Posts Tagged ‘Joe Hachem’

On the Road Again…

October 16, 2009

Greetings poker fans, it’s been a long time, too long in fact since I have posted anything on the old blog front. Far from slacking however, I have been working hard writing my arse off.

Poker Player

So, to business, I have a Luke ‘_FullFlush1_’ Schwartz feature out in the latest copy of Poker Player magazine – Issue 53 with Vicky Coren on the front cover.

This was an interesting interview, it took me a while to pin young Mr Schwartz down but it was worth it and true to form, the UK’s latest internet phenomenon had some entertaining and often controversial stuff to say for himself. I’ll stick up a link to the article if they post it online, but feel free to check out the Poker Player website here.

PKR

I’ve been doing a bit of work for PKR recently and have been writing strategy articles on beating PLO and PLO8 SNG’s for the ‘Raise Your Game’ section of their website. I don’t think that the PLO8 articles are up yet but you can check out the three PLO SNG articles here:
•  Pot-limit Omaha Sit & Go strategy (Part 1): Basic PLO strategy
Pot-limit Omaha Sit & Go strategy (Part 2): PLO early and middle play
Beat pot-limit Omaha Sit & Go’s (part 3): PLO bubbles and beyond

Baller

A lot of the writing I’ve been doing recently is for a new Asian-based poker lifestyle magazine called Baller – check out their website here.
You can download a PDF copy of their pre-launch issue where I have an article on the APPT Macau and an interview with WSOP 2005 Main Event Champ Joe Hachem.

Joe was a pretty cool guy to interview, and I found him a genuinely friendly fella, very chatty and down to earth. We talked about all sorts of stuff but mainly focused on the Asian and Australian poker scene and his life after his World Series win. Feel free to check it out folks.

The mag launches next month (November) and I also have features on the PokerStars Team Asia Pro Bryan Huang who tells me all about the Singapore poker scene and with fellow Team Asia Pro Celina Lin who is currently leading the PokerStars Macau Poker Cup tournament leaderboard. I think they should be posting up some more content on the website after the launch so will keep you posted.

International Man of Mystery

I’ve become something of an international man of mystery recently (only with better teeth than Austin Powers, obviously…) and have been globetrotting with reckless abandon. My only regret is that with all the travelling I missed the GUKPT Cardiff leg.

Now while Cardiff is not as exotic as say Macau or Vegas it is my hometown and I was genuinely gutted to miss the GUKPT tour when it visited last month. Local boy Iwan Jones did us proud finishing in second and he was unlucky not to win. However, it was the Hit Squad’s Karl Mahrenholtz who took the honours along with his first GUKPT title, and being as Karl is an all round nice guy and an excellent poker player, this is no bad thing.

After covering the APPT Macau back in August/September I hit up London for the WSOPE. The final table there was a great one to watch and I found myself chatting with Mr Mahrenholtz about his GUKPT win while we were watching his fellow Hit Squaders Praz Bansi and James Akenhead get to work.

The Hit Squad boys are winning everything in sight at the mo, and the fact that Mr Akenhead has done a Demidov after making the WSOP Main Event final just shows how hard those boys have been working on their games. Praz was unlucky not to finish higher than third, but with Daniel Negreanu and eventual winner Barry Schulman on the final as well as Jason Mercier who is also running red hot, it was far from an easy final table.

Obviously I found some time to do some ‘networking’ (aka drinking) with GUKPT tour manager Jon Raab and had the pleasure of meeting JP Kelly, fresh from his second bracelet win. As well as being a very capable player and rising young poker star he struck me as a thoroughly nice guy and I hope I have the pleasure of interviewing him in the near future.

WPT Marrakech

The World Poker Tour makes its African debut

The World Poker Tour makes its African debut

I was barely home 5-minutes when it was on the road again, this time to the exotic location of Morocco where I am currently in the midst of covering the chilipoker.com WPT Marrakech. Feel free to check out some of the live updates from the Chilipoker blog or Poker News.

Despite a heavy French presence – both Morocco and Marrakech have strong French ties and French is one of the more widely spoken languages here – I have befriended a trio of Italians from PokerTexano.com and have been hanging around with them for most of the time. They have kindly provided me with a couple of pics for my blog so a big thanks to Stefano and the guys. Check out their website here (warning – it is in Italian, strangely enough…).

Me with the Poker Texano boys at the WPT welcome dinner

Me with the Poker Texano boys at the WPT welcome dinner. Image courtesy of Poker Texano.com

Chilipoker are the masterminds behind the World Poker Tour’s first foray onto African soil, and we are enjoying the hospitality of the lovely Hotel Es Saadi and the swanky Casino De Marrakech. Day 1 is currently underway as we speak with over 400 players from 32 different countries coughing up the €4,500 (£4095) buy-in to create a monster MD 18,720,000 prize pool, which is the equivalent of around £1.5million.

With high calibre players like Tony G, 1996 WSOP Champ Huck Seed, WSOPE Champ Annette Obrestad and fellow Betfair pro’s Sorrel Mizzi and Jon Tabatabai, Andrew Feldman, Chilipoker’s own Liz Lieu, Antonio Esfandiari, Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier, Bruno Fitoussi and international tournament director Matt Savage, it’s shaping up to be a great tournament.

It didn’t take long for the sparks to fly and on just the second hand France’s Anthony Lellouche

Winamax sponsored player Anthony Lellouche

Winamax sponsored player Anthony Lellouche. Image courtesy of PokerTexano.com

managed to iron out just under three-quarters of his 20,000 starting stack after running a set of Twos into his opponents set of Nines on a Ten, Nine, Two board. What’s actually impressive here is the fact that he managed not to go broke in this spot.

I bumped into Barny Boatman during the first break who is off to a shakey start; a fellow player managed to cover him in scalding hot coffee before he had even taken his seat and then he took a big hit on level two when his Aces were cracked by his flush-drawing opponent who hit runner, runner two pair to leave Boatman senior with around 8,000.

Jon Tabatabai has been shown the door unfortunately, running his two pair into his opponent’s rivered gutshot 😦
After chatting to the friendly Welshman I learned he very nearly didn’t make it here at all – when he went to fly out from Heathrow on Monday he realised he had forgotten his passport… Doh!

The Hendon Mob's Ross Boatman and second place finisher, Germany's Dominik Nitsche at the WPT Marrakech High Rollers event

The Hendon Mob's Ross Boatman and second place finisher, Germany's Dominik Nitsche at the WPT Marrakech High Rollers event. Image courtesy of Poker Texano.com

Other highlights so far include the Boatman brothers success in the High Rollers event with Boatman junior (Ross) taking down the tourney for a tasty €135,535 (£123 338) with big brother Barny cashing in 4th for €41,017 (£37,326). Not to be left out, fellow Hendon Mobster Joe Beevers came 14th in the €1,800 NLHE event for €4,000 (£3,670).
All three Mobsters are currently playing in the WPT Marrakech Main Event.

Wales’ Dave ‘El Blondie’ Colclough is also out here and has managed to bag himself a cash as well, finishing 8th in the €900 NLHE event for €4,927 (£4,483).

Not to be out done I figured it was time to get my name out there as well and I managed to bag second place in the WPT press tourney for $300 – while it’s not going to allow me to retire to a life of luxury just yet, free money is always nice. Not only did this give me bragging rights in the press tent with my fellow media types, but also allowed me to uphold the good name of WPT magazine, who I’m out here covering the tourney for 😉

I should be interviewing both Tony G and Liz Lieu later on today so will let you know how that goes, I’ll see if I can grab and interview with Antonio Esfandiari a bit later on as well.

Right, well I’m off to grab me a V6 racing camel and a small monkey in a fez, tune in tomorrow for more updates folks…

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APPT Macau Day Two

August 28, 2009

Action is fast and furious at the APPT Macau: Play started at 12:15 with 196 runners out of the 429 who ponied up the HK$40,000 (around £3,170) buy-in.

97 players have since fallen by the wayside including  GUKPT 2007 Grand Final champ Leo Kam who was unfortunate to have ElkY sitting two seats to his left. Elky’s table is an interesting one with a lot of chips flying around – a deep-stacked Tom Hall from the UK is giving as good as he gets, as is the tournament’s starting chip-leader Norway’s Kristoffer Myhre.

The Hit Squad’s Karl Mahrenholz is still chugging away, he’s on the same table as PokerStars pro David Saab who’s stack has yo-yo’d from 8,000 back up to 72,000.

Blackbelt Poker's Sida Yuen, image courtesy of PokerStars blog

Blackbelt Poker's Sida Yuen, image courtesy of PokerStars blog

PokerStars pro Celina Lin (whom I managed to bag an interview with) managed to run Ace Queen into Ace King and has been knocked out, but the story of the day for the UK is Blackbelt Poker Brownbelt Sida Yuen. He’s run his starting stack of 73,000 up to over 270,000 is sitting on a mountain of chips and is currently slapping his table around in the process. After raising UTG Sida four-bet Joshua Ang off a hand when re-raised, effectively putting Ang to the test for his tournament life. He also smashed an opponent’s Pocket Eights with the mighty Ace Nine of spades, tabling two pair to take him over the 270,000 mark.

With Blinds about to go up to 1,200/2,400 with a 200 ante and the average stack at around 80,000 it’s starting to get near crunch time for many players.

The brothers Hachem are still in it and going strong, though Hachem senior (that would be Joe) just got runner, runner two paired – his King’s and Eight’s losing out to Aces and Tens leaving him a distinctly unhappy camper. He’s sitting on around the 55,000 mark.

Full Tilt’s David Chiu has just doubled up with Pocket Nines at the expense of Eric Assadourian to bring the Chinese American pro back into contention.

Poker Stars pro Daniel ‘rekrul’ Schreiber has just taken a hit at the hands of online Aussie whiz kid Jonathan ‘xMONSTERxDONGx’ Karamalikis –flush and gutshot straight draws losing out to the Australian’s top set leaving Schreiber on 79,000 and elevating the Monster to 115,000.

The tourney is on break for the next ten minutes so I’ll be posting again at the end of the day.

Those of you who want to keep abreast of the action can follow it on the Pokerstars blog or the Poker News live updates.

APPT Macau Day 1C Summary

August 27, 2009

Well play has finished for the day and the chips are in the midst of being tagged and bagged as I type.

The official player count has yet to come in but the tourney screen is showing that 86 players look to have made the final cut, though that may drop slightly once the dust has settled.

The official Day 1C chip leader is UK player Tom Hall who’s sitting pretty on 120,700, Blackbelt Poker’s Sida Yuen

Liv Boeree, image courtesy of Poker News

Liv Boeree, image courtesy of Poker News

is sitting on around 72,600 after busting the lovely Liv Boeree, her Pocket Eights proving no match for Sida’s Pocket Queens when all the chips went in. Still a cash of HK$35,500 (£2,826) in the HK$5,000 7-handed event yesterday should take the edge off.

Vic regular James Mitchell also failed to make the cut unfortunately; he was last seen heading for the cash tables with a determined expression on his face. Tournament steamroller JC Tran was also one of the players who just couldn’t get anything going today and he is also out.

Josh ‘JJProdigy’ Field is sitting on a stack of 93,700 though is strangely registered as a UK player rather than a US one, though this may have something to do with the fact he is currently calling Blighty home at the moment.

Brothers Hachem made it through to Day 2 both on around 50,000 chips and Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier also made the cut finishing the day on 65,000 after his Pocket Kings held up against an opponent’s over-enthusiastic shove with a gutshot on a 2h 2d 3c board.

After eliminating David ‘Chino’ Rheem Theo Tran was one of the big stacks for most of the day before taking a hit 20-minutes before the end of play after running his Nine-high flush into the nuts leaving him with a stack of 62,600.

The current chip leader is Kristoffer Myhre from Norway who has 183,400. In second place is Peter Nielsen from Denmark with 141,500. In third place is PokerStars Online Qualifier Roel Pijpers from Netherlands with 125,500. They all played Day 1B.

The total prize pool is HKD $16,130,400  (£1.2 million) which makes it the biggest prize pool ever in Asia. Play resumes for Day Two tomorrow at 12:15pm (5:15am GMT) with 196 out of the 429 runners making it past the respective Day 1’s.

Bryan Huang, image courtesy of PokerStars blog

Bryan Huang, image courtesy of PokerStars blog

Work-wise I managed to squeeze in an interview with Asia Team PokerStars pro Bryan Huang who was in a remarkably upbeat mood despite being knocked out of the tournament after being horribly outdrawn by second pair, which effectively crippled him. His short-stacked shove with Pocket Sevens a few hands later lost out to Ace Queen to see him hit the rail. Bryan took down the APT Macau just a scant two-weeks ago and was voted ‘Rookie of the Year 2008’ by Bluff Australasia after cashing in three back-to-back APPT events last year.

Tune in tomorrow for more updates and action, it looks like my interview with Joe Hachem is scheduled for then as well so I’ll let you know how it goes.

Right, I’m off to hit the cash tables up and hopefully make me some money, laters people…

APPT Macau Day 1C

August 27, 2009
Image courtesy of PokerStars blog

Image courtesy of PokerStars blog

The growing popularity of poker in Asia is evident and players and press alike were treated to a flashy opening ceremony featuring a traditional Chinese mask-changing performance complete with Team PokerStars pro Chris Moneymaker as the Chinese ‘God of Wealth’. But then, with a name like Moneymaker that has also become synonymous with poker’s sudden rise in popularity, this is quite apt, if slightly ironic being as Chris was eliminated on Day 1B yesterday.

As is often the case with poker tournaments, it’s the last Day 1 that is always the busiest and Day 1C in the APPT Macau is no exception with 185 confirmed entries.

That makes a total of 429 players, which despite being 109 players down on last years field makes for a record prizepool of HKD $16 million (around £1.2 million) due to the HKD $15,000 increase in buy-in from the 2008 APPT Macau leg. Top 48 get paid with the winner taking home a massive HKD $4,194,000 (£333,246).

It looks like this is shaping up to be one of the toughest starting days so far: Tournament steamroller JC Tran and brother Hien are in attendance as is 2005 WSOP champ Joe Hachem and brother Tony who is also the recent winner of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour.
2008 WSOP final tablist David ‘Chino’ Rheem is here as is New York’s Amnon Filippi in addition to WPT winners David Chiu and Russia’s Yevgeniy Timoshenko.

The UK’s Liv Boeree is also playing today and Team PokerStars sponsored pro Bertrand ‘ElkY’ Grospellier is

Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier

Bertrand 'ElkY' Grospellier

actually sitting right behind me at table 18, sporting red hair and matching red and black shirt along with trademark sunglasses.

Despite all the high profile American, Australian and Asian players it was first blood for the UK though – Blackbelt Poker’s Sida Yuen enjoyed an early double up to take the chip lead after flopping the nut straight and open-ended straight flush draw holding Five Six of diamonds against his opponents trip Sevens. Needless to say all the chips were in the middle on the flop and with no pair up his unfortunate opponent was the first man to hit the rail on level one… Ouch!

‘Chino’ Rheem has also hit the rail on level three – his flopped set of Fours rivered by Theo Tran’s open-ended straight.

As with the other two starting days there will be seven levels of play today, scheduled to finish at around eight o’clock.

I’m hoping to get that Joe Hachem interview in the bag today, as well as one with Chinese Australian PokerStars pro Celina Lin and hopefully one with another up-and-coming young Asian poker player by the name of Bryan Huang who was voted Bluff Australia’s Rookie of the year 2008.

I’ll let you know how it all goes and keep you posted with a summary of the action a little later on.

For full coverage of the APPT visit the PokerStars official tourney blog here or the Poker News live tournament updates here.

All images courtesy of PokerStars blog.

Asian Poker Scene – APPT Macau

August 26, 2009

Razor Sharp Pro Poker
Greetings poker fans – I know it’s been a while since I last posted, too long in fact. I haven’t been slacking on the work front though so I’ll bring you up to speed with what’s been going on in Razor Sharp Pro world:

The Asian Pacific Poker Tour

The Asian Pacific Poker Tour

I’m currently out in Macau, China, covering the Asian Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) for a new Asian-based poker magazine called Baller, which is launching in late October. While you guys in the UK won’t get to read it (being as it’ll be circulating in Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia etc) I think they’ll also have a website so I’ll provide links through to that as soon as it’s up.

Travel-wise it was a real ‘Planes, Trains and Automobile’s’ job with a couple of boat rides thrown in for good measure as you don’t seem to be able to fly here direct. That meant I had to train it from Cardiff to Heathrow, fly into Paris, change planes in Paris to fly into Hong Kong and then get a ferry over to Macau. That added up to nearly 24-hours of travel time, which was about as much fun as it sounds…

Still, I’ve only been in Macau 24-hours and love the place already – it’s pretty much the Chinese version of Las Vegas, chock full of fast and furious cash action, sick, sick gambling and you can still smoke at the poker tables out here as well – my kinda town 🙂

I couldn’t resist checking out the cash action and managed to win me HK$4000 (around £315) in about an hour – the players out here love to gamble so it wasn’t like I even had to work particularly hard for the money, which is always nice. Hopefully in addition to all the player interviews and tourney coverage I’ll be doing I’ll also get the opportunity to pad out my bankroll at the same time – it’s a tough job but someone has to do it 😉

Follow all the APPT tournament action via the Poker Stars video blog and live updates here.
I’ll also be posting some updates throughout the day myself, just summarising some of the action and adventure.

I’m looking to try and bag me some interviews with Joe Hachem and a few of the other Poker Stars sponsored Asian players in addition to some of the Brits that have managed to make their way out here so will keep you guys posted.

Joining the Dark Side
I have diversified this month and in addition to all my poker writing have begun to dabble in the dark side… that would be poker PR folks, not degenerate gambling (interestingly still more socially acceptable in public than smoking and masturbation, go figure…).

Littlewoods Poker have asked me to help promote their offer open to all new and existing players for the $1 million English Poker Open (EPO) on at Nottingham’s Dusk Till Dawn 15-17 September.
Check out the EPO website here.

Rather than just shamelessly plug it on my blog I’ll just include some of the links to the PR stuff I’ve been pushing and the various websites it can be found at:

Visit the Littlewoods Poker website here for more info on the offer and promos they’re running here.

See the press release in all it’s glory on the Inside Poker website here.

And also on the Poker News UK website here.

_FullFlush1_
Writing-wise I’ve got a couple of features forthcoming from an interview I did with the UK’s most controversial internet phenomenon Luke ‘_FullFlush1_’ Schwartz. Not only has Luke been beating some of Full Tilt’s top players (including Tom Dwan, Phil Galfond, David Benefeild, Brad Booth and Patrik Antonius) but he’s also up $1 million this year playing in the $100/$200 & $200/$400 six-max and Heads-up cash games. Mr Schwartz also been providing the railbirds with a lot of entertainment with some quality rub downs and trash talk and the forums are a buzz with his table antics. It was a pretty good interview chock full of Luke’s trash talking gems and confirmation that he is definitely looking to take on Tom ‘Durrrr’ Dwan at his 50,000 hand challenge.

I’ve got to thank Barry Carter for the interview really, as it was him who hooked me up with the contact details and asked me to cover it for Poker News UK – view the feature here.

I’ve also sold a Luke Schwartz feature to Poker Player that will be in the next issue of the mag, out sometime next week I believe, I’ll include a link if they end up putting it on their website.

The Unabomber
My Phil Laak player profile is out in the latest WPT mag (Issue 46 with Doyle Brunson on the cover) and they’ve also posted my ‘Get down with the Six-ness’ six-card PLO feature on the WPT website, so for those of you who didn’t get to read it when it was in the mag you can view it here.


Retro Rhetoric

Double or Nothing

Double or Nothing

I’ve also been doing some strategy articles on beating Pot Limit Omaha SNG’s for the new PKR website so will post up the link as soon as they’re up. I really enjoyed writing these and made the switch from playing Texas SNG’s to the PLO ones a while ago, generally because there’s more action and the pace of the game is faster, but for the in-the-know player the edge is huge. Not only do these teach you the importance of position and pot control but they also improve your post-flop playing skills as the pot limit nature of the game means you can’t just pull the all in trigger. Seriously worth a blast if you are a big SNG fan, especially if you find that the Texas ones are getting too formulaic and a little stale.

Also on a SNG related note, I have a Double or Nothing SNG strategy guide up

On the Rampage

On the Rampage

on the UK Poker News website – feel free to read it here.
Mr Carter has decided to get in as many retro 80’s themes as possible in relation to all the features I’ve been writing for the site, including the Commodore 64/NES Rampage computer game for the Running Rampant cash strategy feature I wrote for them last month. View it here.

Right, well I’ve got me a tourney to cover so will keep you guys posted, watch this space…