Tag Archives: unibet open

Easter in Lithuania and the Millions

9 May

I try to go and see my family for Easter every year as we have so many beautiful traditions back home celebrating it and it is also a good excuse as any to spend some quality time with the loved ones.

In Lithuania (and many other countries I’m sure) it is a custom to hard boil some white shelled eggs and then we make them look pretty by painting and decorating them with the beeswax and onion shells.

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The following morning on Easter Sunday you bash your personally painted eggs against other peoples and the one which doesn’t break after the round, wins!

Think a strange conker based Easter contest, and you are pretty much there 🙂 It is believed that the person with the strongest egg will have the best health for the year.

Easter morning we woke up to snow, which was a nice surprise. It was the first time in years it had snowed at Easter, and it added an extra romance to the traditional visit to church, where they had a fantastic tree decorated with 7500 eggs outside the venue!

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Easter Tree 🙂

 

We spent the rest of the day celebrating with friends and family, plenty of food and drinks and also I had my God-Daughter staying for the evening with us which was lovely.

Even at Easter there is time for poker, and Sunday evening I played day 1 of the Party Poker Millions online. It was a tough, late night game with Lithuania being 2 hours ahead, but happily I made it through to the live day 2 and before I knew it, I was saying goodbye to the family and heading back home and on to Nottingham.

I was feeling confident and excited about going to Nottingham as lots of my poker mates I had not seen for a while were going to be there and also because I was heading with the dream of being the player that walks out of Dusk till Dawn poker room with £1million pounds for shipping the tournament.

As it turns out, another woman got to experience that amazing feeling instead.

When I arrived at my starting table for day 2 of the main event I seriously couldn’t believe the table draw.

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Pretty sure Martin Jacobson was looking to min cash 🙂

I have a feeling it was one of the toughest starting tables in the room which included just the 3 ‘November Niners’ –  James Akenhead, Martin Jacobson and Sylvain Loosli, plus some other capable players as expected.

As anticipated it was rather aggressive table with higher than average opening and 3betting frequency from the very start. This worked well for me as I was playing 25bb stack and was looking for spots to exploit this.

I made some chips when getting a light 3bet through and then won a decent pot when defending BB and calling two streets with a bluff catcher.

It was all going to plan till I picked up AhKc and decided to slow play- calling a raise in order to induce a squeeze from the very active players to my left. Unfortunately for me after a little deliberation, the squeeze wasn’t forthcoming and regardless of flopping top pair and top kicker I ended up busting to QJ who turned a flush and I could not hit any of my 11 outs on the river for survival.

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I was rather disappointed I didnt have a deeper run but I was happy with my play and was playing with some of the best players in the world.

I spent the rest of the day catching up with mates over some food and compulsory wine whilst also enjoying a very entertaining football match between Man United v Anderlecht as my friends Gary and Lee are big fans and United is my default team 🙂

Next day I discovered one of the nicest coffee shops/restaurants in Nottingham called Delilah which Gary had recommended to me.

It was set in an old Victorian building serving all the fine foods and local produce. It was good to see a different part of Nottingham, and it is exciting I’ll be back to explore more as Unibet have made this a stop on their UK Poker Tour later this year!

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Delilah Fine Foods

After a healthy & tasty brunch at Delilah I decided to head back to DTD for the 8-Max side event which had a 1 million guaranteed prizepool and was likely to have an overlay.

We swapped some action with my friend Lee Atherton and off we went to chase dreams again!

I had a cheerful table with lots of banter and fun play. I also had an early double up with flopped 2 pair v turned 2 pair and since then never looked back and ended up cruising to day 2 with a healthy stack.

Chips bagged and sealed I headed to the players party to join the rest and get some exercise in whilst dancing the night away 🙂

It was a beautiful day on Saturday and I had an easy morning doing some yoga, window shopping and enjoying some great coffee and pastries outside in the sunshine. I went back to DTD feeling positive and confident with the hopes for a great day.

I had a decent starting table and was ticking along ok till I lost 22bb with AQss v 78ss aipf and then I was hovering around 35bb stack before getting moved to a new table.

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Philipp Gruissem focused!

Philipp Gruissem was sitting two to my left and was no doubt the most experienced player there with over $10mil in Hendon Mob cashes under his belt.

It was cool watching him being totally composed and in control when grinding his short stack. He made an awesome hero call for his tournament life to get back in contention and start bossing the table just before I got moved again.

The atmosphere in the room was getting a bit tighter and more intense and the play was slowing down as we were approaching the bubble. We were 5 away from the money when I picked up KK and got it all in pre-flop. The other guy had AQ; Ace on the flop and gg for me 😦

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I was gutted…. Not with Kings again! Sigh… I seem to be on this curse where I either run into KK or get them cracked for an exit.

Luckily for me the bar was still open and I had lots of friends around to cheer me up…. Also my friend Lee cashed so it wasn’t all bad.

Sunday was my last day in Nottingham and all about the Ladies event which I was very much looking forward to.

Plus there was a final table of the Millions Main even running at the same time and it was amazing to see two great female players still in the mix including my friend Katie Swift representing the UK female poker community 🙂

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Katie Swift

 

 

Although I lost a flip to bubble the Ladies final table, I had a great time catching up with friends and seeing Maria pick up the biggest trophy and the biggest pay out outside the highroller buy in events in Europe.

It was a superb week for women in poker with Katie finishing in 7th for £100k, Maria Lampropoulou winning the Main Event for a whooping one Million and Sylvia Hewitt coming 5th in the 6-max side event for £20k.

Everyone should know by now that I’m passionate on getting more women into the game and this was a tremendous advertisement for what women can achieve!

Hopefully more female players will return to the felt or make the first steps into the live arena.

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I will be heading to Barcelona in a few days for a friend’s wedding and then the Unibet Open in Copenhagen at the end of May. I look forward to seeing some of you there 🙂

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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;)

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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.

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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

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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.

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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..

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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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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!

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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.

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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….

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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.

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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…

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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. 

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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!

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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). 

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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. 

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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 🙂

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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

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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 😉

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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:)

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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.

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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 😉

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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.

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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….

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

San Sebastian

25 Nov

So it’s been a while since I updated my blog, but I’ve decided to revive it. It will focus primarily on poker, but also some of my other two passions in life; travels and dining experiences 🙂

I’ve not played much live poker in the last few weeks, so I’ve been taking time to catch up with friends and family and travel a bit instead.

My most recent trip was to San Sebastian. It was somewhere I’d wanted to go for quite a while now, so I was really excited to see if it lived up to my expectations.

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San Sebastian

We originally flew into Bilbao and then it is an hour coach to San Sebastian itself. Alternatively you could jump on a train, but ironically it takes longer than the coach as there are too many scheduled stops.

The place sits on the coast with nice beaches and vistas and is famous for it’s amazing food and restaurants.

Unfortunately, it rained non-stop for the first two days we were there, and it was cloudy too but this didn’t dampen our enjoyment and we still managed to have-lots of fun.

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Exploring San Telmo

Armed with recommendations from friends and the hotel, we headed to San Telmo which is the old town area of San Sebastian.

There is street after street of pinxtos and tapas bars and we headed to Borda Berri to begin with. 

A bustling place where you just find a spot to perch ask for a red wine and then pick some tapas. We started with foie gras which was amazing, followed up with some great braised pork, seafood risotto and octopus. We ended up returning there 3 times over the weekend the food was that good!

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Foie Gras – the best I had!

Now the most amazing thing is that each dish is either 3.30 euros or 3.80 euros and wine is 2 euros! For quality of food for the price it is easily the best value of anywhere I have been.

The Saturday we spent exploring the town, heading around the coast to the port and stopping for tapas and wine at various spots throughout.

You find you settle down for hours at a time in a tapas place and lose track of time in food and wine. Another day was over before we knew it…

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Pintxos Bar

Sunday was still rainy and we were booked into Mugaritz. We were excited to try this restaurant as it was ranked 7th in world and holds a couple of Michelin stars.

The tasting menu was 25 course & very wide array of different dishes. I know it sounds  a lot but they are rather small and I’ve managed to eat or at least try  all of them 🙂

Most of the dishes were seafood based and some were pretty unusual to say the least.

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Lunch at Mugaritz

Part of the dinning experience and the highlight of the meal for me at least was having an opportunity to visit the kitchen; which is split across 3 floors and has a mind boggling 44 staff on any given day.

Overall the meal was good and a great experience, however it wasn’t amazing, or worth the money we paid in my opinion.

I’ve been lucky enough to have eaten in significantly better places for less.

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Sunshine is out!

We rounded off Sunday with more tapas and wine at one of our trip favorites –  Atari Gastroteka and Monday the sun came out finally. It showed the town in a new light. I can imagine it is really great here in summer, so we will definitely be heading back for that and enjoying the beaches, and more wine and tapas.

This weekend I’m heading to Zurich to see friends and then I’m going to be visiting Bucharest for the first time which I’m very excited about.

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Bucharest

I’m there for 6 days and I’m playing the Unibet Open which promises to be a great event and I’ll probably jump in some side events too.

My next blog promises to be a mixture of poker and travel, as for the culinary delights of Romania, well we shall wait and see…

 

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