Lets Play Poker and Party …

I recently went and played a televised womens tournament, I was fortunate enough to be sponsored and bought in by Ladbrokes. Here’s how things unfolded…

Women and poker – some male poker players think it’s an easy ride when there is a woman at the same table. After watching the Party Poker Women’s World Open they may change their minds.

I played my PartyPoker.Net World Women’s Open heat last week. Having had a good run recently, I was feeling confident. I got to the studio earlier then scheduled and found Norman Pace watching his wife Beverley on the screen in the green room. She was playing in heat 2.
With a prize pot of $108,000, this tournament had attracted some big names, like Jennifer Tilly, Shannon Elizabeth, UK’s Lucy Rokach, Katherine Hartree to name but a few. Also a great player, my friend, Shelley Rubenstein had played the day before in heat one but had lost out to another friend and Sky Open presenter Kara Scott, who had done a double by winning the celebrity heat the same morning.

As I sat down to watch, two out of the six had already been knocked out. Sitting in the green room waiting for my “turn” it was quite relaxing listening to Jesse’s commentary and his infectious laugh. Shannon Elizabeth was his partner in the commentary box this time and it was good to hear a female’s point of view with regards to the play.

Karen McCaul, girlfriend of Marty Smyth the Irish Open Champion, got heads-up with Beverley Pace after the elimination of Lois Clear, Patricia Li, Karen Frank and Lucy Rokach. Beverley was victorious and became the second contender to the final table.

With my heat ready to start, I got the usual good luck kisses from everyone, including Raj, my husband, who was there to support me, before I went into the baking studio. The air-con had been turned on for a while, but it hadn’t really made much of a difference. Liz Lieu, Jackie Vaswani (wife of Mobster Ram), Michelle Bricknell (a very well known and respected player on the circuit), Claire (daughter of Anthony Hardy or Bookie as he is known and the recent winner of the Party Poker World Open III) and last year’s Party Poker World Open winner, Pippa Flanders, all made their way to the studio with me. These were my opponents.

Play started and within the first couple of rounds, Liz Lieu was down to about 25K from the 100k we had all started with. The structure of these TV tournaments is very tough, and there are only 50 big blinds, so once entered into a pot it needs to be won. Liz went out 1st going all-in with pocket 2s.

After putting up a huge fight and being totally card dead, I went out in 3rd place, leaving Michelle Bricknell and Jackie Vaswani to do heads up battle. Jackie went through to the final table.

Whoever said that women don’t bluff and only bet when they hit don’t know what they are talking about. These women can definitely play and this will be witnessed when the event is televised in November this year on Channel 5.

Gala is the place to go – for me !!

I had always traveled to Birmingham or Luton to play a live game of poker, so recently I thought I’d give the local casino in Northampton ago and see what was happening.
I had never even visited the Gala Casino in Northampton so I was pleasantly surprised that it had a proper poker room. It has round tables so each table will only fit 8 players, but I suppose that having these tables is a space saver and in actual fact there is room for more player then there would be if it was all decked out with kidney tables. Another advantage of the round tables is, when sat down it is possible to see all the players at the table and the dealer hides no one LOL

Upon deciding that I wanted to play more live poker, it was great to find a good structure at the Gala. The £50 freeze out and the £30 double chance are fantastic. Start with 4000 chips (2000 with the double chance but you can get all your chips (4000) to start with if you prefer) with half hour blinds. The blinds go up more then expected but the game is finished within 4 to 4½ hours. It doesn’t turn into a crap shoot so it’s a fantastic way to practice for bigger events.

On my very first visit I ended up heads up and we decided to chop it. I walked away with £585 for a £50 buy in. Result!
The second time I went I came 3rd. I think I like my local casino 😀
Only thing I didn’t like about the Gala was the fact that the admin fee is so steep, 20% !! But I suppose after cashing 100% of times in my first 2 visits I cant moan too much LOL

Life on the Poker Road …

Having got back from Vegas about 2 weeks ago, life has never been so hectic. Filming of the Poker Million started straight away so it was full steam ahead. To-ing and fro-ing from London isn’t fun, especially as the roads works are never ending. I am convinced that after the motorway has been widened they will find something else to close off lanes and keep the average speed cameras there LOL.

To make up for all the awful traveling, its nice to see all my friends from the Ladbrokes Poker Team, normally propping up the bar at the Paddington Casino LOL. Only joking guys 🙂 I will normally see other familiar faces from the poker circuit “family”. Its so nice to see everyone, they have become more then just friends in such a short space of time.

Poker Million heat on the first week and then the Semi the week after, so that’s 2 weeks gone already. I haven’t really spent hardly any time at home. I am convinced that my family has forgotten what I look like. In between the trips to London, the minuscule amount of time I have spent at home has felt like I have been in the way, getting looks of “who are you? and get outta my way” LOL.

Ok, so, Poker Million stuff has been sorted. I am very aware that the Party Poker Women’s Open heat is coming up. In preparation, I successfully play a few short handed online STTs. The Gala Casino is another idea, it’s in the town I live in but I have never been there. I know why its not so popular now, 20% admin fee!! WHAT ??!?!! I enter a £50 tourney which costs me £60!!. It’s not too bad because, OMG, I am grinning all over when I come away with a tidy sum 😀

I get heads-up and the guy has a few more chips then me. He asks if we can chop, well, how can I say no LOL

How did I end my last post?? Something along the lines of Upwards and Onwards – I really hope so 🙂

PMVI Semi Final

Back on the motorway to London, this time for the Semi Final of the Poker Million VI. It’s only a week since the heats and it seems like we haven’t spent any time at home since we got back from Vegas. Hectic is the only way to describe the last 2 weeks.

We get to the Paddington Hilton and it seems like it’s a home away from home LOL. Seems like we have been here so many times that the doorman actually remembers us! LOL
We check in and then go to the Casino and see some familiar faces that we regard as an extension to our family : ) It’s so nice to see them all again.

First, I see Nigel propping up the bar, there are some poker players too, they are playing in a heat tomorrow morning, and some that are in the afternoon Semi. I say hello to Marty Smyth, he is such a nice guy, as is his girlfriend Karen. She isn’t with him this time; she had to stay in Ireland. That’s a shame because she is very good company.
It’s the first time Raj and I are meeting Liam Flood, but as all the others, he seems to be a real decent chap.
JaffaCake (Jeff Kimber) and Roy the Boy Brindley both turn up too, together with Jesse May, Marty Wilson and few of the others, back from the studio after a long hard day.

Jesse is so funny, always giggling, but I am sure it takes it out of him with such full days.

After dinner, everyone just dispersed to either go to bed or go out on the town. Raj and I decided to have an early night so that he could catch up on some much needed sleep. He’s been working since we got back from Vegas and so has been trailing the motorway everyday – I’m sure it’s not healthy …

The day begins early because neither of us could sleep. We go and get some breakfast and decide to go out for a stroll. London is buzzing as usual. I love this place, it’s always so warm. All the shops are always so inviting, no surprise there LOL

We need to get back by 1pm I tell Raj, I know, I just want to get a falafel before I have to go to the studio.

We get back and meet Marios and Liam Flood in the foyer. Apparently, we are waiting on Neil Channing, Julian Gardner, Ray Vyze and Marty Smyth. This is the line up for the first semi.

Once everyone is present, we pile onto the bus and get to the studio about 40 minutes later. Raj is dragged off, as usual, and that’s the last I see of him until he comes out.

In the green room, and there is still no tea or coffee, did I really expect any different, it’s the same every time LOL

In the green room, the TV is on and I see the latter part of the heads up against Howard Leaderer and Alan Smurfit. So, Howard is in the 2nd Semi then !!!

Waiting around the green room is not fun, infact it’s probably the most boring part of the whole experience. Raj’s friend Chris turns up and so does my brother. All the supporters are present now, so hope it doesn’t take too much longer to start.

Oh no, Raj is the first to be knocked out. In the green room, we can see everything that will be televised, so we get to see the cards and sometimes it is so heart breaking 🙁

We see Raj playing 4 hands and even though he is playing well, his opponent is just slightly ahead. Poker Million V Champ has been knocked out first and I am totally and utterly gutted. If I feel like this then he must be feeling so much more worse.

He so wanted to defend his title on the final table, but it wasn’t to be. Nevermind, there’s always next year. Understandably, saying that doesn’t help at all.

But … onwards and upwards, we have got the GUKPT in Luton next week 🙂

Poker Million is back again !!

It’s the 25th July and as we’re driving down the M1 to London, I am getting more and more nervous. Not sure why, I’m not playing LOL.
Chatting along the way, Raj says that once we check into the hotel at Paddington, he wants a nice hot bath and an early night so that he is ready for his Poker Million VI heat tomorrow afternoon.

Sounds like a plan. I hope we can get some food first 😀

We park up at my brother’s house, near a tube station and make our way to the platform. These bags are heavy and we will have to drag them from the station to the room, which will, no doubt, be right at the end of a 2 mile corridor, it always is! There is never an expectation any more that our room will be anywhere near a lift LOL. We are sitting on the bench having a natter and wondering when the train will be there when Raj’s phone rings, I wish he would turn the ringer down, he has the most embarrassing ring tone LOL.
It’s Nigel, he is the big guy of Ladbrokes Poker. 🙂
He is probably calling to ask if everything is ok, etc but then I hear Raj say “Oh No”.
Hmmm, wonder what’s up?? The call goes on for a while and we miss a train. Raj hangs up, “Come on, we need to find a taxi.”

OK, let’s find a taxi then, I say. So we find one and get in. “Sky Studios at Isleworth please.”
Now, I am even more puzzled. I thought his heat was tomorrow or did we get it wrong?

Nigel had just told Raj that one of the players from today’s heats hadn’t been able to make it. So he asked if Raj could PLEASE play today instead. So, I find that instead of a long hot bath we are heading for the Sky Studios on an empty stomach!! LOL

Raj is the most easygoing people that I know. He will always help and try to make someone else’s life easier, even if it means he is put out himself. Maybe that’s why I have been with him for so long. Anyway, enough of the soppy talk LOL. We get the taxi driver to stop at a garage so we can get some sandwiches before we get to the studio.

It takes an hour to get to the studio and as we drive up Nigel is there waiting for us. He pays the fare and Raj is dragged off through some doors which I am not allowed through. “Good Luck” I manage to say before he disappears.

I wonder who is in his heat.
I know the players from his original heat included Paddy O’Conner and Jonny Lodden, but as for this one ….
I go to the green room and find Shelley Rubenstein, Marios and Dexter Fletcher from his morning’s celebrity heat all sitting around the TV which isn’t even turned on.
All of a sudden I hear Jessie May’s infectious laugh and it makes me giggle instantly. At least the speakers are on then. We turn the television on and see the players making their way to the table.
I see that Brian McFadden has made it through the celebrity heat that was played this morning. He must be totally shattered and he has to play another heat.
The other players are Richard Holmes, he is from Australia. Richard Blackburn, an online qualifier. Martin Wendt, a Danish professional player. Dave Gregory, I have seen him around many events in the UK, infact he was also at the WSOP and came to the Ladbrokes lounge.
The game gets started so we all settle in to watch, while playing a sit and go – it wouldn’t be the same if that didn’t happen LOL.
Unfortunately, tiredness seems to have got the better of Brian and he is the first casualty of the game.
Slowly one by one the player leave the table until there are only 2 left.
Heads up between Raj and Richard Blackburn. Raj has nearly a 6 – 1 chip lead so it shouldn’t be too long. I think I spoke too soon, Raj is up and down with his stack and at one point it looks like he might not make it through to the semi.
All-in and a call, Richard has 4 4 and Raj has K J.
Raj is playing the semi next week so you can guess what happened LOL

I don’t know why I am unpacking my bag, it’s going to have to be packed back up again within the next few days so that we can come back to London, Sky studios and do all over again.

Spk soon
Take Care and Stay Lucky guys

Took a few pics while in Vegas …


Team Ladbrokes at the Voodoo Lounge Party.


The very exclusive Ladbrokes Lounge entrance. Is that picture of someone I recognise ?? ! ?

You know, I could have sworn I was in Vegas, but this looks like Paris !? I am so puzzled . . .


Are we really inside the Wynn? It looks like we are outside still but the air somehow feels cool like the air-con is on … Its even more puzzling :-/


Ooooo, who fancies himself as a Hot Shot then! LOLOLOL 😀


I know I am in a helicopter, OMG, maybe I am having an out of body experience !! WOW


Just landed in the middle of the Grand Canyon, it’s soo hot, oh, maybe I should have expected that LOL I hope there aren’t any creepy crawlies ahhh


Going back to Vegas now, but hang on, isn’y that New York? I get so confused when I am here …


Time to go home, bye bye vegas, see you again next year (I hope) Crying

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Back from Vegas …

Got back from Vegas last Thursday and felt so tired I slept for 2 day!! I think I am just about getting used to the time here again, Isn’t it weird that just 3 weeks away can make your body think it lives somewhere else LOL

Had a great time, I keep telling my friends that I spent too much, lost too much but absolutely loved it LOL 😀

Before the World Series main event started, I tended to hang around the Ladbrokes Lounge, which was fantastic, seeing the poker circuit friends and making new friends. It’s so cool that everyone is really easy to talk to; there are a few massive egos, but in the main most poker players are lovely and down to earth people. I try to avoid the egos, but then again they don’t want to mix with riff raff like me LOL.

I learnt a lot from playing a few free rolls in the Ladbrokes Lounge and sitting in on tutorials given by people like Paul “Action Jack” Jackson.
Taking my newfound skills I decided to put them into practice playing at a few tourneys around the casinos in Vegas.

Wow, I seemed to have taken something in, I cashed a two tourneys back to back. I came 12th at the Venetian and 3rd at Paris, woo hoo 😀 😀 😀 I think I’ll carry on with the practice and see how far I can get.

I am playing in a televised event soon so will let you know how I get on.

See you soon
Take Care & Stay Lucky

WSOP Main Event

Its Day 1B of the WSOP Main Event and Raj is playing today.

Its 11.50am and I am seeing him off into the Amazon Room,which is a huge area that looks like it’s the size of 4 football pitches.
I must remember that he is on table 226 seat 1 so that I can spectate when they let us.

Watching all the players going into the hall is like watching cattle being herded,there are so many people!

For the next 2 hours I am waiting around the Ladbrokes Lounge, keep looking at my watch but the time is not going quickly enough.
I know, I’ll play a game of heads up with John, one of the dealers in the lounge. I need some practice.
After bluffing most of my hands, I end up beating John, LOL. I’m feeling good, I hope Raj is feeling the same in that massive hanger
of a room.

There were a lot of Laddies players knocked out yesterday, but there are still a few in with healthy chip counts to take to day 2.
Raj comes in at the break. I don’t see a big smile, just a forced one.
He tells me that he has 18K. Throughtout the 2 hours he managed to steal a few blinds but lost a couple of thousand trying to bluff a pot. He won’t be trying that again in a hurry, the play is quite loose and the lose players luck seems to be in. Back to play, see you at the next break matey.

Not a lot happens during the next 2 hours, I try to get in to see him playing, but I am fighting a losing battle. The queue of spectators is like a mile long!!

Second break comes and he comes back into the lounge together with the other Laddies troops. He is smiling this time so I assume that all is good. He has managed to win a nice 15K pot. Everyone had folded to him on the button. He raised with K 8 os. SB folds and BB calls. Flop comes K 10 K. BB puts in a big bet. Raj calls. Turn comes 8. Raj is laughing now. BB bets again and Raj raises the bet. BB calls. River comes and Ace. BB checks and Raj bets, BB calls. BB thinks his 2 pair is good as he has A 10. Raj takes the 15K pot with a full house!! Yay for Raj.

Raj has 29,500 now.

Next break is dinner. Don’t manage to speak to him too much as he is busy with everyone asking how he is getting on, what’s happened, etc. I do find out he has 36K now. I am pleased that things are going slow and steady and I will try to speak to him properly at the next break.
I have wangled a Press pass so that I can go into the Amazon Room. I really want to see the play. It’s buzzing in there and I want to feel the atmosphere. I go in and all I can hear is chips rattling, its great. I wish I was playing. Nearly every few seconds I
hear “All-in and Call” annouced by dealers and then there is a mad rush by media people to the table to see the action.
There are players going out and short stacks finding some luck for much needed double ups.
I find Raj and all is well, after stealing a few blinds here and there he has been able to increase his chips to 40K. While hovering around Raj’s table I see that Hotboy33 is playing on the next table. So I try to observe both tables. After watching for a while,
Raj is folding most of his cards but Hotboy33’s stack seems to be yoyoing.
On e pot is see is when Hotboy33 has about 30K in chips and is on the BB. There is 1 caller and SB folds. Hotboy33 raises 4 times with JJ. Player calls. Flop is Jh 5s 2c. Hotboy33 has got trips. HotBoy33 bets out 4k which is raised to 8k, this is called. Turn is 10c. Bet 4k again, player raises 8k again !! What could he have?? Hotboy33 calls. River is another club. Bet, raise, call again.
This player called all the way to the river with AcKc !! Hotboy loses a huge amount of chips.

The casino personnel are around these two tables now, it looks like they are going to split them.

Everyone is moved, so I follow Raj. He has moved to John Duthie’s table. This is when all the action begins. One Poker Million winner trying to take out another. Raj loses a massive pot an cripples himself.
Raj is in mid position and raises over 4 times the BB with pocket rockets. Everyone folds to the SB, John Duthie, who calls. BB folds. Flop is 8d 10h Kh. John checks, Raj makes it 10k which is called. Turn is Jd. John bets 12k, Raj raises all-in. Within a split second John calls the all-in. Raj is gutted that his AA has been cracked by a raise call with 7 9 off. Raj is left with 4.5k.

He is still hanging in there going all-in at calculated times and stealing dead money, he is building his stack again and is at around 16K within an hour and a half.

One hand on the table is so exciting. 4 all-ins. AA AA KK and 10 10.
The board makes a 7 high straight and it is a split pot, I find out later that if Raj had gone all-in he would have won a 50K pot holding an 8!!!!

The last 15 minutes until the end of a very long day. It is 3.30am and Raj has 16K, he will have to work fast on day 2 to catch up.
Mark Goodwin is also on the same table. He raises under the gun by 3 times. All fold to Raj who looks at his cards, takes a deep breath and pushes all his chips in. Everyone else folds. Mark thinks for a little while and calls with J 10s. Raj shows 88. Mark flops a J and its all over for Raj just 14 minutes before the end of the first days play.

I am totally gutted for him….
Oh well, there is always next year…

Vegas – Hold’em Fixed Limit Shoot out

3rd July 07 at the WSOP, Raj is playing in the warm game arranged by
Ladbrokes, $1500 Fixed Limit Holdem. Its not really his game so he is
hoping just to get cards that he can play with. Starts with 3000 chips,
25/50 blinds go up every 1 hour. There’s a break in 2 hours so I will get
an update from him then. While I am waiting I decide to join a table in
the Ladbrokes Lounge with Paul “Action Jack” Jackson. He is giving some
journalists a beginners tutorial and tips on how to play texas holdem
poker. He is giving invaluable information I am finding this really useful
as a semi beginner.
We all start a game. The journos seem to be really enjoying themselves.
Its quite drawn out because, as total beginners, they are just calling or
putting in minimum raises. I think to myself, this should be ok. Ill just
wait for a hand and then strike : )
It works out well and my tight play pays off, I win that tournie, woo hoo.

Raj breaks at the end of level 2 and I see him strolling back from the
hall, can’t really figure out if he is having a good day or not.
Apparently, it started off good and then got bad. He had managed to
accumulate 6000 chips with hands like AK, AQ, flopped a straight, but then
it all went bad. I get the feeling he doesn’t want to talk about it. He
has 1800 in chips now. Never mind, he can always build his stack up again.
Surprisingly though, he is a really good mood, then I find out why. He
takes out his camera phone and shows me a picture. Its him and a girl !!!
At closer inspection I see that its Isabella Mercier, the poker girl that
he has a crush on : )
Oh well, I think to myself, I know she is gorgeous and I suppose he is
allowed too have his little fantasies LOL

Break is over, back to work for Raj and the rest of Team Ladbrokes.

While Raj is away this time, Ladbrokes have put on a free roll for the
ladies. It is for a place on the final table to win a gold bracelet and
There are only 5 entries, so my chances are looking good, until I see that
Katherine Hartree is sitting in seat one!! Do I really have a chance
anymore ?? Well, I suppose we will see. The game commences. I win the
first pot which is cool, I’m off to a good start. There are a couple of
beginners on the table and I really don’t want to play them. I remember
when I was a beginner and I would call with anything. Looking at a King
high flop,or should I say, not thinking about it, I would still always
think that my pair of 2s were good LOL. Chips exchange hands and I am up
and down until I have pocket rockets on the small blind. Everyone calls
for 200, so I call too, thinking, this is going to be a nice pot if things
work out slow playing these aces. Katherine, however, has other ideas and
raises to 600. The 3 ladies all fold to me and I re-raise to 1200. I am
thinking, Ok, its only me and Katherine, thats good. All-in Katherine
announces. I think about it, even though I don’t need to, I don’t want to
take Katherine out and there is no way I am folding my aces. I call and I
see that she has pocket 9s. The cards don’t help Katherine and I double
up. I haven’t taken her out, she’s still in with a 100 Chips. Well, to cut
a long story short, I have won a place on the final table!!! My first ever
final table, I’m so excited.

Katherine only having 100 chips left went out first, but will play another
free roll tomorrow. I’m sure that she will be at the final table and we
will both battle it out again. We are such good buddies that even if she
wins it will be ok, but it would be better if I do LOL

Not one hour into level 3 and Raj is back. I got the story from Raj, poker
players love to tell there bad beat stories and I have learnt to listen
and not interrupt.
Player has raised and Raj re-raises with AA. The original raiser calls
with 8-10 off!!! I can’t believe the hands people play with, but I can’t
say that, it would mean that I would have to interrupt Raj’s story : )
The guy flops a straight and in the end all the chips end up in the pot.
Raj comes away thinking my aces always get cracked, forgetting all the
times that he cracked someone else’s aces or his aces won him massive pots
– such is the mentality of the poker player – I think we are all the same.

Vegas … here we come !

Off to Vegas on Wednesday 28th June 07. YAY
I LOVE Vegas, just hope it loves me back this time LOL. Well, I hope I break even at least 🙂 If not, I am sure I will have great fun losing a wad of cash LOL
Raj is playing in the main event and a couple of others before that, but I think I will play a few little tournies in the Venetian. I know that the Rio has a tournie thats quite cheap in the morning, so might try there too. If nothing else, at least I will get a bit of practice, which I definitely need 🙂
Will let you know how we both got on when I get back, and if I can find some time in between, eating, sleeping and playing, I will update the blog from Vegas 😉 But please don’t hold me to it LOL
Stay Lucky guys