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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…

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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 🙂

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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 🙂

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Unibet Open Copenhagen

14 Jun

Following a sunny few days in Barcelona, I was on my way to Copenhagen for more sunshine and poker.

It was my first time visiting this Scandinavian city which I had heard so many good things about and I was looking forward to seeing if it lived up to the hype almost as much as participating in another Unibet Open stop!

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I arrived at the Radisson Blu Copenhagen on Monday afternoon which was to be my home for the next week and the site of a whole load of poker and drinks before the week was out.

It was located very centrally with great views across the city. After settling in I headed for dinner with my fellow Unibet Ambassadors and spent the evening catching up on the least few weeks with everyone.

The following day after some media stuff, we headed out into the immediate area to explore the city and film some content for upcoming videos.

With a beautiful lake and trees juxtaposed to the city we weren’t short of locations to film in, and we began to imbue some of the easy going Danish lifestyle strolling in the sunshine.

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The streets were full of cyclists everywhere you looked and people just strolling about in the sunshine.  An astonishing 50% of commuters in Copenhagen cycle to work and back. It seemed the roads were quiet and calm, without the usual noise of a busy capital city.

It some ways it felt like a town, but it offers most of what you could wish for in a big city. We walked down the inlet canals to the main harbour area and settled at the huge street food market inside an old dockside warehouse called Papirøen.

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There were tons of stalls inside and loads of seating outside next to the waterside with views across the city. We bought a few different foods from around the world and settled into the deckchairs outside to relax in the sunshine.

With an outdoor DJ and an ice cold cider, there wasn’t anything not to like!

After a couple more days of work and exploring the city with repeat visits to Papirøen, it was swiftly Thursday and time for day 1a of the Unibet Open main event.

After breakfast  I returned to my room to find a lovely surprise waiting for me from the Unibet Poker Events Team. A box jammed full with cool branded ‘Ambassador’s’ attire and goodies. With a big smile on my face I changed into my new branded ‘run good’ hoodie and headed down for day 1a.

I decided to play this as I had many friends from the women’s poker community for Unibet that I run online playing that day too. I was excited to see them and  hanging out on breaks.

I had a reasonable start to the tournament, calling down a player with with mid pair on a Q,6,3, 10, Q board who had barrelled 3 streets with A high. My stack remained healthy until taking a dent from a bit of a cooler with AQ v KK on a queen high flop.

I spent the rest of the day on 20bb-30bb with mainly junk and a few ups and downs; In the home country of Hans Christian Andersen however, there was to be no fairytale ending to the day for me 😦

After a big pot missing the flush, I lost my first flip for the rest of my stack, busting just before the end of the first day.

 

 

 

As always though, busting the main is bitter sweet. The welcome drinks party for players was already in full swing, I had a good time chatting with Kenny Hallaert about his great run to the final table of last year’s WSOP Main Event final table.

It is always interesting to get the perspective and advice from a player going so deep in the flagship event. I also got to spend a lot of time with Romanian cash game player Ioana Apostol and Norwegian poker player & blogger Fiona Sand (in the picture above).

It was fascinating to find out more about their background and their future plans. After yet another trip to the all-night petrol station next to the casino for late night munchies at 3am, it was time to get some sleep.

Friday being a free day, a public holiday in Copenhagen and 27 degrees there was only one place I wanted to head. A group of the day 1a players and ambassadors headed back to Papirøen to sit outside, eat loads of food and enjoy cocktails and wine.

The atmosphere was great and I was surrounded by cool and fun loving Danes and great chill out tunes. Regardless to say we stayed all day and didn’t head back to the hotel and casino to the evening.

After trying a very cool game of VR poker against my husband John in the specially set up VR room from Unibet, we headed to the bar to catch up with players and friends.

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Saturday was another beautiful day, and we had planned some video content on boats, but everyone else had got there first so they were all booked out. I headed to have a coffee and film an interview in the sunshine.

Oh, btw I stumbled across this little gem round the corner from the hotel where I had the best coffee ever called – Roast Coffee -which you must try next time you are in the city!

With media work wrapped up, John, me and Dara headed over to Tivoli in the centre of Copenhagen.

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Tivoli Amusement Park

Denmark has won the happiest country in the world award a number of times. I can’t think of another country that has a giant amusement park in the middle of the city, THE MIDDLE OF THE CITY! Now if that isn’t a correlation to making people the happiest on earth then I’ll be surprised!

Enjoying some rides, performances on stage from local children choirs and drinks in the sunshine, I headed for filming with Espen and John and Dara shot off to watch the FA Cup final.

Work done I headed back to see the players in the main who had made the money which included my friend Davis Rinkevicius who was still going strong.

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At Tivoli gardens with Espen

Having skipped the Saturday side event, next up was the Unibet community event which is always a ton of fun. With staff and players from Unibet and occasional wild card it is full of banter, drinks and bluffs!

John’s tactic of hyper aggression to get knocked out so he could dash off to watch the Kell Brook v Errol Spence fight really wasn’t going to plan.

With ever more chips and the ring walk imminent his hand starting range mirrored that of a punch-drunk boxer.

Eventually busting in 3rd and sprinting to the nearest Irish bar, it was down to heads up.

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Final table of the Unibet Community side event 🙂

 

I’m happy to say we ended up with the first female winner of the community event, in her first ever game- so congrats to Julia Griffin 🙂

After that it was time to head to the Unibet players party in a cool nightclub in Copenhagen.

As always it was a mixture of shots, chatting, dancing, shots, new friends, old friends and shots. By the time it was 4.30am it was time to head out for the obligatory sausage in a roll and ketchup from the convenient van outside.

I was now beginning to understand how Danes eat an average of 42 sausages a year- temptation is everywhere!

Sunday came with the standard slightly hurting head and a trip to the commentary booth to cover the final table of the main event.

There was a wide selection of nationalities represented from Denmark to the lesser known Faroe Islands. I was rooting for my Lithuanian friend Deivis and the last female player standing.

Next up was the progressive bounty KO event which was short and sweet for me at least. After securing a bounty, I ended up running 99 into KK in late position looking for another bounty and short stacked; following that a bounty hunter quickly gobbled up my remaining chips.

Congrats to my friend Dehlia de Jong who went deep and finished 10th in the end to get a Danish flag!

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With Dehlia 🙂

Also well played and huge congrats to Estonian player Kaarel Lepik who took down the Unibet open main event for a $84,980 first place prize after coming back from a nearly 12:1 chip deficit.

After a trip for a tasty lunch to Geist ( recommended by Ferran Adrià no less) in Copenhagen centre on Monday, it was time to leave this great city which it also seemed the sunshine had finally decided to do also.

 

 

 

It had been another fun leg. Any Unibet Open stop is the perfect combination of discovering, exploring and enjoying a new city (or returning to an old favourite) and playing poker with some of the friendliest people you’ll meet at the tables. Roll on the next one and a super special stop 🙂

Before that, next blog will be about the UK Poker Tour in Glasgow…

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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