exploring ….. When I say exploring I mean a day out clothing & hand bag shopping 🙂

We also headed to the Downtown– one of the night’s a there were a few group members that were in Vegas for the first time and the attractions and entertainment on offer at the second most famous street in the Las Vegas – Freemont Street – could not be missed.

It is a pretty surreal experience standing there in the middle of the crowded street surrounded by constantly running light shows, live music and flamboyant street performers… it feels like being a part of one big open street party! Perfect for a Saturday night and Simon & Carol were making the most if it 🙂

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Freemont Street

The rest of the group were indoors learning all about Craps and practising the perfect throw whilst enjoying $1 cocktails 🙂

It was a great night out and I was looking forward to doing nothing next day before moving to our next and the main stop – the Wynn hotel.

This hotel is absolutely beautiful and the classiest venue in Vegas and Unibet couldn’t have picked a better place for it’s players to stay, play and enjoy themselves.

The things I love the most about The Wynn; it doesn’t have standard rooms, there are only suites, and they are massive! Basically the size of a one bedroom flat I used to live in back in London a while back 🙂 The layout of the hotel is pretty straight forward and it’s easy to navigate your way around without getting lost (story of my life:).

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There is an array of beautiful restaurants with the outdoor seating where you can enjoy the water show and their buffet which was complimentary for all Unibet players + staff is simply the best in Vegas!

Where else you can sample various cuisines from round the world under one roof accompanied by an endless pours (alcoholic of course) for 2hr for just an extra $19!?

We were based on the Encore side of the hotel and it was my first time visiting it’s outdoor pool there which was sick with a bar and gaming tables in the middle… they were playing great tunes all day long and serving great cocktails ….definitely yet another highlight of this venue.

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Beach Club Encore

On Thursday I jumped into my first game; $400, $50k GTD daily comp at the Wynn poker room. After cashing 3 of the on the trot in July, I was hoping for another deep run.

I had a fun starting table. My fellow Unibet Poker Ambassaor David Lappin was staring me down as soon as I sat at the table. I knew he was looking to try and bluff me soon 🙂

Not such luck for him this time as he went for the max value with his QQ v my KK and couldn’t improve. Unlucky David.

 

We analysed this pivotal hand in details with Dara on this Chip Race episode for those who would like to learn more about pre-flop shoving ranges when deep stacked.

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Ryan with Unibet Poker Ambassador Ian Simpson

I also got to meet a super talented American pro Ryan Laplante for the first time. Such a lovely guy and a fun table companion. Thanks for the restaurant tips Ryan and congrats on your 72nd place in the European Open Main Event!

Half-way though the field I got moved to a new table & got seated to a very charming & funny gentleman. He paid me probably the most original compliment in my poker career to date: “ You have the most beautiful hands” he said followed by “If I was 30 years younger I would have given you everything I have”……

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It was all going to plan & it looked like I was on my way for the 3rd cash till I ran into a dominating hand 10 away from the money. Sigh…

 

Oh well, at least it was a fun day and a decent warm up before the main event day 1a the following day I was heading back to the room with a smile on my face.

 

In the morning, I put on my “run good” t-shirt kindly arranged by the Unibet events team, had a lovely brunch at Jardin and was off to play the European Open full of excitement.

The poker room was buzzing with anticipation and it was great to see so many familiar faces and Unibet Open regulars. I managed to sneak a quick catch up with some of the female players before taking my seat and the “shuffle up & deal” announcement.

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With Nataly from Unibet Poker

I ended up playing for more than 12 hours that day and busting the last level of the night with literally only 10min to go before bagging up & sealing for day 2. The worst possible outcome and super tilt!

Unfortunately I got a profitable re-shove spot for my 20bb with AQ and got coolered when running into AK. Sometimes where is just nothing you can do…. #thejoysofpoker

The highlight of my day was having an poker legend Phil Laak seated next to me. I have to admit It was pretty surreal sharing a table with someone who I was used to only seeing and admiring on TV.

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For me poker is all about players like Phil, who regardless of their status and lifetime poker achievements ($3.6mil in winnings + WSOP bracelet) are still the most humble, cool, and friendly opponents at the table taking their time to mingle with others and have as much fun as possible whilst doing their job.

I also had one of the best UK poker talents – Simon Deadman, another British poker pro & coach –Matthew Hunt, my fellow Unibet Ambassador from Estonia – Ben, 2 times Unibet Open main event winner – Mateusz Moolhuizen and a tough online kid from Slovakia called Jan who satellited into the European Open Special Edition for €1 on Unibet Poker online and ended up finishing in 22nd place for $5,031!

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It was probably one of the most toughest starting tables in the room but I thoroughly enjoyed the experience and the challenge 🙂

Saturday was another day and I was feeling hopeful again. I had another shot at trying to make it through to day 2 of the main event.

After a tasty yet super filling breakfast at the award winning Wynn Buffet the jet lagged kicked in again and I was knackered. So I had a little nap before heading to the poker room.

It turned out that a siesta I had was a +EV decision as I immediately got moved to the feature table and sat next to the all-time leader in career online poker tournament earnings just over $14 mil  – Chris Moorman! I definitely needed my brain working on a full power there!

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There was also Swedish footballer Henrik Larsson smiling away and we got tangled in one of the first hands I played and I called off Henrik’s bluff.

It was a very entertaining table with lots of friendly banter at hand. And although sometimes I still feel nervous playing at the feature table it was certainly not one of those occasions. I was touching the shoulders with one of the best poker players in the world I somehow never felt more at ease.

I really enjoyed having Chris to my left; it was fascinating watching him play and learning more about him as a player and person.

He was very open, gregarious and very kind with his answers and time for the fans. A true poker ambassador and I look forward to reading his 2nd poker book that recently hit the shelves.

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I was chipping up nicely and enjoying the great atmosphere typically Unibet events bring to the poker rooms when another poker phenomenon – Andrew Lichtenberger aka “LuckyChewy” got seated to my immediate left.

We seemed to share a mutual passion for travelling with Andrew, hence we enjoyed the next hour or so reminiscing about various wonderful places we have visited and swapping tips for future adventures. It was a fun set up till it lasted and Andrew was a great neighbour at a table to have….that is till he knocked me out of the tournament in another standard spot….

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Andrew Lichtenberger

Regardless of not making day 2 and European Open  Special Edition main event falling short for me, it was one of the most enjoyable poker experienced I had! I mean, how often do you get to stay and play at a 5* hotel, enjoy unlimited free drinks at the tables and rub the shoulders and play against the elite of the world for a $1,100 buy -in?!

The next Unibet Open event will be in Bucharest at the end of November which I’m super excited about as it was the best poker trip of 2016 for me  (and yes It was better that WSOP!:). You can read all about my Romanian UO adventures here.

The next 3 days in Vegas went super quick for me. On Saturday we had a fun day out with the E-gamers and my co Unibet Poker Ambassador Espen behaving like a tourists for the day and exploring the best of Vegas; enjoying In-N-Out Burger for lunch followed by frozen daiquiris from “Fat Tuesdays” , posing with the Transformers outside Madame Tussaud’s wax museum and purchasing pearls hidden in the oysters from the “Pearl Factory”.

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Sunday – Was the darkest day in Vegas’ long history. As he evening was progressing we got the news of a shooting on the strip 😦 It was worrying and the hotel went into full lockdown.

I stayed in my room with my husband watching in horror as the full extent of the situation filtered in on the news and we fielded messages to re-assure family. It put everything else in life into context and my thoughts are with all those effected both now and as they were in the days following the shootings.

Monday was obviously a surreal atmosphere and we stayed around the heavily secure hotel to sort the Chip Race and recording some hand analysis for the Strategy corner with Dara & David.

I really do pinch myself sometimes as to how lucky I am   – I get to talk about something I love located in a suite of a 5 star hotel with the beautiful bird eye view of the Vegas strip with the best friends in Poker. Life can be fickle so I always try to enjoy it to the maximum.

I’m really very proud of Dara & David and the success they have achieved for the podcast; every episode is fascinating and original in its own way and includes the interviews with some biggest names in the poker industry, free strategy content and gossip and news of the current poker affairs presented by Ian Simpson.

 

If you are not a subscriber to this awesome podcast yet, here is the link to do so and thank me later 😉

Work out of the way and it being last night for some of us in Vegas we headed for some team dinner at the Wynn Buffet. We opted for the celebratory 2hour bottomless pours option and made the most of it 🙂

It was a great night out with friends and a lovely in muted ending to a fun trip. Well, financially it could have been better especially if I didn’t hit the cash games with Dara for the one last time before the end of the night. You can find all about my cash game poker moves in this Dara’s blog post

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Super well done to the Unibet Events team on putting up such an awesome and successful stop and congrats and smashing the $400k GTD with an impressive prize pool worth $665,866 in the end! Also a big thank you to Tambet & Lenka for sharing some of their great pics to be used for this post.

Huge numbers are being expected for Unibet Open in Bucharest next and I look forward to seeing you all there! Daiva x

 

 

 

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