Thursday, February 27, 2014

Aussie Millions, Visiting the Zoo & Upcoming Plans

It’s been awhile since I’ve written a blog. I probably should have penned a couple considering some interesting things have happened, but alas time always seems to escape me. Speaking of which, that plays into a piece I wrote for learn.pokernews in which I lay out some goals and lifestyle changes as far as poker is concerned. You can check that piece out by clicking here.

So, what have I been up to since my last post? I wasn’t assigned to work the PokerStars Caribbean Adventure, so I spent a good deal of January in chilly Wisconsin. However, at the end of the month I had the opportunity to go to the Aussie Millions for the third year in a row. This is one of my favorite destinations, so I’m grateful to have the chance to cover such a prestigious event.

As far as poker is concerned, the highlight was no doubt the craziness of player firing multiple bullets in both the $100,000 and $250,000 Challenges. While it was mind boggling, it was also cause for concern. I think Dan Shak said it best when he voiced his opinion in an interview with Frank Op de Woerd, which you can listed to here.

I couldn't have chosen a better shirt for a visit to the zoo.
I couldn't have chosen a better shirt for a visit to the zoo.

Additionally, it was pretty cool to watch Phil Ivey win the $250,000 Challenge for the second time in three years. The AU$4,000,000 he won for that was the largest score of his career, so it was neat to be there for that.

I’d also be remiss if I didn’t mention three of my favorite things while in Australia. The first are Tim Tams. These little chocolate-covered biscuit things are kind of like a Kit Kat, but in my opinion so much better (especially the white chocolate ones). Seriously, if you ever have the chance, eat some Tim Tams, and do it like Kristy Arnett demonstrates in this video.

The other two things that I love is the food court in the Crown complex, or more specifically the Indian and Think Asia places that are right next to each other. I absolutely love the tandoori chicken and saffron rice at the former and friend rice, breaded chicken, and lemongrass chicken at the latter. I’m not exaggerating when I say I alternated eating those two meals for all three meals everyday I was there. Just thinking about it now makes my mouth water. Sorry, I just love it so much I had to write about it.

After the Aussie Millions finished, I stayed an extra two days in Melbourne. My friend, Josh Bell, was kind enough to keep me entertained. On Tuesday, we went to the Melbourne Zoo, which was relaxing. Interesting story, in 1989 32-year-old Mr. Ellie Quo snuck in late at night to test his kung fu skills against the lions. He was killed. Ill advised for sure, and you can’t help but chuckle at the stupidity.

Anyway, after the zoo we went to see the new Robocop, which was alright, and then ended up going to a rooftop cinema that night to watch some indie flick. It was a unique experience and I spent more time checking out the view of Melbourne than watching the movie. We also downed some sangria, which helped take the edge off after working a long tournament series.

Go Geelong Cats!
Go Geelong Cats!

On Wednesday we got up fairly early and drove down the Great Ocean Road to Bells Beach, which you may recognize from the movie Point Break. It’s apparently a surfer’s paradise, but on this day there were on five of us on the beach. We didn’t swim, but hung out on the beach for a few hours before heading to Geelong to check out my first Australian Football (AFL) game. I became an honorary Geelong Cats fan for the day, and despite not knowing what the hell was going on at the start, I soon caught on and had a great time. Definitely a game I could get into.

We ducked out of the game a little early to hit up the Victoria Night Market, where I had the opportunity to have a kangaroo burger. It was tender and sweet in case you’re wondering. After that it was back to the apartment to pack for my return to the states.

Since being back I’ve been focused on getting some things done while cranking out articles from home. I’ve had the chance to play a couple tournaments, but didn’t do much in either of them. I’ll be playing a little between now and the WSOP, which you can read about in that piece.

Other than that, I’m slated to work the Hollywood Poker Open (HPO) in Grantville, PA this weekend. It’ll be a smaller event, but I’ve never been to Pennsylvania so I’ll make the most of it. Around the 21st or so, I’ll be heading to Vienna, Austria for the European Poker Tour. I’m very excited about that stop as it’s the first time the tour has been there since Season 7. I’ll then come home for a couple week before heading back over to Europe for back-to-back gigs at the EPT Sanremo and EPT Grand Final in Monte Carlo.

After that it’ll damn near be time for the WSOP. I’ll definitely have a few blogs between now and then, so be sure to check back periodically.

Feel free to follow me on Twitter @ChadAHolloway for more poker articles, stories and musings from the tournament trail.