25 January 2008

Australia Trip Report

I made a New Years resolution to write my blog more often and more consistent. Well I am off to a bad start, but going to make up for it. We just got back from Melbourne a few days ago and I have been on a really weird sleep schedule ever since.

A friend of ours made arrangements for a private jet to take us from Las Vegas to Los Angeles. I had been in Vegas for a few days visiting Maya and Mila. When we were checking in at LAX, the nice lady at ticketing informed me that the tickets were not paid for. I could not believe that my travel agent could screw up so bad. It was painful paying for six people to fly first class from LA to Melbourne.

I skipped the $100,000 buy in tournament, because I could not pass up some high stakes golf. I am so frustrated with my golf swing, I am hitting worse now then I did the first day I ever hit a golf ball. So you can only imagine how much money I lost on the golf course. Lucky for me I finally started winningat Chinese Poker and recovered all my golf losses and even made some money.

The main event at the Aussie Millions is always a great tournament. I made it deep last year and was hoping to improve on my 13th place finish. I did not even make it past day 1 which was frustrating. I arrived about three hours late which did not help the cause either. I was steaming from a few different things and did not want to start the tournament on the wrong foot. I have a lot of respect for the players who make a living playing only tournaments, it is a lot harder than people think.

I was invited again to play in the high stakes cash game that airs on Fox. I played very well and hit some big hands at the right time and booked a very nice win. I have said it before, but I love these TV cash games. Everyone opens their games up more and gambles.

The side action was great down in Australia too. We got a $500-1000 PLO and PLH game going with Tom “Durr” Dwan, Phil Laak, Tony G, and a few others mixed in. One of the more interesting hands was against Durr. We were playing with a $2000 live straddle, so Durr raised to $6000. I was to his immediate left and just called with KK. The flop came 8 6 5 and Durr bet $13,000 and I called. The turn was an off suit 2 and he checked. I bet $22,500 and Durr called. The river was a 10 and again Durr checked. I thought I had the best hand and I wanted him to call, so I only bet $65,000 into the $80,000 pot. He called and I was pretty shocked when he turned over 88 for a set. I am lucky that I did not lose more on this hand.

I made it to a few tennis matches with a few poker friends. My country mate Jarkko Niemenen had a great tournament and reached the quarterfinals before falling to Nadal. Jarkko just got done with his military service, and said he is in the best shape of his life

I also got to do a little tennis training. I have always been impressed with how many top poker players are also excellent tennis players. David Grey, David B, Gus H were all top junior players. I spent a lot of time with Brandon Adams in Melbourne and he turned out to be a very good tennis player too. We had a great hit and are in negotiations for our own tennis / golf bet.

Melbourne is a gorgeous city and Maya has been looking forward to coming here for a long time. It is nice being able to give Mila the opportunity to travel the world, even though she is too young to remember, I am sure it is a great experience for her. Mila also swam for the first time with Maya at the hotel pool. She was having so much fun it was hard getting her out of the water. The most fun thing I did on the trip was taking Mila to the Melbourne Zoo. She loved all the animals and she had the biggest smile on her face the entire time.

I am off to Brazil in a few days for some business meetings and a little vacation. After that I will be returning to Monaco and preparing for the EPT Copenhagen.

Good luck at the tables

04 January 2008

Happy New Year

Happy New Years and a Look Back at 2007

Maya and I just spent New Years Eve at Marco and Jennifer’s new place in Queensridge. We had a lot of fun and I spent a lot of time with Daniel Negreanu talking about my new favorite hobby. Daniel has been addicted for a long time, but I am on my way to being the biggest golf enthusiast out there. I have been thinking of splurging on a virtual reality golf simulator for Maya’s place, because it is so cold in Vegas during the winter. Daniel gave me a strong sales pitch and I was sold.

I have been living the dream the past few weeks. My daily routine is to wake up around ten, head to the golf course and hit the range. We usually play 12-18 holes, and the last three holes are brutal because it is around 35 degrees, but no one wants to quit because they want to try and get even. We then grab a nice meal at TPC and add up the bets on the day. We take a little break and then go to the gym and play racquetball and lift. I love golf so much, although I do not love the fact that I am already down $450,000 in golf bets, but hopefully I can get even soon. Phil Ivey and I are planning on golfing everyday in Australia, so I will definitely have some good stories to share when I get back.

I will always look back at 2007 as one of the most important years of my life. I started the year in Australia and had a solid result in the Aussie Millions. My bankroll got a nice boost with my tournament cash and booking a few wins in some high stakes cash games down under. I did not play a full tournament schedule this year, but I managed to make a few results and finished the year a winner in tournaments. I almost won my first bracelet at the WSOP in a Pot-Limit Omaha event. I finished the year strong at the Bellagio, at one point I won eight sessions in a row in Bobby’s Room. Overall it was a great year that I will always remember.

I traveled a lot this past year to play in tournaments and a few high stakes cash games that aired on TV. I really enjoy live cash games and especially when they are on TV. The TV cameras seem to do a great job of creating action. I had a lot of fun playing on Poker After Dark and High Stakes Poker and will look forward to playing in them again this year.

There were a lot of big changes in my life away from poker this year as well. I made a big change in moving back to Europe and living in Monaco. I have a beautiful place and I have missed living in Europe the past few years.

By far the best part of this year was the birth of Mila. Watching her grow and spending time with her has brought me so much happiness and motivates me to succeed so that I can provide all the opportunities for her. Poker is my passion, but Mila and Maya are the two most important things in my life and they always will be.

I hope everyone had wonderful and safe Holidays. I will start the New Year in Australia for the Aussie Millions. I am going to try and catch a few tennis matches at the Australian Open while we are in town. Mila will be making the trip; she is already a world traveler. After Australia, Mila and Maya will join me in Monaco for a few months.

Good luck at the tables