19 October 2007

Visiting Vegas

I have been back in Vegas for almost a week visiting Maya and Mila upon returning from the EPT Baden and WPT Barcelona. Neither tournament was a success for me, but the online cash games were running strong and I managed to win my fair share. I have not played this much online in a long time. If I was not in the tournament or in the gym I was grinding away online.

First tournament was the Baden EPT. Instead of staying in Baden, I stayed in Vienna, which meant I had to take a 40 minute cab ride each day to get to the Casino in Baden. I was planning on staying at the Le Meridian, but I booked my room too late and was not able to get a room. Le Meridian in Vienna is one of my favorite hotels. I did manage to get a room nearby at Hotel Bristol, which turned out to be a fine place to stay.

Vienna is a wonderful city and I like having a better selection of restaurants, gyms, and other attractions a big city has to offer. Vienna was also hosting an ATP tennis tournament the same week and I managed to watch quite a few matches on TV.

After Vienna I took a short flight to Barcelona, another one of my favorite cities. The great thing about the WPT Barcelona was that they started each day at 5pm. This was terrific; you could enjoy the nightlife, play cash games or online games all night and still get enough sleep before the tournament. I have a morning routine, which includes working out, so the late starting time is great for me. Although on Day 1 I still managed to show up an hour late.

My first table at the WPT Barcelona was a very good table for me, only one known player, Ram Vaswani. But since I was late, they took my chips and made me redraw for a starting table. My new table had Barry Greenstein, Jani Sointula, Steve Zolotow, Alex Kravchneko, and Joe Elpayaa. There was not a soft spot anywhere at the table.

I played very tight and I lost every single hand I played, fortunately they were all small and medium sized pots, so I was hanging around. Just before the dinner break I made a move with AT diamonds and the SB called me with AK and I was out.

I am always happy to go out early in the tournament, because I know I did not sacrifice so many hours and not get paid. The most frustrating thing is to play for three days and get 15th place and hardly make any money. I went back to my room, ordered some room service and played online all night. I had a nice little win and booked a flight for the next morning and was in Vegas later that day.

If you have been following the online action lately, you have seen that I had a few great limit hold em sessions against HOSS_TBF. He plays a little different than normal limit hold em specialists. It took a little while for me to figure out what he was doing. Limit hold em heads up is a great game, which requires a lot of aggression and there is a lot of bluffing involved. Not laying down your hand when you are beat can cost you a lot of money, so folding at the right time is very important.

A lot of people might think of me as a PLO and NL specialist. But my limit games are very strong at the moment. Actually I mostly played short handed and heads up limit hold em for a year straight when limit hold em was the biggest game online. I was a little rusty the first few session against Hoss, but lately I have getting the best of him.

Despite winning a lot of money online during the trip, I managed to hurt my back and shoulder while working out. My shoulder needs about a week or two off before I can start hitting tennis balls again.

The reason I flew back to Vegas was for Poker after Dark. I did some work with NBC for some upcoming commercials and promotions. I had a very tough heat. Roland De Wolfe, John Juanda, Johnny Chan, Gus Hansen, and Daniel Negreanu were my table mates. The buy in was $20,000 and it is winner take all. It was a tough table but I had a lot of fun, should make for some good TV.

Maya’s best friend was staying at the house for a few days; she also just had a baby, a boy. So Mila has her first friend and they had a lot of fun playing with each other.

I have a few weeks in Vegas before heading back home to Monaco. The trip I am really looking forward to is to Australia for the Aussie Millions and for some Grand Slam tennis at the Australian Open. Melbourne is a beautiful city and I am bringing the whole family to this one.

Thanks and good luck at the tables


09 October 2007

A Few Days At Home - And A New Hobby

I got back to Vegas last Saturday from a long European trip, but now I’m recovering from yet another 16-hour flight across the Atlantic back to Europe. This was a rough trip because I had three flights to get there. It started with a Southwest flight to LA. Once I arrived at LAX I had to pick up my bags at baggage claim and check in again at Lufthansa for my flight to Frankfurt. My final flight was Frankfurt to Vienna, which thankfully was short flight. By comparison, the 45-minute cab ride to Baden was a breeze.

This has been the busiest fall I have ever had, but I am really enjoying it. The weather in Vegas the past few days has been perfect. I got a little tennis in and hit the gym a few times. I have also picked up a brand new hobby and have fallen in love with golf. I just started and I am hooked.

I ran into Daniel Negreanu at TPC in Summerlin a few days ago and he was surprised to see me. I am sure he cannot wait to get me on the course and take my money. But that is going to be a while, because I just started and want to be able to put up a good fight when we start.

So far, I feel like Tiger Woods on the practice range, hitting the ball cleanly and pretty straight. But the few times I tried to play on the course, I could barely hit the ball. I did have a great shot the other day; I hit the ball in the hole from around 100 yards. The only problem was I had already hit three shots out of bounds and one in the water before that miracle shot. I scored an 13 on the hole and did not even have to putt!

Before leaving for Europe a few weeks ago, I forgot to plug in my Aston Martin so, when I got home, it was completely dead. I had to have it towed to the dealership last Monday and get a new battery installed. I had to make a decision about the fate of my car, leaving it in Vegas or shipping it with me to Europe when I move. I decided to ship it to Monte Carlo as I am not quite ready to part ways with my first fancy car quite yet.

On Sunday I played the WCOOP main event, but nothing special happened and I was out early. I was focusing more on some high-stakes online cash games and did not give myself a great shot. It also didn't help that I was not picking up any good cards. I broke even in the cash games, so it wasn't too eventful of an afternoon. Congratulations to all the players who made the final table.

Three and four years ago I used to be a Sunday junkie, playing all the Sunday tournaments. Playing the WCOOP reminded me of back then, which seems like so long ago. Just shows you that anything is possible in poker.

I played quite a bit online this week and had a solid HORSE session a few nights ago. I started the night playing some $200-400 PLO and got very unlucky in some pots early in the session and was stuck around 100k. I decided to single table and play some HORSE. I ended up booking a nice 120k win. It was a tough game with a few friends of mine. I was really playing well, and hitting hands, which is always nice.

I have been playing a lot of heads-up NL on some of the Euro sites and been running very good. I had an interesting hand against my last opponent. I raised on the button with A7 and he called. The flop came A 7 3 and we were soon in a raising war.

Before I put my last chips in the pot, I told my friend watching that he most likely has 33. But if he thinks I am folding top two he is crazy. I called and the seven of diamonds peeled off on the turn. It was very nice to get lucky one time.

I will be playing the EPT Baden and then the WPT in Barcelona. My favorite hotel in Barcelona is totally booked, which is disappointing. If you are ever in Barcelona, Hotel Arts is the only place to stay.

Good luck at the tables and I will keep you posted on my results in Europe.