Tag Archives: Baltic Blonde

WSOP 2017 Main Event

12 Sep

A day before the Main Event –  After busting the Ladies Championship, I had a consolation glass of prosecco with Dara before heading back to the hotel for some chill time and food.

The plan was to sort out the money and get the buy-in for the Main Event out of the way that evening to avoid the queues for the next day.

It’s always nice to be heading to the tournament knowing that you have your starting table allocated and your seat waiting for you, especially when it starts at 11am 🙂

Once I had the ticket sorted, I spend the rest of the evening with my hubby hanging out at the T Mobile Arena watching UFC  213 before heading back for a relatively early night’s sleep.

I hoped to replicate the killer instinct I saw in the Octagon at UFC in the biggest tournament of year the next day…

21741559_10159148692005062_1153683934_n

Day 1 Main Event – It was 9th of July- my birthday and I was about to play the biggest tournament of the year that day!

I had a wonderful morning; I received a beautiful bouquet of flowers from my sister as a birthday surprise and then had a coffee & cake (and gifts of course) served to me in bed. I had lots lovely messages to read and cards to open.

It was another sunny day in Vegas and I was feeling very happy 🙂

1e3160b9b948b76f63350f8f99ecf25f

Once I got to Rio Casino and was making my way to my starting table, I was taken aback by the sheer number of people in the corridors; there were thousands of them!  I don’t think I’ve seen so many players in one space before and it was exciting that the Main Event seemed more popular than ever this year.

 

Once I got to my starting table I was pleased to see I didn’t recognise anyone and there were a couple of players enjoying a beer already (It was 11am!)

50k starting stack and 2 hour levels meant I could take as much time as I needed to figure out the players before playing a hand. It was obvious rather quickly that apart from a couple of aggressive players on the table everyone else was playing pretty standard with a few who audibly announced that they were in Vegas “to give it a shot” & “run hot”… players you never mind having at a table in a $10k buy in tournament 🙂

2017 World Series of Poker

7,221 players were fighting for this beauty!

Not much happened in the first 2 levels. I played a handful of hands and increased my stack to 53k going into the first break.

I nipped over to check on my poker friend Deborah Worley Roberts who had worked her way to heads up in the WSOP Ladies event and was playing for the bracelet. It was super exciting seeing someone you know doing so well and railing them for the most prestigious title there is in poker.

As expected there was a huge & loud British rail which could be heard across the Amazon poker room.

The next couple of levels went pretty quickly. I played a few more hands but still probably the least on the table and regardless of having a tight/solid image I made extra chips when calling off a couple of bluffs.

One guy was even berating the other for bluffing me by telling him “She is a Unibet Poker pro, she’s wearing a patch” The other guy goes:  “So?! Lots of pretty girls wear a patch” 🙂 It was certainly useful to hear the 2nd player’s thought process & the player image he had formed in relation to me to which I adjusted to be profitable.

 21754405_10159148691905062_1264751665_n.jpg

I had 67k going into the dinner break and was looking forward to some tasty food & a catch up with my Unibet teammates.

Everywhere was super busy and there were massive queues outside all restaurants. Luckily for us we had a table sorted (courtesy of Dara’s lovely wife Mireille) in a Chinese restaurant at the Gold Coast Casino where we ended up having a lovely relaxed meal.

I was glad to hear that Alan Widmann, Marc Convey and Dara were all doing fine in the Main and were feeling positive and confident. Alan was especially very excited as it was his first WSOP ME and he had a great start, sitting on over 100k in chips already. He was feeling very generous too and kindly paid for our dinner. TY Alan!

I peaked at 80k but finished the day with a comfortable 67k chips and it was time to hit the bar and enjoy a few birthday cocktails with friends 🙂

Day off – I had a very sad and emotional day. I found out early in the morning that one of my uncles had passed away in a tragic accident a couple of days before and no one told me about it because it was my birthday and I was playing the main event. I spent most of the day in bed crying and just nipped out for some food before returning to my room.

 f3d541241ba18739e8f2f2252b026c77.jpg

Day 2 Main Event – No doubt, it was one of the hardest days of poker for me ever. The previous day’s news was still on my mind and I found it hard to hold in the tears but I still had to focus, concentrate and play my A game.

I’d like to say a big thank you to all who were very supportive & caring and helped me get through the day with their kind words & gestures.

Poker wise it was not going to plan; I was seated in BB and lost 30% of my starting stack when playing my first hand. I defended A8ss and my turned straight got beat by the rivered house. I kept on bricking flops whilst my premium pairs got 3-outed post-flop.

I slipped down to 31k after the first level and was relieved there was a break around the corner. I definitely needed some fresh air, coffee and a cuddle. I needed to re-group!

After a good pep talk and some great advice (my friend told me to win it for my uncle and that’s what I tried to do) I was back to the table ready to crush!

The next couple of levels were a massive grind and not much fun at all; I was totally card dead and was running bad. I was very patient & disciplined though, I knew the right spot/hand will come along. I slipped down to 22bb before doubling with AA v AK just before the dinner break.

Mireille once again was in charge of dinner arrangements and we headed to her favourite restaurant in the Gold Coast and possibly Vegas! – TGI Friday’s 🙂

I was glad about the glass of wine waiting for me at the table but sad to hear my close friend Dara had busted the main 😦  He is a world class player who had an amazing WSOP run in 2015, coming 2nd in a bracelet event for $262k but this year he just couldn’t win a flip…

The rest of the Unibet Poker team were still going strong; I loved seeing my friends and my husband at the dinner breaks & spending time together, it was relaxing and a huge confidence boost.

21733111_10159148691830062_81691030_n

I headed back to the table ready for some action. The next couple of levels were all about re-steals. I had a decent English pro Mathew Frankland to my right who was opening very wide, so he was a perfect candidate I could exploit with my sub 20bb stack.

I grinded hard with junk to finish the day on 30k which was equivalent of 15bb and a dream coming back to day 3!

Day off – I had a perfect day off doing nothing poker related. Firstly, enjoying some tasty coffee & fresh bakery for breakfast followed by some yoga, meditation, tasty lunch at Jardin with Marc & John and shopping at Sephora 🙂 In the evening I went to the excellent show called “Absinth” which got recommended by friends and I thoroughly enjoyed.

 Day 3 – Main Event

Day 3 was definitely the most fun day of the Main for me. Although I came back with a short stack and could have easily busted early, I felt if I was due a good few levels and hoped they were coming now.

Everything was going my way from the very start; I had a friendly starting table, I had the best starting seat on the table (button) and position wise I had weak spots to my right & better players to my left. The cards were falling my way too; I was picking hands, hitting flops and holding with the best made hand v draws. I was also super focused and made good reads and subsequently correct folds/calls.

I went from 30k to 197k in the next 4 hours!

If you feel like finding out more about some interesting/key hands I played on day 3, I discuss a few of them in detail with Dara on The Chip Race Podcast

I was chipping up nicely and going into the dinner break I was sitting on around 60bb. My run good continued off the tables too. I found an iPhone 7 in the ladies bathroom and the Chinese lady I managed to get it back to kindly paid all of our meal without us knowing about it! I felt karma should now be on my side to drive me towards a win 🙂

WSOP_2017_Day_3

A quiet level for me and suddenly there were ~1500 players left and we were only 416 places from the money.  The atmosphere in the room was getting more electric and as this grew, so did the numbers of spectators and supporters on the rail.

Thanks to Dara, Marc, Ilana, Elena who were there for continuous support and most importantly my husband John who was on his feet for 12 hours with a constant smile and whom I know for a fact was more nervous than me approaching the bubble 🙂

With around 200 players to go, I got moved to a new table with a chippy to my left who was taking the full advantage of a slower pace & play approaching the bubble.

You could feel the tension in the room as everyone was constantly glancing at the clocks, stalling and smiling every time someone busted. The growing excitement in the room was palpable- it is something that is difficult to describe, but the feeling in the air just changes on a $15k bubble…

21729338_10159148691490062_1383541420_n

Marc holding John’s beer 🙂

I think I only got involved in a couple of pots and was pretty card dead before we were hand for hand. It would be nice to have had a big stack around the bubble, but now quite a bit shorter it was all about playing perfect poker for the circumstances.

There were still over 100 of tables in the room, so dealers had to stand up every time they finished dealing a hand, which was something I’ve not seen being done anywhere else before.

It was funny seeing all the media crew of approximately 20 people + cameras moving along from one table to another where any all in’s were being called on the direct bubble.

money_bubble_wsop2017.jpg

The play was stopped as soon as the bubble burst. It was the best atmosphere I have ever experienced in the poker room! Everyone felt that collective feeling of achievements after a solid, hard three days of intense concentration.

Once I bagged and tagged it was time for a quick drink with my friends and a cab ride home. I was knackered…

 

Day 4 – I was guaranteed a min cash of $15,000, but obviously my plan was to spin my 14bb up & make it through to day 5. One step at a time…

I had a fun trip to casino, my Uber driver was a rapper and I ended listening to his records and him singing me & wishing me well 🙂 And when I learnt that my starting table was located next to the feature table I hoped it was a sign of a long day ahead.

My day unfortunately was very short instead. After just an orbit I picked up pockets 10s which I ran into KK for an exit for $17k in 952nd out of 7,221 and the biggest total since 2010.

21729097_10159148691010062_1086798304_n

I was pleased that I achieved the absolute maximum in the tournament and was destined to bust in this spot, even deeper stacked with the pre-flop action. I’ll be back next year better for more experience in this tournament and hoping to go much deeper.

After grabbing some required sustenance which was preparation for the 2 hour queue to cash-in I was ready to leave Vegas.

We collected our hire car- it was great it was a convertible Mustang, not so great it was bright orange! The next two weeks we planned a road trip, starting with our friends in LA and working our way up to Lake Tahoe. Not a bad consolation for busting the Main especially after a successful and profitable WSOP.

facebook-european-open-live.jpg

Anyhow, I wouldn’t need to wait long to return to Vegas, I’ll be back there at the end of September for the European Open Special Edition with Unibet. I’m excited about being back to stay at my favourite hotel the Wynn, and playing a number of games again in the gambling capital of the world!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Unibet Open London (Part 2)

28 Mar

Post my exit from the Main Event, the next stop was a bar obviously:) I was rather disappointed at that point but a glass of wine and 10 hugs later I was feeling myself again.

I think that one of my favourite aspects about Unibet Open events is that you are always surrounded by friendly and approachable people and there is always someone on the bench happy to interact and have a chat including organisers and players alike.

32253265463_fe09fe36c9_z.jpg

Happy dealers 🙂

Another glass of wine & a few bad beat stories out of the way (not by me:), we decided to head out for some food. I was the only Londoner in the group and felt compelled to take my poker mates somewhere cool and easy.

Busaba – (my most frequently visited Thai restaurant chain in London) seemed like a perfect option for this and I’m glad it was a big hit with the guests too.

Some fresh air, tasty food in a  great company and I ultimately ended up back in action in the £300 Deepstack side event that night:)

We had a pretty insane table draw. It felt like a re-run of the Ambassadors Sit&Go! Unibet sponsored pros Dara and Espen were seated to my right, David K Lappin and Dan Murariu to my left and a very good Scottish player Stuart McNally in between.

17149135_10158702473665179_475007953_o

Side Event, sandwiched between Dara & David

Although it was tough competition, it was a fun table at the same time too. We were having plenty of banter and enjoying some top class lines delivered by David who is a comedian at heart (and a very skilled poker player too). He managed to bluff me off QQ in a 5bet pot whilst telling a joke, so well played David:))

That cheeky bugger eventually took the rest of my chips when my KK couldn’t hold versus his JJ all in pre. Unfortunately it was one of those “run bad”days for me…

I joined the rail and watched David, Dara and Stuart making they way to day 2 before heading home at 3.30am…

Saturday morning I met up with the Unibet Digital team for some filming regarding the upcoming Unibet UK Poker Tour leg in Brighton. It was great experience getting involved in some promotion work & getting to meet the team behind the scenes:)

Official work out of the way, I was excited about catching up with my beautiful Dutch friend Dehlia for a coffee and some Snapchat antics of course (Dehlia is the queen of selfies:)

Not long after, I headed back to the Vic to rail my friends who made day 2 of the ME and the £300 side event.

I was especially excited for my friend Kelly Saxby handling a big stack whilst appearing very comfortable at her table. I was hoping for a deep run and it would have been lovely to see a local female player at the final table.

Unfortunately it was not to be for Kelly and a few hours and a couple of coolers later she was out 4 spots away from the money 😦

Here’s a great interview with Kelly post her exit:

Strangely my friends Dara & Andy Hills busted their tourney’s at a very similar time and 4 of us decided to head out for some food and post hand analysis. That’s what happens when you hang out with poker players, you end up living and breathing poker.

I really enjoy discussing key hands and pots with my mates tho and I truly believe it’s one of the easiest and most effective ways to train & improve your thinking which helps to stay ahead of the fast advancing perpetual poker curve.

Learning-quote-300x300

Some Lebanese tapas and mint tea later we were back to the casino to rail David Lappin & Stuart Mcnally in the side event.

Well done to David  who eventually finished 11th & super well played Stuart who unfortunately missed out on a trophy but pocketed a healthy £ 7,365 for his efforts;)

It was nearly 7pm and everyone was getting very excited for the Unibet Player’s Party later that night.

We decided to skip the side event for the joys of the big night out in London. My hubby John had a few mates visiting him from Manchester and  was having a few drinks at home. So I invited a few friends of my own and had a mini house party to warm up before heading out 🙂

We got to the The Loop Bar at around 12 and the place was buzzing with groovy 70’s tunes and moves to match. It was a swanky 3 floor venue with disco style main dancing floor.

It was so much fun; great dj & atmosphere all-round and I was glad to see so many poker players who seemed very focused at the tables earlier letting their hair down ( some quite literally!) and having a ball on the dance floor.

I was enjoying the cocktails and the music and no surprise ended up dancing non stop till the lights in the club came on…

You can check out the highlights of the Players Party in the video below:)

Next day was all about chilling & resting my achy feet whilst watching the live stream of the day 3 of the Main Event from a comfort of my home. Ever informative and with the usual accompanying witty and insightful commentary it helped pass a day on the sofa quite nicely.

My friend Tamer Kamel was still in with 13 players left but unfortunately bust in 12th.

I was also rooting for a recreational player called Rauno Tahvonen AKA “Estonian Jesus” who was a fun character to have on the UO London final table and follow on the live stream. He was great for table banter and played his heart out to finish in 6th for £13,650. Not a bad payday for a weekends work for a skateboarding instructor 😉

Very well done to a Belgian Gerret Van Lancker the last man standing and the eventual winner of the Record-Breaking 2017 Unibet Open London leg for £ 71,950.

poker-promo-copenhagen-2017-main

And there it was – an end to yet another fantastic & a very successful Unibet Open leg. Well done to all the lovely people involved and I very much look forward to seeing you all in Copenhagen next.

Unibet Open London (Part 1)

7 Mar

I was very excited about the Unibet Open London Leg and had been looking forward to it since my return from their smashing stop in Bucharest last November.

DET_london1

I was glad to learn that the festival was going to be hosted at the Grosvenor Casino better known as “The Vic” which is my favourite casino in London and my local poker room I visit on almost a weekly basis.

I am fond of this venue for a number of reasons; it is usually very well run and has a great floor staff , the vibe at the tables are friendly & welcoming.

The casino itself is placed in a very central location on Edgware Road surrounded by a vast number of restaurants & coffee shops, and only 10 minutes walk away from all the hustle & bustle of the world famous Bond & Oxford Streets.

33049609236_bb303e4e9b_z

The poker room at The Vic

I had no doubt The Vic was going to be a big hit with the new visitors to London for the Unibet Open.

My own Unibet Open London experience started by me heading to the Hilton Hotel where everyone I know & previously met in Bucharest was staying.

It was a great night catching up with friends and meeting new people too but I was the most excited about seeing Dara, Dave and Ian and having a celebratory drink together to toast their success on officially becoming the new Unibet Ambassadors.

d6efc6bcd9 - Copy

Ian Simpson (left), Dara O’Kearney & David K Lappin

Congrats once again guys; all 3 of you are very kind, friendly and fun characters as well as very skilled poker players and I believe you are going to be the perfect representatives for Unibet brand.

I headed to the Vic on Wednesday. The place was buzzing on my arrival; there were satellites to the main event and cash games running, also there were last minute prep work being done for the invitational eSports & The Ambassadors Sit&Go’s.

It was truly great atmosphere all around and I enjoyed being a social butterfly once again:)

I ended up meeting a few professional online gamers including the European Hearthstone Champion Thijs Molendijk and the eventual winner of the eSports Battle Royale – Alan Widmann.

33057800955_5b86096b3d_z

Alan Widmann

All the guys were friendly and approachable regardless of their huge fame in the complex world of gaming (admission here- my knowledge of the world of eSports was zero prior to this evening), so it was interesting getting some insight into their world and understanding some of the parallels with online poker.

Then I got approached by Marc Convey to join him in the commentary booth for the Ambassadors Sit&Go which I happily agreed to.

Marc is always a fun person to hang around with and I was excited about bringing different perspective; female charm and some technical analysis to the table;)

16806782_1294224543995930_5420054598054452556_n

Enjoying commentary stint with Marc:)

The line up for this event was pretty incredible with many very talented & experienced players with staggering live results under their belts.

The Swedish online sensation Viktor Blom , Romanian superstar Dan Murariu and the Irish legend Dara O’Kearney to name a few. I was looking forward to watching them play some great poker.

My bet for the win was on my close friend Dara; he had the most final table experience and is one of the best ICM specialists in the world. I knew he was likely to play a mistake free session.

There was a £10,000 prizepool with top 3 places getting paid 5k,3k & 2k effectively.

Unibet was also offering some great odds on the players to win or bust first, and I placed a couple of bets on my favourites in each category.

Ambassadors-SNG

Unibet Ambassadors Sit&Go

I had a great time and some good banter with Marc in the booth; we even had some Sambucas and managed to send a round of tequila shots to all participants on the feature table:))

The shots were kindly accepted and I was pleased to see the players interacting with each other and having fun (drinking beer, eating bananas and sharing a box of Ferrero:):)

Congrats to Charlotte who eventually outlasted all the storied competitors at the table to take the tournament down.

Here’s the link to replay, the Ambassadors Sit&Go and guest commentary by me starts at 6 hours or so in the stream

32677445000_887439a25f_z (1)

Ian & banana action (left), Charlotte and Espen

It ended up being another late night for me with lots of poker chat, laughter and drinks with both old friends and new.

I took Thursday off to catch up on my sleep, do some yoga and prepare myself a little for the Main Event day 1b the following day. I wanted my head to be clear and feel in the zone for the big game although I have to admit it was very had to reject all the invites to head out.

17149104_10158702476165179_1961249597_o

Hanging out with my new friends:)

Friday – the Main Event. The Unibet Open always attracts a diverse and international player field which usually leads to a fun atmosphere at the tables and all around the festival. This stop was no exception and there were players from Sweden, Holland, Russia and even Singapore on my starting table.

This event has a superb blind structure; with a 30k starting stack and 1 hour clock I was looking to take my time to settle in and profile the players.

Unfortunately poker didn’t go to plan for me and from the very start I was chipping down rather than chipping up:(

I lost a chunky pot with AQcc when flopping top pair +backdoor flush & straight draws, actually turning a nut flush draw and annoyingly bricking the river. I’m pretty sure the had me outflopped so it was an easy fold on a paired river.

Then I picked up KK in the cutoff and elected to open x2.2, the btn called and a very friendly but super aggro Russian player in the BB decided to squeeze 3bet.

I was 70bb deep at that point and my options were to either call or 4bet with the intention to get it in. The only time I would ever consider flatting in this spot if the player who re-raised was very tight & would only be ever doing this for value only with the very top of his range (the same hand or aces).

However noting that my Russian opponent had proved happy to get AKoff all in pre-flop for for 150bb earlier, he was certainly the kind of player I would be looking to play for stacks with a pair of kings.

So I 4bet, he 5bet shipped, I snapped and to my horror he rolled over a pair of Aces…sigh..

sigh-3

GG Main Event

It was a very disappointing exit from the tournament I was looking forward for so long but I knew there was more fun to be had and was looking forward to playing some side events and attending the players party next 🙂 TBC…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sri Lanka

15 Feb

With the festive season out of the way and not much happening in the UK in January poker wise it seemed like a good time to head on a new travel adventure:)

The criteria for this trip was pretty straightforward; It had to be a destination with lots of sun, nice beaches and with plenty to explore; also it had to be a country we have not visited before.

16730271_10158091440855062_6928417102929343124_n

Negombo Beach

After some thorough online research and some tips from friends we decided to settle on two different countries. We picked Sri Lanka for its multi-cultural heritage and the wildlife and Maldives for its beautiful beaches.

We started in Negombo –  the beach resort in Sri Lanka located only 10 km from the international airport.

Although it’s meant to be the 4th largest city in Sri Lanka, I found the place rather small & quiet; there seemed to be only one main road with a few restaurants, shops and mediocre spas which opened later afternoon and were shut before 9.30pm.

16711970_10158091441340062_6433772098374800409_n

John prior the cricket game:)

Day time was all about the sports, music and relaxation by the beach. It was a perfect first Sri Lankan stop for us though, where we could ease our way into the new time zone (5 hours ahead) whilst catching up on sleep & still enjoying the relaxing surroundings.

We wandered around and explored a little in the daytime; got involved in some cricket games with the locals on the beach & got to try Sri Lankan cuisine for the first time which mainly consists of assortment of seafood & vegetable curries + rice. (Spicy !!)

16729500_10158091441440062_458326766519764702_n

Stray dogs were everywhere! (beach restaurant)

Later we discovered Rodeo Pub across the road – a lively sports bar which played great music and served tasty cocktails till 12 am;)

On the 3rd day of our trip, we jumped on a public train from Negombo to Colombo. That was a fun ride!

It was not too busy but with 30’C outside and no air- con on board it felt pretty humid on the train. Conveniently for the locals and tourists alike the train doors did not shut and provide much needed breeze for the travellers.

16708585_10158091440925062_7163040547433695024_n

The train with no doors:)

Crazily enough no one seemed to be bothered about the locals hanging out of the open door on a moving train- to be fair they don’t speed along but still…

Also there were a number of random Sri Lankan food sellers hopping on & off at the stops (moving train) selling the most bizarre food snacks such as dried/smoked fish pieces, colored peanuts and popcorn 🙂

I was very excited about Colombo – the largest city and the commercial capital of Sri Lanka – and was looking forward to exploring its cosmopolitan culture and historic colonial architecture.

16708567_10158091440830062_5736527739319532260_n

Colombo  – walking down the Galle Face Green

We were off to a good start when we stumbled across this very highly rated B&B online called “27” Spathodea & booked it as our hub for the stay in Colombo.

Here’s a shout out to the owners of this little gem – Glenn & Fiona – who not only provided us with a very stylish & cosy room in their beautifully decorated home but also gave us lots of great local recommendations which made our stay in the city so much more fun & memorable:)

We spent one of the days strolling along and admiring the views of the famous Galle Face Green which is an urban park that runs parallel to the seafront.

16708752_10158091439980062_2759227996645467528_n

Temples, floating market & the traffic

Then we headed to the floating market for some shopping and light lunch. The rest of the afternoon passed by visiting various temples…

We got stuck in a traffic on the way back and our tuk-tuk driver was getting more impatient than us…he was taking the shortcuts by driving down the pedestrian paths and pulling out in front of cars driving in the opposite direction. It was a bumpy ride but we came to learn very quickly that this kind of driving is pretty much a norm in Sri Lanka.

16730147_10158091429575062_5878481239386375274_n

Temple on water

We had a wonderful dinner at The Gallery Cafe that night. It’s a beautiful outdoor restaurant which is set inside the former offices of the world renowed Sri Lankan architect Geoffrey Bawa and is connected to an actual gallery displaying the work of the local artists.

The food, service and surrounding were top notch and this was easily the best meal we had in Sri Lanka.

16730676_10158091440965062_5607699766667031980_n

Dinner at the Gallery Cafe surrounded by art

Our final day in Colombo we spent navigating our way around the Gangaramaya Buddhist Temple, which was fascinating and well worth a visit.

It had like 15 different rooms containing random (I mean really random!)  items; there was a room full of sofas and chairs for example.

It had a number of well-maintained outdoor gardens too and meditations areas, also there were hundreds of Buddhas of all sizes and shapes were scattered all over the place.

Despite feeling rather peaceful & calm, the venue felt more like a museum rather than a temple.

16708210_10158091431025062_3171100512780194692_n

Gangaramaya Temple

Whilst on our wanders we discovered a casino and headed there in the evening.

Unfortunately there were no poker tournaments and just one cash table with a punchy 5% uncapped rake, not to mention a long wait for a soft looking table, so we headed for fun on the roulette table.

We met some interesting people around the table including a private jet pilot from the US who worked out of Dubai- explaining that multiple trips and remembering which wife was which (the sheikh had a few) tended to test his memory:)

We even found a way around the bar closing by persuading the bar to serve us beer disguised by being in tea-cups!

16729220_10158091439580062_5509922989763810499_n

Beer in a tea cup action:)

Next up was Kandy- the old ‘capital’ of Sri Lanka where the king had originally resided.

To get there we had the enticing promise of a picturesque two and a half hour train journey. As seems to be standard in Sri Lanka this didn’t really turn out to be the case.

After discovering the engine wasn’t powerful enough to get up the last 45mins hilly climb, we had to wait for 2 hours for a more powerful one. Darkness fell and with it the prospect of the best views….sigh….

16730465_10158091439510062_4573917311350909594_n

Air Con + Cabin TV = Super Luxury Train:)

Kandy itself had a lack of decent hotels, ours had questionable wi-fi, broken TV and clueless receptionists- and this was one of the better ones… The centre itself had zero good restaurant choices and no discernable night life.

Consequently, we ended up in a Chinese restaurant where they had 100 seats, we were the only customers and there were 9, yes 9 staff! To be honest the cricket was on so I think they were all hanging around to watch that really 🙂

The next day was a trip to the famous Tooth Temple (this was average to be honest) some local bakery and then off with our driver to Sigiriya.

16711823_10158091954115062_3744350334222864662_n

Tooth Temple

Our driver happen to be a very friendly and chatty gentleman called Ravi who did a lot to educate us on the vagaries of Sri Lankan life and was unfailingly polite. Do give him a shout if you require a private driver in Kandy (ramanathanm621@gmail.com)

We arrived in Sigiriya in pouring rain. After a couple of months with hardly any rain we were somewhat unlucky. The hotel itself was really nice and we explored the local area sampling hoppers in local restaurants and managed to find a designated wine shop with our new Taiwanese tourist mate so that was an evening in sorted.

16730351_10158091430015062_5887805065681491705_n

Sigiriya rock

The next day was constant rain so- indoor movies and chilling. The following day the sun was finally back and we headed out to tackle Sigiriya.

A huge rock which had been the home to sprawling monastery on the top. People just love a challenge and building this must have been some feat.

After a somewhat hairy ascent we were rewarded with amazing views and that feeling of satisfaction on climbing quite so many steps (nearly a 1000)!

 16684273_10158091429895062_1863398265468956696_n

We then stopped for lunch in a local and small eatery. The father and daughter couldn’t do enough for their only customers ( the place had 3 tables) and it was as local a dining experience as you could hope for.

Leaving ourselves in their hands there were 6 dishes on the table, then up to 9, then finally 14!!! We felt bad getting nowhere through them… The £6 bill seemed crazy so we left a healthy tip and very, very full.

16729009_10158091429695062_7019727096562533485_n

Sri Lankan lunch feast!

The afternoon consisted of an elephant hunt in the local national park. I mean, not literally- we just wanted to see some! Finally we discovered a family in the wild chewing away at trees and we were 40 metres or so away.

After some photos we remembered we were only in a tuk-tuk and they are huge and I imagine scary if disturbed so we headed back to the hotel.

We went on the search for a restaurant in the evening- it was a Saturday but most were empty or shut so it proved fruitless and we decided to head back to the hotel. On the journey back the tuk-tuk driver had to swerve suddenly, there was a wild elephant just strolling down the dark road. Not something you see every day on the streets of Camden 🙂

The following day we headed to the airport for our flight to Male and to begin our Maldives adventure in earnest. All of that and some poker in my next blog…

Unibet Open Bucharest

20 Dec

Unibet Open Bucharest was the best poker trip of 2016 for me & yes, just in case you are wondering, that includes the WSOP run too 🙂

Here’s why I enjoyed the whole Unibet Open experience so much:

Destination:

I’d been to Romania previously, but never to Bucharest and I can say honestly it surprised me! It was a cool city with lots to offer.

With a fascinating history (like everywhere some good/ some bad) it was rich in architecture with some lovely old buildings in the old town and of course the hugely imposing Palace of the Parliament which was once the biggest private residence in the world!

15555718_10157767745035062_1930464331_n

Bucharest’s Old Town

The day after the Ladies Battle Royale ( see previous blog) I spent exploring the city with with Dara O’Kearney and his lovely wife Mireille.

The vibe all around was friendly and the food in delicatessens tasty and the shopping centres pretty expansive.

When a shopping centre has a roller coaster and ice skating rink you may want to limit the food and wine.

Of course we failed at both and after some tasty Lebanese cuisine we headed to stock up on Prosecco for the hotel parties ( we knew there would be parties:) in the local supermarket.

15555816_10157767745390062_1934910435_n

Enjoying Lebanese with Dara & Mireille

I must confess to a strange fascination with exploring supermarkets in foreign cities across the globe.

The array of different and tasty food, different local choices and people watching is always fun. 

Confession here- favourite supermarket from trips- ‘Kirk’s’ in Grand Cayman; least favourite Mercado 2, Havana… anyway I digress….

3096729790-466ec9e86a-o

Supermarket in Havana

Other highlights from the day was continual good food, cheap taxis and wine, decent city walks, great company and like any good Lithuanian appreciates readily available beetroot salads…

We were also to discover Bucharest has a fun party nightlife, but more on that later…

Hotel:

It is always nice when you turn up to your hotel and it’s a cheeky 5 star number and the tournament is also being hosted there! The Marriott Bucharest is a stunning hotel with spacious rooms and a good array of facilities.

Poker stressing you out, there’s a spa and pool. Want to keep your body agile as well as your mind, there’s a fitness centre. Hungry, 5 restaurants. Sports betting and want to watch the match- there’s a bar for that also.

buhro_phototour60

The indoor pool

All poker players know the immediate aftermath of an exit from a tournament is a depressing time, but the environment can sure help pick you up and it did ( no spoiler here) when I ultimately got knocked out.

Basically the opposite of walking out of the Amazon Room at the Rio, thirsty with no decent food nearby and the cab queues…

buhro_phototour124

One of the bars & chill out zone

Breakfast was amazing and depending on your personal time choice was available at 11am and also if you wanted a really early breakfast on the way home from a particularly big night… well the Romanian KFC one street away from the hotel did a great line of tasty dishes, complete with the next day shame of in room packaging and remaining cold chip 🙂

The Main Event:

With two starting days I decided on day 1b on the Friday. Firstly it gave me a day off to explore Bucharest prior and secondly I prefer Friday players in poker tournaments- it’s always fun with a higher proportion of recreational players playing and their table chat is usually more entertaining. 

15555833_10157767745000062_1946136649_n

Feature table

Anyway, once I’d sat down to play it was obvious it was shaping up to be the biggest Unibet Open ever and with 603 entries it was!

The generous guarantee was comfortably smashed. With a €1,100 buy in and 30k starting stack, plenty of play was guaranteed with a 1 hour clock.

My starting table included 2 Israelis, 3 Romanians and Gaelle Garcia Diaz who had played in the Unibet Ladies Battle Royale. It was a fun table with plenty of banter, as a minority at the table us ladies were welcomed and somewhat of a novelty.

We were the feature table after a couple of levels, with plenty of action and also a couple of players really determined to get action whatever the cost to their stack!

15326212_1269737523049089_3490252589999777263_o

Just after busting the Main Event – wine time:)

I was card dead so grinding away, as I ended up doing the majority of the day. A,10 costing me chips vs. KJ sb/bb and a number of other shoddy run- outs for me.

With efficient friendly dealers it always seemed fun regardless and you learn not to get frustrated if spots and hands aren’t coming your way.

Later in the day I was on the feature table again, this time with Renè Dif (vocalist and writer from the band Aqua). 

31335722536_26b5a9cf9a_z

Rene Dif on the right

A lively, friendly character I was able to forgive him for the polarising smash hit Barbie Girl from the mid 90s. Polarising because my 13 year old self loved it, but my older self now isn’t so sure…sorry Renè 🙂

After a long days play my ultimate exit was pretty frustrating. I squeezed jammed from the BB with AJ and got called by the early position raiser. I was in great shape against his J8dd but the run out did not play ball and a flush sent me to the rail.

31277221872_c728c3c66f_z

Traian Bostan – Main Event winner

Have no fear though, the lounge area and drinks were waiting along with a number of unfortunate bust buddies (Dara, Ian Simpson, David Lappin & Kat Arnsby to mention a few) and we had a good time there chatting and drinking until around 4am.

Congrats to Traian Bostan for an awesome performance and the 100k winner’s prize. Nice to see a local lifting the trophy.

Side Events/Fun tournaments:

Busting the main didn’t mean that poker was over for the trip. There was a strong array of side events including a 6-max tournament, PLO, Turbo, Bounty and high roller event.

There were also satellites for the main event and high roller prior to these for live players in Bucharest to join those who satellited online.

15555666_10157767745765062_1617993854_n

The Unibet Community side event

The side events had the continued friendly feel I’d come to expect on the trip. I especially enjoyed the Unibet Community side event.

It was free to enter as long as you were a community member and lots of fun. With drinks on offer and bounties on various people’s heads I met new interesting community regulars and Unibet staff members also.

Here’s the link to the Unibet Community  if you wish to be a part of this fun experience on the next Unibet Open stop. 

Ambience and Atmosphere:

My earlier points will mean it comes as no surprise to discover the general atmosphere across the events was  fun and friendly.

This has been lacking in recent tournaments I’ve played elsewhere and it reminded of the funner days of poker when I first started to fall in the love with the game.

31264128182_c579001c16_z

Carl & Robin having some poker fun:)

Plenty of banter and people enjoying a beverage, and a lot less Beats headphones and scowls from jaded professionals.

It was nice to be congratulated on my ladies Battle Royale win from complete strangers, and indeed make new friends.

The poker room itself was a beautiful Grand Ballroom, just outside the main lounge. It had plenty of space and places to chill and rail mates.

When busting there was always someone new who wanted to have a chat and I think the community feel has helped everyone feel more inclined to approach others.

We even got to do a Poker Mannequin Challenge featuring over 300 players, staff and media!

 

Coverage and Streams:

You don’t have to take my word for it on the Unibet Open you can stream and enjoy the banter and coverage throughout. Whether watching the live stream of one of the events, or catching up on Pokernews updates from the diligent Frank Op de Woerd, you can always get a good insight into what is happening.

Marc Convey and David Vanderheyden were responsible for the live stream and they always bring the entertainment with witty and insightful commentary and observations.

I was lucky enough to join Marc in the commentary booth along with Dara for a period of streaming for the feature table.

15555999_10157767746130062_183368067_n

Marc Convey on the left & Carl, the champ of the Unibet staff event;)

Concurrent to our comments, there is a live chat section suitable for railers, community members, hand opinions, exclusive Unibet Freerolls and even the occasional ( quickly deleted 🙂 trolls…

I enjoyed being part of the commentary albeit briefly and really appreciated how difficult it is to keep the banter and fun flowing so feel free to check Marc and David doing just this on some of the replays on the Unibet Twitch Channel.

Entertainment and the Players Party:

As anyone knows who regularly attends poker tournaments, there are plenty of players who enjoy socialising, a few beers and cocktails, or even just drowning their sorrows/ or indeed celebrating with friends!

With welcome drinks and cocktails as well as live music – Unibet got the ball rolling for all players.

The highlight of the weekend’s fun being the Players Party on the Saturday night with coaches laid on from the hotel to the venue- the aptly named Players Club.

15494003_10157767745940062_29364614_n

With Kat & Linnea from the Ladies Event

With drinks vouchers provided for players I had more joy spinning these up from the 2 vouchers I arrived with to a mysterious 13 vouchers remaining in my purse the next day. I’m still bemused by this as I’d had quite a few already on arrival..

The club itself was pretty spectacular with a massive luxury interior, great music and some of the sexiest dancers you could wish to see. I had a great time dancing (see no.2 in favourite past-times) and fun with the girls.

My evening was somewhat derailed after having to down a massive Absinth shot following losing a bet, but a vomit inducing trip to the toilet resolved this.

31043575460_f1c8b0c115_z

Player Club

The club was still rocking when we left around 4am, open until 6am. I told you the Bucharest locals like to party…

Final Thoughts:

Unibet and their staff did a great job in running a successful and fun event. All the Unibet team members were approachable and interacted with the players throughout the event. 

15350640_1343111969055932_1603806211834943344_n

Unibet Team

Dealers, TD’s and support staff all did a fantastic job of making this poker festival a huge success. 2017 promises to be bigger and better for the Unibet Open. The first main event is in London at the end of February.

I look forward to seeing many of you there for another exciting & successful Unibet stop 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

Unibet Ladies Battle Royale

9 Dec

I was kindly invited by Unibet to participate in their Ladies Battle Royale which was an invitation-only side event and part of the Unibet Open Bucharest stop.

I was very excited and looking forward to this event as I’m a big fan of ladies only tournaments as I believe it is a great way to promote the game as well as attract more female players to poker; plus they are always so very enjoyable 🙂

15267998_1267741849915323_4601225052538053793_n

Unibet Ladies Battle Royale

The concept for the event was pretty simple; it was a 9 handed sit & go, with 6,000 prizepool and top 3 places paid.

What made this Ladies Challenge fascinating & unique is that it had a great mix of poker players, poker enthusiasts & female gamers alike from very different backgrounds .

There were 7 different European nationalities represented at the event with each female bringing their unique playing style and personality to the table. There was no doubt this was going to be a great fun poker experience!

Here’s a link to a mini bio of all participants: Unibet Ladies Battle Roayale 2016

15230587_10157678711490062_795022970194651337_n

Despite most of the girls meeting each other for the first time on the day of the challenge, unsurprisingly there was a lively atmosphere at the table from the very start. All of us were chatting and joking away whilst learning more about each other.

A great structure of a 20k starting stack & 40min levels ensured that there would be lots of play and there was no rush to aggressively accumulate chips or flip for your tournament life early doors.

I find it is always such a good confidence boost to have a great start on the day, which I was lucky to have on this occasion; I got allocated the best starting seat at the table – the button, and then I scooped the first pot too.

I felt great and it seemed like a good time to order a glass of wine. This may have been a recurring theme through the game 😉

15232125_1267742116581963_8221456111529600411_n

Focused – prob thinking of a 3bet:)

My strategy for this event was rather conservative in the early stages and to aim to gradually build my stack whilst avoiding high variance spots.

I felt that I had a post-flop advantage versus the majority of players, an exception being a very talented & experienced Romanian poker player Luciana Manolea, who was sitting to my immediate right.

The plan was to avoid any major early confrontations with her unless I had a premium starting hand and play a wider range of hands versus the rest of the table.

Unfortunately that meant I had to hold myself back from light 3betting which was especially hard to adhere to from the SB v Luciana’s button opens but that’s ok as I was saving those moves for the Main Event instead:)

30531772723_5b2c1b447f_z

Linnea on the left & the runner-up Kristi on the right

All the girls were lovely and they played well, however I was especially impressed with Linnea Maria from Norway, who despite having very little poker experience showed some very strong & ballsy moves and was enjoying herself to the max.  I think she has certainly lots of poker potential:)

We were having so much fun and time was flying by so quickly, before I knew it we were on the the money bubble with 4 players left.

One of the most enjoyable aspects of the Unibet Ladies Battle Royale format compared to some other ladies events I played in the past was that it was being streamed live on Twitch with a 15min delay & live commentary.

With Marc Convey and David Vanderheyden providing witty and insightful commentary, as well as Unibet promotions for viewers and an active chat box of banter and predictions I’m hoping this kind of format will attract more and more poker players into the game and feel part of a growing community which Unibet is fostering.

You can find the replay of the Ladies Challenge and many other fun broadcasts on the Unibet Twitch Channel.

15317750_10157744966970062_1226362275641384803_n

Dehlia & I being silly off the tables:)

It was also a great feeling knowing that you had lots of family and friends railing and bringing some run good to the stream. This was also an extra motivation for me to keep on playing my A game and try my utmost to win.

We were 4 handed for quite a while before Dehlia de Jong from Netherlands ended up being the bubble girl. I was sad to see her go in 4th; I thought she played well and got unlucky to run top pair into 2pair (sb v bb) to bust. I liked her as a person a lot and I feel we really bonded throughout the game so I was secretly railing her to cash.

Although I barely lost the chip lead throughout the whole tournament, when 3 handed the stacks were becoming a bit shallower & play much faster.

The fact that I was covering both of them enabled me to play more hands and put max pressure on my opponents for their tournaments lives. I could also afford to run a couple of bluffs, even if they didn’t always work 😉

31303401426_700d10b18a_z

Maret – 3rd place finisher

Both Estonian girls seemed to have adjusted to short handed play rather well and were playing aggressively also, especially against each other.

I ended up taking out Maret Komarova (the Unibet Ladies Challenge last years winner) in 3rd with my pocket 9,9 v her 10,6 button shove. It was a nice time to pick up a hand and hold.

Heads up lasted just 2 hands- fortunately my close friend and study buddy Dara O’Kearney  had just arrived from the airport in time for the victory. I got it all in with a big chip lead with A,5 suited against J,8 and busted Kristi Kirs in second and I was the winner!

Well done to both girls for cashing and thanks for being a great company at the table ♥ Here is a little youtube video of the Ladies Battle Royale

I was really pleased to win the event and also bag a Romanian flag for the Hendonmob. I hope the Twitch stream made for interesting viewing and gave a good insight into how much fun can be had in the relaxed fun atmosphere that Unibet had created for this tournament.

30535143093_0e4ae8a012_z.jpg

Winner winner 🙂

I really hope the ladies invitational in some capacity will become a regular feature on the Unibet Open tour. Anything that encourages women of all abilities to play poker can only be a good thing in this hugely male dominated game.

I spent the evening celebrating the win with (yet more wine:) and a nice meal with friends. It had a been a memorable and fun way to start the trip and I was looking forward to the main event after a day off exploring Bucharest.

All this and more in my next blog covering the rest of the awesome Bucharest Unibet Open leg….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Palm Beach Big Game

16 Jan

Having had a few relaxing weeks whilst spending Christmas with my family in Lithuania and then after joining my friends for New Year’s celebrations in Florence, I was very much looking forward to being back in the UK for some poker action.

First up in my 2012 poker schedule was the Palm Beach Big Game. Now there’s nothing like a few days in a beautiful Italian city full of Prada, Versace and more to provide a young lady with an incentive to do well in her next poker game!

Palm Beach London

Palm Beach Casino London

January’s game not only attracted a respectable 68 players, but surely given the small field and number of great players, one of the toughest to be found in the UK in the last 12 months

Praz Bansi, James Akenhead, Matt Perrins, Sam Trickett, James Dempsey, Luke Schwarz- (I could continue- but you get the idea) were all ready to commence battle for the 20k approx first prize!

Inevitably I got a few quality pros on my table including Nik Persaud sitting 3 seats to my right and Ross Boatman 3 seats to my left.

The action was fast and furious with Nick being the table aggressor and subsequently taking the highest percentage of the pots down. Perhaps the most debatable hand at the table was when he got involved with Luke Schwartz:

Nick raised it up in late position and received a quick 3bet from Luke seated on the button. Everyone else got out of the way and Nick elected to flat. Mind you I should mention that Luke late registered for the game and this was his second or third hand he played at the table!

The flop brought 6,9,5 rainbow and Nick elected to check. Luke thought about it for a bit and before announcing “ooooops”  after making a bet of 5k into around 700 pot whilst looking pretty cheeky… Was he bluffing or did he really have a decent hand, it was really tough to tell at the time.

Anyhow, back to the hand. Nick went into the tank and the clock was nearly called before Nick made a decision to go all in.

Nikhil Persaud

Nik Persaud

Now it was clearly obvious that Luke wasn’t happy at all! He only had about 3k behind, and although he was totally pot committed, he was very reluctant to make the call and was taking his time before his final move.

He did call in the end and tabled Q, 10 for a cold stone bluff whilst Nick showed 6,8 for a medium pair and a gutshot draw.

A brick on the turn and river and we had another casualty…Luke wasn’t happy with the call but didn’t get angry this time and peacefully left the table.

I was ticking along ok with no premium hands and had an action packed table I still managed to make the first break with just slightly below average chip stack under my belt:)

Downing a couple of cups of mint tea (NYE had been very messy) whilst catching up with familiar faces and a quick nip outside for some fresh air and I was feeling refreshed and ready to continue with the tourney.
Unfortunately my dry spell of cards continued and my stack was heading south when I failed to take a couple of entered pots in position after making some moves.
I was in a “sit out” mode for an orbit or so, before I looked down at my hand to find KK – FINALLY!

Baltic Blonde

I had a funny stack of around 13bb at the time and when folded down to me in the cutoff I had to make a quick decision in terms of how to proceed with my cowboys.

I didn’t want to shove as it would be too much action unless someone was to find a decent hand behind me, but with my tight image at the time they would probably even fold a low pocket pair or A, 10, in that spot, so I decided to get either action, or preferably a 3-bet.

So I min raised and the button who only had 9bb stack only flatted which was fine with me and action was on Ross Boatman next who was sitting in the SB.

Ross thought about it for a bit whilst eyeing me up and has concluded he could make me fold. Therefore he proceeded to make a squeeze play by shipping half of his stack in the middle.

I was pretty sure Ross wasn’t folding now which the relative stacks, but still took my time playing it cool before putting the rest of my chips in.
The button guy quickly folded and I looked up at Ross’ face to see him kicking himself as he now knew he was calling behind, but couldn’t really get away.
He called and tabled A,5.  I lasted until the turn before he spiked an ace, and I was on my way!

No regrets though, played as well as I could and hopefully it was not a sign of how I’ll run in 2012!

Well played to Philip Porter – online qualifier – who emerged a winner in such a high standard field.

If you fancy a shot at a big score and rubbing your shoulders against the UK’s best poker players, there is a weekly £27.50 qualifier into a monthly £150 buy in satellite where you can win a seat to the Palm Beach Big Game.

After that you are only one game away from that new Rolex or Prada handbag! Good Luck!

UhlenPoker

Just another WordPress.com site

Doking around in cyberspace

My Adventures in Poker & Travels

D K Lappin

My Adventures in Poker & Travels

Thinking Poker

My Adventures in Poker & Travels

CardPlayer.com Blogs

My Adventures in Poker & Travels

My Adventures in Poker & Travels

%d bloggers like this: