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