Friday, December 1, 2017

May the Poker Gods Be With Me!

I have been one seriously busy lady when it comes to both life in general and my life in this casino world of ours! So many things have happened, not surprising I haven't updated on these things or even thought of writing a blog since the terrible tragedy in Las Vegas that alike everyone else, shook me and hurt me to the core. It worried, hurt, distressed and scared me so much in fact, I didn't think i would ever return, yet, here, I, Danielle Adams Benham sit currently in the beautiful Las Vegas Nevada once again, I guess this is a good start to tell everyone what I am currently up to and why I want the poker gods to be with me!

Since my last blog post I have been to Noumea to the beautiful Le Meridien with Mel Judah for the APT and have already booked my way back there for Match 2018 for the NCPO. I had a tonne of fun there and devoured absolutely beautiful food, wine and my fair share of Jack and Cokes. I also saw the most beautiful surrounds! If you are interested in packing the next poker game into your life that is held in Noumea, go to Mel Judahs Poker World on facebook and check it out! It is March 4th 2018!

I have also been under the pump with the development and launch of where myself and my partners (friends) thought it wise to put together every gaming product imaginable, every article of clothing suitable, every gadget needed etc. for us casino buffs! What a fabulous project and fantastic outcome! I am so pleased with the way the store looks and operates. I am working on business development and if you are interested, you can contact me to get a nice 10% share of sales your website may make. If you are a consumer, someone after something that is on the store, hit me up for a discount code and send your friends!

WomanPokerPlayerMagazine has also been rebuilt and I hope to bring to all of my lady poker players content they want to read, things they can relate to and all details on up and coming tournaments and details on our fellow woman poker players that are kicking arse! I am always looking for writers to trial and again, you can hit me up if you are interested in finally getting your name out there into the poker and casino writing world!

As always, I have returned to my scent trail and started working heavily again in online gaming software and other such software projects too. You cant keep a good woman down, or a good developer for that matter! This is what brings me to Vegas! My partner in crime on a few of these projects and some awesome meetings with some incredibly cool people.

Now, as I write this, lets not forget I am still the proud owner of four kids, three dogs, a house, three cars that aren't working and a crystal and salt lamp business, among other things. I cant play poker of course, not online, though, am hoping that the poker gods will see me through these other poker related projects right through until NCPO (New Caledonia Poker Open) in 2018, hence the name of this blog post! I am SO overwhelmed, talking to me isn't probably a good idea, unless I love you, then its an all different story. I am also trying to quit smoking, the vice of my life.

Lastly, as mentioned, i am in Vegas. As many of you know I am a serious anxiety and panic attack sufferer. I have a great support network but, nonetheless are kind of getting a little freaked out and sad since visiting here for the first time since the shooting. Just days after my arrival, the Bellagio Poker Room was robbed at gun point too, just another thing to freak me the fk out! Ahrg! 

All of the above again, all equates to may the poker gods be with me! If i can catch a breath I will be a very happy gal.

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Wednesday, October 4, 2017

What Can I Say Except Las Vegas I Love You

My last blog post was titled Las Vegas a Second Home and Beating Heart. I went on my third trip in just months and returned to Australia to more things to do than imaginable and simply didn't update on my trip or happenings. It seems instead the universe has me putting my personal thoughts out on my second home and beating heart and the tragic events that just happened. I know I am just another post, another opinion, another cry, but, it is my pain and my condolences and my second home and me that wants to express how I feel, my initial thoughts and responses and, so, I am. As I do.

I was sitting at my mothers house with my sister when the Las Vegas Shooting happened. I wasn't even on my phone! A miracle! My cousin came out and told me that an active Gun Man was at Mandalay Bay shooting people. My instant response was of course: PANIC! I suffer panic attacks, bad ones, thank fully it was only my mind going haywire! Without a second thought I started dialing one of my best friends, they didnt answer, it cut out strangely. Then I texted immediately that there was a gun man on the loose. The message didnt deliver. Only my brain would go into panic overdrive and think trampling, broken phone, shot. Though, reality is, this could have been the case.

My sister screamed to call again. I could feel the color faded from my face I started to think that this couldn't be happening and everyone was asleep and no one could be hurt. I didnt call again. I went on to message another. Then I felt my heart sink. It was reality, I wasnt there, people I know are going to be hurt or worse dead. Friends of friends are going to be hurt. You get the hint. My mind stops working properly when my heart is involved in tragedies where those I love are close by.

After what seemed thirty minutes, when it was only around 5-10 my phone rang! I have NEVER been so damn happy in my life to see a name appear on my phone! I can not express the feeling, the lifting weight, the tears that welded in my eyes to see the name on my screen and know that I could check that name off my list! They didnt know about it, they were asleep. No sooner they turned on their TV. The reality hit even harder. One by one my friends contacted me or marked themselves safe. I didnt sleep much through the night with texts, calls, messages all coming through to check I was ok.

I have nothing left to say except I am shattered that any person could inflict such terror and pain and to a group of innocent people in a place of love and freedom. A place I love, with people I love, to my second home. Nothing except my deepest, deepest sympathies to those that have lost loved ones, been hurt or traumatized and to those that have lost their lives, I can only send love to the heavens and my heart felt prayers.

Vegas, I love You.

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Thursday, August 31, 2017

Las Vegas a Second Home and a Beating Heart

In just five days time I am bound for Las Vegas yet again with my Las Vegas Advisor coupon book and diamond members benefits tightly in my hand. To say that Las Vegas has become a second home would be a correct statement, this is my third trip in just months, the first two for the World Series of Poker and this trip for some business talks as well as a catch-up with my close friends while I am there. So what is it that makes Las Vegas a place to return to, a place to call home and what are you missing out on by not going there? What does Las Vegas mean for this ordinary Aussie Gal?

For starters, Las Vegas is one of the friendliest cities I have ever been to. As I make that statement, I make it as a person that has a lot of friends that live there, frequent there and visit there. Just before I started writing this post, as an example, I chatted to a friend from Australia who will also be there at the same time, clearly its their second home also, they have planted their feet and have a little condo which they can stay in. The person I will be staying with, my second mother, (Marsha Waggoner) was once just like me (no doubt) and is an Australian woman that has immigrated. There are also beautiful people in the poker industry I simply adore that are from the USA and Canada that now live there. It really is like going to a city full of friends and like minded people in the poker and gaming industry, though strangers are also as friendly as can be!

Going to Las Vegas is cheaper for me than staying home and I also eat better! I know it is hard to believe but it is! Not only do I have my coupon book in my hand that I mention above (from Las Vegas Advisor) but food in the supermarket is cheaper and drinks most definitely are! I also eat like a queen as apposed to my bangers and mash (sausages and vegetables) that I frequently eat in Australia. I also dont gamble, not gambling means the city cant take my money. Other people may be able to if I play cash games of poker but not the city. Here in Australia there is so little for me to do I spend money to go out. I spend nothing in Las Vegas! $20 here and there for a show or a meal.

Las Vegas has the warmth my body so greatly needs and the water for my mind. As I sit here freezing with aching joints and no option to hit the pool I get so very anxious and depressed. I dont know that a day will ever arrive when I am in Vegas when I am going to freeze, ache or not be able to swim. Being an Aussie, a woman and an Aquarius I simply crave the sun and the water and so does my physical body, its not just a mental thing. In fact, it isnt just about craving, it is about needing. I dont say i need things lightly so this means a lot.

Las Vegas has a bit of everything! If you feel like checking out nature, you can see it. If you want to go to a casino or club and experience epic nightlife its your oyster. If you want to dine its the place to go with so many different foods and restaurants you simply cant go wrong. If on the other hand you wish to relax there is no better place on earth. When it comes to gambling and of course poker, you have that option and if its your "thing" where else would you want to be? Vegas has a lot to offer for every personality type on earth.

At just $900AUD return (round trip) from Sydney, Las Vegas is as cheap to frequent as the sunshine coast, gold coast, surfers paradise, anywhere in Australia - again though, its cheaper when it comes to accommodation, food and beverages. You need to really shop hard for tickets and take the long haul and tiring journey but its worth it! Traveling to Vegas may as well be traveling to another Aussie state, you can just add a few hours travel.

With all of this said I have discovered that home isnt a place or where the heart is, home is a person, home is people, your type of people. With grown kids (except one) and infrequent contact with my family and friends in Australia as apposed to my frequent contact for hours a day with my best friend in Las Vegas, my person is there, my heart is there and my second home is now there, or is it my home? I write with utter confusion in relation to this. What I do know is making Las Vegas a home, second home or a bi monthly holiday target is most likely. I had a target to move to Vegas in 2021, I will be most definitely spending a lot of time there between now and three years time!

A wise man once told me that humans always want what they can not have. They assumed I wanted a piece of Las Vegas as it could never be something I could obtain. I hope they read this blog post and understand that this IS me we are talking about and that there is nothing I wont go after and get (unless we were talking people who do not want me in return) EVER! I have my business boots, mom boots, lady boots and Vegas boots on and Vegas, I am coming for you no matter how long it takes Las Vegas! Not only am I coming for the pre 2021 move "experience" but I am coming to make more friends, business acquaintances & to warm my heart, love deeply & fill the lonely gap from being away from my second home too long, my person.

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Thursday, August 24, 2017

My Poker Life Rut My Own Self Ruin My Cure & Prevention

As I sit on my bed, laptop charged ready to partner with me as my nightly soul mate I take a good hard look around and I see something that has been an oversight yet a consistent for many years of my life. It is my poker life rut and it is not without fault of my own, it is completely preventable yet causes such ruin. Maybe I am different to most poker players or traveling reporters and other moms or maybe all of you can empathize with the overwhelming work load and feelings of laziness when I, in reality, are probably completely normal. Either way, being in a rut and self ruining isn’t cool and when it comes to this hot mess, it runs deep – it runs as far as my poor filing of pictures and documents on my computer systems to the blanket that still hangs on the line two weeks after I washed it.

Life itself can become a rut, a repetitive, tireless rut. You can travel, love, laugh and enjoy it but at the end of the day you are you and your habitual living ways usually remain the same. Many get up and brew coffee as they open their smart phones to read their feeds and news, they follow this by working from home remotely on projects assigned to them or head to an office, or casino, when the time suits, all of course after they smartly rinse their coffee cup and place it neatly on the sink. Life in the poker industry as a female, a mom, a daughter, wife and at times a girlfriend causes a different kind of rut. It causes an unorganized, chaotic, stressful rut that is like a black hole that one cannot escape. It is much like having habitual poor poker habits that you can’t seem to cease, it’s a nightmare and though, as mentioned, preventable. Sometimes a prevention needs a cure first. Most days I truly look around and listen and I feel like a walking, talking sitcom. A profession change isn’t out of the question to be honest, a profession change to an actress in an real life sitcom.

I was always taught that a clean work-space is what is needed for optimum success. So is a clear mind. The same applies to poker both online and live and to a working mother. As I sit surrounded by my suitcases that haven’t been unpacked from my last trip away (I returned over a month ago), my bathroom covered in makeup containers and a washing pile the size of mount Everest I wonder how there is any success in my life at all. I have a walk-in wardrobe but appear to use the walk on wardrobe more for clothing storage lately (the floor). I suppose you could say that my rut has peaked to ruin. My rut is large at the moment and mine doesn’t include the morning coffee and feed read, its more along the lines of catch up really quickly on emails as I open my eyes before peeing, diving back into bed and plummeting away on my laptop keyboard. Meanwhile my social and family world collapses around me, it becomes ruin. The domino effect is of course an impact on poker and writing and again, I am diving back into bed and typing on my keyboard doing the wash, rinse and repeat cycle – the rut.

So, my cure is to step away from poker, writing and anything else that doesn’t resemble a mom, daughter, girlfriend and self-loving confident woman for two days and cure this ruin before putting into place preventative steps so this rut doesn’t happen again. The cure is of course to unclutter and clean my work-space, my mind and my soul. I’m basically taking the same approach as over calling pre-flop, I am ending it and getting tighter with my ways, starting with the basics. Of course, stepping away from your game like I am is a tough thing to do, as when you return you are always playing catch-up! Catch-up emails, writing, filing, conferences, will I then be trying to cure my homely rut again? No, I am not as I am taking a full scale project management plan on board to deal with this.
Multi-tasking at its finest is going to be my best friend, as are the beautiful electronics and appliances I own! Automated machines are going to be turned on first and after this I will go for the throat! I will be doing my homely duties (including unpacking my suitcases) I will start with the most likely thing to put me straight back into this situation again in the coming month – the suitcases and washing! After this, a little re-organization of my makeup and wardrobe (good bye floordrobe) and I am on my way to Cure! Lets not forget the filing of docos and pics, I will be cleaning them up during breaks. Add to all of this the brilliance of using your own body weight for workouts and I will have my fitness also covered for the day, though I suspect that it will be more of a cardio and endurance workout instead of muscle & core strengthening.

So then there is the prevention, so I don’t find myself in this ruin and rut ever again! A good prevention starts with an instant un-pack. It doesn’t matter how tired I am on return from my next trip I am unpacking and putting my washing straight into the machine. I will put away my shopping and hand over the gifts I have purchased my family and fold my clothes and put my makeup away as I talk about my adventure. Also, each night following my cure I will be pushing buttons on the automated appliances and setting them to start at the time I wake each morning. Let me call them my “working alarm clocks”. Yes, I have gotten to the stage where I feel I am back in a military environment. ORDER and ROUTINE MA’AM! At the moment, strict order and routine appears necessary. This is a much better “rut” to be in, in my opinion. The routine rut means a clear work-space, mind and soul and – we all know what that leads to: success on and off the table.

A final note that will only apply to the single parents out there:

I will also be working my vocals and using my thong (flip flop footwear, not my underwear) to drive my children to the same objectives and goals. I didn’t have kids to clean up after them or be their slave and I certainly didn’t have sons so I could mow the lawn as they spectate. To escape the bedlam, to rid the rut, to blast away the ruin and strive forward to my goals, I am going to have to be one mean arse mother. To my kids who may read this, may god be with you!

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Thursday, August 17, 2017

Hitting the Poker Life Reset Button and Critical Future Planning Post Online Ban

So many industries are so secure and the gambling industry is without a doubt one of the most secure. Gambling and sex are in our life everywhere we go. They are sellers, big sellers, they are industries or parts of life that will never change. Life is a gamble and the population depends on sex. Both are almost like taxes and death, they are staying. Though there are clearly sectors of these industries that can be hurt badly. We all know where I am heading! The ban on online poker in Australia and as the blog article states, hitting that poker reset button in a way we just never expected. Or did we?

Black Friday in America was very hard for me. So many people do not realize just how hard. I am talking nervous breakdown hard here, not just a little hard, ridiculously hard. I wasn't alone, I remember people near suicidal losing their homes, cars, lifestyle, family - aka life! I didnt lose my kids, thy were always staying, I did lose all my sponsorship, my bank roll, my chances of playing (I was grinding $1/$2- $3/$6 cash tables on line and entering some big tourneys to say the least) and wasnt using my money, the joys of being backed! I lost my jobs pertaining to writing, marketing and well, clearly, the lot! Need I continue? There is another blog post to explain how I in Australia lost all of this while many just lost the funds they had online.

So, here I go again, this time the hit isn't as hard. I haven't been making ridiculously large amounts of money but rather working my way back up the poker food chain very carefully. I haven't been receiving any sponsorship benefits or large sums of money from being employed by a room to market or the like. With that said, there are Aussies that have! There are Australians that will lose money left right and center from this and when it comes to lifestyle and choices, we have all lost out there. I think that's the hardest part, this changes who we are, at this stage, indefinitely.

I am not writing this as a poor me / sob story, I am writing this in hope that I help. My insight into what people are losing is great, I have been one of the lucky Aussies to have already been here and gone through this reset. People overlook losses that we all face such as not being able to play online qualifiers for live tourneys such as Aussie Millions, VIC Champs and even WSOP. I can tell you that this is like quitting smoking, online poker is habitual, especially when its been such a big part of your life for a very long time. I am not saying habitual in a bad way, its been great for us all! Bored? Play some poker online! Want to qualify for $2 to a big game? Play some poker online! Want to study something unique and be the best you can at it? Study some online poker! This of course leads one to the thought of the loss when it comes to time & study. I know you have all put in countless hours, more than imaginable and many a dollar on literature and learning. It really is equivalent to becoming a heart surgeon only to be told you can never go near a patient again. The time investment is years, it hurts.

I hoped from my prior experience I can help you deal with the loss of something you put so much effort into learning & studying - something you have made a big part of your life, something that is life, something that is a lifestyle (all while I punch out my own thoughts and self help). I am afraid that the only advice I can really give this time is take up live poker at a more constant level or move countries if poker is your plan. Or, take up another in-depth technical hobby, Minecraft, anyone? Chess? Evelyn comes to mind! I used to play that game a lot between hands!

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Tuesday, August 8, 2017

Poker Singles Dating Hook Ups and Relationships Realities

I would consider myself as a poker industry veteran now. I would also consider myself a near expert on poker dating, poker relationships, poker hook ups and the good, bad and ugly of women in poker mixing with men in poker or, of course, trying to date people that are not in the poker industry at all. You need to make a lot of mistakes to learn and when it comes to relationships, dating and poker, mistakes I have sadly made. This means I have learned a lot. Being close friends and acquaintances with people in our beloved poker industry I have also seen a lot, talked a lot and observed a lot relating to poker dating, poker marriages and poker friendships. I figured someone should put out the realities, given I am bored and are sick of writing about serious poker subjects, it may as well be me! Though, when it comes to serious subjects, dating, hookups, relationships and the realities behind them is a serious thing in our lives in reality. By our lives, I of course mean the lives of my fellow poker players, executives and poker media friends in the world.

When I think back at the years gone by and all that I have seen and witnessed, all that I have talked about and all that I have lived, it brings me to make the following immediate recommendations when it comes to being a poker player who's thinking of finding a mate to spend time with, life with, love with, a bed with. They have to understand poker and all that comes with it. They need to have an open mind and be willing to ride the highs and the lows, the travel, the busy times and the early morning wake ups. They also need to be able to separate poker from degenerate gambling and not whine about paying entry into costly tournaments or taking dollars to a ring game on a regular basis. Let me elaborate a little.

I once went on a date with a poker player to whom I will not name other then to say he is officially my most hated person in the world. Now lets remember that I was also a poker player. I really liked this guy and talked to my friend about future prospects, my non poker playing friend. It was only seconds into the conversation when she blurted out "stay away from this piece of shit, he is nothing but a degenerate gambler, find yourself a man that has a real job". With that said, it was friendship over! She had called me names by calling him names. It wasn't about insulting him, in reality she was correct. He also punted on horses, pushed $100 bills through poker machines and smoked a tonne of pot, love is blind, what can I say? She was correct about him, he was the definition of degenerate and much much more, he was also nothing but a mooch, but it was only the poker part of his life that she knew about, the poker part that she referred to. This brought me to the realization that if people I knew were thinking this about people I decided to date in the poker industry, that the men that were thinking about dating me (my poker dates and "non poker industry" dates) friends and families were likely thinking this about me too. God help me! What was I to do? Becoming a crazy cat lady for the rest of my life was one thought! I felt immediately doomed. When it comes to dating, get your date on side before you go any further so they have a good understanding of how poker as a career works and how you aren't selling your shirt any time soon so that they can explain this to those significant in their own lives. That would be speed hump number one out of the way! Make sure they UNDERSTAND what poker is.

Of course a good way to have a date / future love understand is to stick with your own kind! They too are facing the trials of a world that still hasn't accepted a game of mostly skill. They get it! How many poker playing couples do you actually see in a long term and successful relationship though? Think of our beloved A grade players. There truly isn't too many that get together, stay together and live happily ever after. The ones that do though are ever so happy. I cant be sure on why and how  they are so perfect together but do have an understanding that they don't seem to push each others playing styles or game styles onto each other. If they do, I don't know how they do it! Think of trying this with friends, it isn't cool and always ends in some sort of argument or resentment. I think they key here is to support them and the game that they have come to be good at. If they are rather new to the game, that's different! Handing over the skills you have, encouraging and uplifting them can only be a good thing! With that said, pushing them in their play style, not yours. Help that tiger of yours go get em' and be humbly proud of every achievement! All in all, I tend to steer clear of other poker players, in fact, I made it a rule at one stage. Mostly my rule was made as I saw so many failures and so much pain from the result of bad poker to poker relationship outcomes. Plus, a lot of players are all a little too cocky for my liking.

When it comes to snagging that perfect and understanding partner that loves you for who you are you really need to put out there what they are in for! No surprises! A lot of the time a poker player is in what can only be described as a long distance relationship, especially if they travel the circuits. Explaining all that comes with "the job" always works better than surprising them with a month in Las Vegas for the WSOP or a trip around Asia for the APPT, etc.. Explanations of long nights grinding online or at the local casino is a must, as is pointing out that sometimes 3am rises are a necessity to play online tournaments. Add to all of this the most distant part of all, day after day, hour after hour at a poker table with no time for them. The sidekick or better half of a poker player has to be a very patient person and they need to be given opportunity to see if their patience can handle it, especially if you are a woman poker player in a male dominated industry, with males you hang with and chat to all the time, many of which pay you a lot of attention and look after you like a sister or daughter.

Of course every poker player has highs and lows in their career. They have bad beats and graphs that express their mood swings they may face. Those people in the life of a poker player should be able to ride the roller coaster with them. Many a great player has buckled at the knees when their dream of winning a big tournament has ended with a bad beat. Grown men cry, grown men yell, grown men go silent. However you handle the lows, this is an important explanation when you are getting close to people. Understanding why you are somewhat "bi-polar" at times is an important concept for a significant other to grasp and be able to deal with. I know I personally want to sit in a corner alone and talk to no one as I relay the crap hand I just went through or even better, if I could find one, an understanding ear that will take me under their arm and give me a hug and wipe away my tears and hand me a drink. The silence that I have sometimes projected as I deal with my horrible loss or downswing is deafening and not for the faint hearted. It has caused me loss of friends let alone potential boyfriends. If only I made these people in my life understand before the shit hit the fan and they thought I was ignoring them due to something they had done.

I suppose the best outcome for anyone sifting through the millions of possible candidates in the world to be a future lover when you are a poker player is to have them take everything into consideration and educate people before moving forward, as mentioned above. There may be some things I have missed, I always miss things and think of them later, if so, add them in the comments! When it comes to me and finding my Mr Perfect, my list is long & isn't really debatable and that's in the best interests of them, to be honest. I haven't spent the last decade plus as a mostly single woman in this game without learning that some things, when it comes to character, in order to deal with my lifestyle are a must. Making a list like I have and ensuring you tick it off (or rather a list that a special someone ticks off) is a good idea. My list goes a little something like this, add a lot more things, these are the main ones:
  • Understands I wont touch my bankroll for personal use until I cash out profit
  • Understands the seriousness of poker & all it is and that I am not a random bingo player that is willing to gamble my future and explains this to their family and friends
  • Is willing to travel or  - video call a lot
  • Is willing to deal with my roller coaster of highs and lows and support me emotionally
  • Can deal with very early starts and very late nights and loves to watch me sleep in their waking hours
  • Understands I am there to take other mens money, not flirt with them and hook up (no jealousy) and that I have a lot more male friends than female ones
  • Has a good understanding that I breathe, eat and live the game
  • Will cater to my needs without question to help my days be easier, just like I would theirs (making food, bringing me food, doing chores, rubbing my shoulders and helping me do laundry during trips away or long weeks at the PC). Again, this is the same as i would do for them and will, when I am having a break.

Given I play a lot less now (online, especially), and are more media in the poker realm, it isn't so hard to check off my list. When it is full steam ahead "poker play chick" though, it means full dedication to my life in all the small ways a man can and mixing two lives together for a perfect balance. Your list and its importance at any given time will depend on your level of play, enjoy making it poker singles! Enjoy the realities that come with dating in this tough, hard world of poker. Enjoy finding that perfect person to complete what is already a beautiful you! Again, as mentioned above, let me know what I have missed. We are a community after all, one that stands united. If you are one of the lucky couples that both play, don't hesitate to shoot me a mail and tell me your secrets! I would love to relay them to my readers and eliminate my own stigma that revolves around dating another player.

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Monday, July 31, 2017

Poker Psychology Strategy for Elite and Beginner Poker Players

Many years ago, in fact, back in 2010 to 2011 I started blogging a series on poker psychology. What were my qualifications to do such a thing? I expressed experience and observation, side equipped with a lot of reading and research. Why did I do this? I did this as there was only a small amount of literature available that I, myself, for myself, could find. When I looked, I saw only advanced poker psychology strategy information. I was wrong, I didnt look hard enough. I now find a vast array of books, articles and strategy by players and authors such as Mike Caro and my new favorite Psychologist when it comes to the world of Poker, Dr Alan N. Schoonmaker, Ph.D. Psychologist & poker player whos experience beyond destroys mine or any other man or womans I have seen when it comes to poker psychology, mindset and strategy. If there are others I overlook as better, please advise me otherwise.

As I sit writing this blog post I have with me four of Alans books to read, a second time, more thoroughly than the first. Alan not only has books specifically on psychology but a tonne of books he has published relating to poker and business, game play and more. Alan Schoonmaker has co-written with one of pokers other elites, David Sklansky & is widely discussed as an author on 2+2. None of this chit chat, or throwing around titles can compare to talking with Dr Schoonmaker who humbly discussed his life, his knowledge and his legacy to the world of poker via his written genius with me.

Its not often I do long interviews, in fact, I have done around ten of them in what can only be classed as a veteran career. In the last four years, the number of interviews conducted at length is but one. The man of the hour, the man with the knowledge and the man I would choose to set me straight via written text or consultation o my poker mindset and game (if this were available) any day! I took an entire hour out of my busy schedule at the World Series of Poker to sit and talk with Alan about all of his brilliance wrapped into around fourty book titles and the outcome was a very impressed lady, with a great understanding of what separates the great from the good. It was an hour I appreciate.

Quite a few of Alan Schoonmakers book subjects are so very different from what we can find available in general. I currently have in my position one of a kind books such as how to beat killed hold'em games, beating small poker games (which I recommend to all players who are not elitists) and in particular a book suited to those that want to keep that brain power functioning, Stay Young Play Poker (aka - use it or lose it!). These are but small amounts of examples of the variance of knowledge on offer from this brilliant man. In particular, in my current grasp is a book titled "Competitive Edged Strategies For Poker and Business Winners". This book is exceptional for those that want a comparison or, competitive edge on both a business and poker level. That's not what we are here to discuss though.

Some people in the poker industry, alike me, as an example, focus their lives within poker to report it, concentrate on poker life and tabloids or lifestyle as a whole, all while counting the odd chip stack. Others just play poker, they play hard, long and daily and learn via study along the way. Some are executives that we, the poker community, need to keep this little world of poker running well. Then,  there are the Alan Schoonmakers, the authors, writers, teachers, the humble beings that take a back stance behind the crowd to observe and bring an elite skill set to the table, in writing, to help perfect our games, if we are smart enough to use the information they table for us.

What most mesmerizes me about Dr Alan Schoonmaker is his most humble ways yet bright, sharp mind. Its quite clear that Alan is no poker star, no Daniel Negreanu, rather a poker playing genius that would rather focus on the academics, skills knowledge, writing ability and of course the psychology relating to poker and its cross overs that so many of us are in need of educating on. Alan has taught

all around the world in his field of expertise and this my friends (education) does not come cheap. Or, didn't, until now! In this new day and age of technological wisdom we can all self teach and self teach quite cheaply via e-books, kindles and taking on board the lessons of some of the poker worlds greatest professors from the comfort of our own beds. From $2 - and an instant download!

I have been foolish in the past, I have sought knowledge from the incorrect people, I have tried to pass on my own knowledge in somewhat untouched fields to the beginners on the poker scene and although I was correct in doing this on certain levels, I went about it entirely the wrong way on others. I have fallen, I have risen, I have learned and now I want to pass on what I know in a smart way! When it comes to niche areas of poker, do not look to anyone for the information other than those that or high class professionals. Doctors, professors, experts in fields that have passed on knowledge just like Alan Schoonmaker has, via writings assembled specifically to suit your needs.

Of course, one should already know the summary of my blog! If you are after in depth psychology or strategy or even just a beginners taste, when it comes to the teachings of a great poker psychologist, you really should go to Amazon and download Alan N Schoonmakers books. At the very low cost (again, some as low as $2) these digital book copies are - and the fact that they are in various languages, there is simply no further excuses to tap into your own conscious, subconscious, the conscious of others and lift your psychological edge at the poker table from this day forward. Click links within articles to do just that!

I wouldn't be me if I didn't end with a super yet strange positive and acknowledgement! My greatest thanks to Alan for sharing his knowledge and wisdom with me, and all of his book titles so that I can go on a squirmy little book worm adventure into the unknown. Heres to getting into your heads a little more in the near future :)

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Friday, July 28, 2017

Las Vegas Highs Lows & Extortion - WSOP Trip Two 2017 Update

By the pool with a Pina Colada FTW!
I have tried to remain extremely positive about my last Las Vegas experience but after day seven of my return home still quite sick with holes in me from blood tests & fear of mutated flu viruses inside my aching body, its tough! I figured now I have risen from my bed I would not just complain, nor would I concentrate on following up on all of the fabulous things that happened, rather, even it all out with some highs and lows and what really got to me the most which can only be classed as time extortion and trickery!

I will start with the highs! I had the most fabulous people around me whilst in Vegas during my time at the WSOP! Not only were these people bright poker players, poker executives, writers and media staff but they were fun loving and never ceased to give smiles and a welcoming feeling! The WSOP and 888 poker crews sure have their stuff in order and I can only extend my congratulations to them all for what can only be classed as a very successful World Series of Poker, which went without a hiccup.

I owe a very big thank you and also some book reviews to D&B Poker for the books they gave to me to read over, sadly, I wasn't able to do on air interviews as promised. I will ensure I make it up to
them by screaming out the books I love most, from the mountain tops, as soon as I am well and writing every few days again.Pictured is Chris Moormans book published by D&B as well as a matching congratulatory cake! Brilliance!

Of all poker highs, one would have to be a little biased and mention the brilliant Heidi May taking down the WSOP ladies event as my all personal favorite. I had always wanted to watch the ladies event conclude and to see a fellow Australian take it down was something that had me jumping up and down and running the halls like a crazy woman (after I went under the rail snapping pics as quick as I could, of course!). Heidi sure has done Australia proud, along with James Obst who I really shouldn't leave out! Back to Heidi, she makes my high of the decade with my two favorite poker aspects joined together: women and Australia. I don't think this can be ever beaten, unless we have a future article title which says something like:

Australian Woman Wins WSOP Main Event Bracelet!

I was very smart, lucky and blessed to sign up as a diamond member of the Las Vegas Advisor which you can read about in my past blog posts. The Las Vegas Advisor gives some beyond fabulous deals, coupons and money savers that I just could never live without again. It is also a wealth of information which helped me along my way, where my friend was absent. Furthermore I was again blessed to go on an excursion to Huntington Press and gawk at the covers of gaming books galore and refresh, rewind and relax for a short while.

I had a lot of relax and rest time whilst in Vegas with again, the most amazing company I could wish for. I had beautiful lunches, dinners, pool side drinks, endless discussions and a lot of fun trekking the streets of Vegas & the casinos as well as going to a fabulous show (comedy hypnotist at V Theater), shopping and laying in bed (theater and shops pictured). My accommodation (talking of laying in bed) was fabulous! Every place I stayed, in fact! I simply can not complain about my personal time in Vegas, other to say that I just didn't have enough of it! I don't think a life time would be enough time anymore! If I could turn back time I would change only one thing, I would have had less sneaky cigarette breaks. It wastes time, life and fun as well as precious moments. Needless to say, I really miss the place and the people already.

When it comes to lows, I will try not to concentrate too much on them and give them much attention, negativity isn't going to make me feel any better. Firstly, the plane trips are always nightmares. I can not wait until they cut the flight time in half, somehow, surely its going to happen one day soon! I think I made my trip a little worse after drinking copious amounts of alcohol (per my body size at least) in order to sleep! Landing in LA wasn't pleasant, though much more pleasant then flying! My next low would be the shock to my system die to the climate difference! From -4 to 48c - HOLY COW! Enough said!

Crazy Aussie Lady needs some more poker action. Hehe!
Poker wise, I was quite disappointed that I didn't do more coverage of the WSOP, I was also disappointed I missed the main event, but there is always next year which may even bigger and better than this years all round record breaker! Either way, I am going to do my very best to get back there, punctually in 2018! I am also disappointed that I missed seeing James Obst win his WSOP bracelet, though, I was there in spirit I suppose and did watch a lot of his play. I am also annoyed as hell I didn't be poker groupie like and annoy the worlds best players for photographs. They are something I will likely treasure one day and well, I was too busy talking and not busy enough thinking! In all honesty, who talks to Negreanu multiple times, interviews him and doesn't get a pic? I suppose I'm just not poker groupie minded? Likewise with Chris Moorman, goodness gracious! Why didn't I get a picture with these great players? Not forgetting, I played no events, another disappointment but an expected outcome. In fact, I played no poker at all (Except a friendly heads up match)... Who does that?

A most disappointing thing that happened was falling victim to what I can only call trickery and to some level, extortion, mostly time extortion. In previous blog posts I mentioned the benefits of MyVegas rewards. Its an application I wont be using so frequently again! I had all the spending of my points penned out for when I arrived in Vegas. Unfortunately on arrival, nothing I wanted was available from my location. I contacted my sister who was in Australia and these reward options were still there for her. Buy before you leave! Some did re-appear again but with price extortion. The helicopter ride worked out cheaper without using the rewards and the Beatles Love show at MGM also worked out cheaper. Maybe it was poor timing for me, I have a lot of friends who use the app. Regardless, I wont be relying on it again for benefits or discounts and I take back everything I have previously said for now.

Ladies, gents, carry masks and have your hands sanitized constantly during travel! I know of three friends from the land down under that became seriously ill while transiting or playing poker. I am sure there are a lot more, I have not really spoken to too many people. I will leave that as my last note and a little tip.

Thank you to each and every one of you that accommodated me in any way during my 2017 WSOP experience. Thank you even more to those that invested a personal interest, added a personal touch or continued to be the very best friends / people that they are. You guys are what makes Vegas so very special and dear to my heart, from now to eternity! You are stars! Until I return again, I will continue to think as I work my way back: Ad astra per aspera. 💗

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Saturday, July 1, 2017

Should you go to the World Series of Poker & Why?

I have played poker, written poker, spoken poker on radio & video reported poker various times for so long I guess you could say that like everyone else I have lived and breathed poker. Going beyond this I have worked in poker & casino software development, marketing and managing of players and teams. Until this year though the World Series of Poker simply couldn't happen. I'd had my identity stolen and a mass of personal issues preventing me from leaving this great country, Australia. So, did I actually miss out on anything and are you too? Is the WSOP all its cracked up to be and should you prioritize your visit?

2017 WSOP Entrance Painted Stairs

In short, the answer to this is yes. No matter what level of play, no matter what country, city or province you live if you play poker you really should be saving to attend this prestigious event. The World Series if Poker is the pinnacle of poker events. It sorts out the cats from the mice and its no surprise that year after year we see the greatest poker players alive cashing time and time again, making final tables and winning bracelets. I suppose, the WSOP is equivalent to the super bowl or AFL grand-final on a singular level. Its like running as a professional runner year after year and then attending the Olympics. It is the height of the game, the industry and its skill.

I have broadcast and written about many events that I have watched and attended. Almost every single year I have attended the Aussie Millions Poker Championship & seen many an elite player in the main event and side events building chip towers and showing off their brilliance. As “upper class” as these tournaments are, these aren't the grand finals or rather, championships for poker and the caliber of players in mass numbers, indescribable numbers in fact makes this quite clear. Also making this point clear are the very many events that take place covering almost every poker variant one could possibly think of and over a fair buy-in structure to give all levels a chance.

I see the WSOP as a tiered series. The buy-ins tier the players from best to worse (rich business men messing around excluded here). You have available affordable events for the players who are building a roll and are on a stringent budget and then the players who are set, have poker as life and are good enough to play in every event they wish (so long as they don't overlap) up to $111,111.00 for the one drop, a charity bracelet event. You also have sponsored and staked players that are playing as per affordability or funding received, again, leveling them into the right play level for them. A good example of how this is factual is the Colossus event which had 18503 players enter at the low budget buy in of just $565. It only makes perfect sense that this event would drag in the largest amount of hopefuls given when it comes to the poker food chain, there are a lot more lower level players than higher. Its great value for money too, if you run deep!

The main event is what everyone always talks about when we recap the world series from prior years though. Generally you do not hear of X player winning event X last year and taking down a bracelet unless its someone you know, or a friend of a friend, or, a person who has just taken down another major tournament and its brought to life. The main event at the word series of poker is in reality what everyone wants to win. Who doesn't want to be the greatest poker player on earth when its their hobby or life? Of course the event doesn't draw over 18,000 players, there just are not enough players with the roll to fund this level of play. There are however satellites at the WSOP to gain entry into the ME & of course ways to gain entry online all year round with the likes of 888poker, the title sponsor (if your country or state allows online poker play, they have some awesome live events to attend instead if you cant).

Do I suggest attending Vegas and the WSOP to play live satellites or small side events and cash games? You betcha! Attendance is just something every poker player needs to do to comprehend the atmosphere, the sheer amount of players in attendance and just how serious poker really is! I only imagined what the WSOP would be like prior to attending it. Let me finalize by saying, it blew my mind and was nothing like my imagination made it out to be like. Get saving, get packing and get your arse there! You wont be sorry! Not even if you spend your time railing the worlds greatest players. I am returning with 888 Poker Pod Radio for the main event in the coming week. Time to watch the glory of glories and the champion for 2017 take down their bracelet! Good luck to those competing!

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Tuesday, June 27, 2017

Savings for Tourists in Vegas Your How To Finance Survival Guide and Hacks when Holidaying

Before we headed to Las Vegas to do Poker Pod Radio shows for the WSOP we did a lot of YouTube viewing and article reading on where to go, what to do and how much everything costs. I don’t think that it actually prepared myself and my assistant (and sister) as much as we could have been prepared and what was far worse was the stigma around the cost and the availability of entertainment. It scared us. Most information sources indicated that if you were not a gambler you would get bored very quickly. They also indicated something that sure wont help the city of Las Vegas when it comes to tourists visiting. The following haunting words may or may not be true, in our case the weren’t! “Las Vegas is there to take your money”. We read and heard it over and over.

I have a few friends (to say the least) that frequently visit Las Vegas for the World Series of Poker and some of my closest friends live there. I was so worried about finances to the point I asked one of them if they thought USD$1000.00 personal spending money would be enough for my trip. My friend sharply said that 1k doesn’t last long in Vegas. I gulped! What was I to do? My friend knows me well and he was backing up what all of the information we had read had said to me. On a wing and a prayer, I headed off and cautiously watched every single cent I spent from the minute I left my home in Australia. I expected the holiday from hell with nothing to do, no where to go and no money to eat. I was wrong and I panicked for nothing.

I don't expect everyone to read my article and believe it over the thousands of others out there, or, all of the youtube videos, but if you use it as a base guide and back up what I say with hard evidence (which I will show within the article via links you can click on), I think I can convince you that Vegas is an affordable holiday, an affordable place to frequent and certainly isn’t boring if you choose not to gamble, the very first thing I will start with as a subject when it comes to spending, saving and entertainment. Gambling funds.

Las Vegas is most definitely the gambling city of the world. From the moment you get off your flight and step into the airport you see slot machines all over the place which are a sure fire way to convince you you are going broke in a day. Thank fully there are ways to combat losing your shirt and even was you can gamble half price! As a poker player, you can read in my blog, I don’t gamble. I don’t see poker as a gamble. It is a game with risk like any other sport, there is a gambling element to it. Clearly though, you are doing nothing but gambling on a slot machine! Now, if you are like me and simply don’t have the dollars to be inserting into slot machines, rest assured, you can still gamble and not go bankrupt. Firstly, separate your pockets. Professional gamblers have a left and a right pocket. Draw the line, use common sense and never break the gambling rule, just like the pros. Allocate X$ to your left pocket for gambling and stick to it. Match play bets are going to help when it comes to even doubling your pocket for table games. I mentioned in my last article that you get bonuses by “signing up” to a lot of the casinos. You have a choice of match play bets or drinks as your reward. Choose match play bets, there is a method to my madness. If you choose match play bets you can get free drinks while you sit and play. This means you get both! Free! Remember when you get your match play tickets that they expire, mostly within three days. Be sure to use them in time. Use these for table games such as black jack.

Remember that you can still sportsbet from your online apps (if you plan to bet on football or basketball etc) like you would in your country of origin and the cost will be less as you are not currency converting. Use the free wifi to place your sports bets on your mobile device if you plan on kicking back in a sports bar and watching your bets unroll on TV. Prior to leaving for Las Vegas, take advantage of the many sports betting companies too. They almost all have sign up offers. $50 worth of bonus bets with your first deposit, is an example. Sign up to them all and get ready to load the account to use if you want to. Let me tell you that nothing beats the atmosphere of watching the Basketball Championships as you walk through Vegas (as an example) and betting on it makes it all the more fun, no doubt! I took many pics of the sportsbar TVs, it really is a fab place to watch such things. Not one place you go wont have big screens, you don't even have to sit!

Back to the drink thing! As mentioned, when gambling, waitresses will bring you drinks. You need to of course tip them and the more you tip the more likely they are to bring you drinks often. Do not go to bars and pay $8 (or more) for spirits (well drinks as they are called in the USA), sit at a table or machine and wait for the waitress. I took an even cheaper approach and had pre going out drinks in my motel room. It was much cheaper and a tonne of fun. I took things a little further by taking my liquor pre-mixed with soft-drink when I went walking about the strip only to place it in my handbag when entering casinos etc. Bottles of straight liquor are around $14-$18USD. Buy a voss water and there you have your own portable drinks on tap in a sturdy class drink bottle! Take a large bag or backpack with you. When it comes to pool side drinks always get the refillable containers they have for sale. The first drink is up to $24 and re-fills are only $12. Plus, you get to keep the souvenir and use the cup later.

When it comes to food & eating I would suggest the two for one buffet coupons or discounts you can get via the booklets mentioned in my last article which you can find through the Las Vegas Advisor (rewards list in link) or the MyVegas app (some rewards in link). Sure, we all want to try things that are only available in the USA such as In and Out but you certainly wont be wanting to eat these foods all day every day. The Las Vegas buffets are the bomb! They are fabulous! You get free drinks with all meals and many provide you with free wine or beer also. Did I mention the refills are free? 

Drink to your little hearts desire when you visit! What can be a beautiful lunch of crab legs and prawns can soon turn into the start of your booze binge – sit as long as you like and re-fill those beers for free guys! Take your time with deserts and meals. Chill! The food is mostly A grade. I only had one issue with one buffet the entire time I was there and that was merely my eggs cooked wrong. The cost is around $12 for lunch and dinner and all the drinks in the world if you plan ahead by getting the coupons. McDonalds in the USA is overpriced in comparison to Australia (I am not sure about other countries) so avoid it like the plague! Another great thing we did was venture to Walmart and grab groceries. We filled our bar fridge with them and had cold meat and salads, bread and fruits, juices and milks to consume at any time. It saved us a small fortune! When ordering pizza in the USA do NOT order a large or extra large. You will be sorry, it will feed you for a week. Be sure to check the pizza sizes out. Some are as big as SUV wheels but at only $30 for a pizza the size of a tyre, you sure get your monies worth there too!

When it comes to attractions or sights to see there are a multitude for free and others very cheap. Just to name a few there is the Bellagio Fountain, the Volcano that erupts, light shows and freak shows through Freemont street (old Vegas), beautiful malls / shopping complexes filled with fountains and many, many free things to view in casinos such as the beautiful flower arrangements at Wynn which includes a horse carousel that spins. It will take around four afternoons and nights to see every building and sight so do not think that you are going to be spending money every day for entertainment if you run out of left pocket money or decide to not gamble at all. Things such as helicopter rides over the city or museum entries and rides can be FREE FREE FREE by using MyVegas rewards and others are discounted heavily. Remember using MyVegas rewards you are limited to three in each 30 day period. Again, the voucher books from the Las Vegas Advisor are unlimited usage, you use them till the booklet is empty. This includes concerts, shows and fun packed things such as CSI Investigation, though I would reserve that for children now, though there are many more, of course.

Now, I could go on and on and on about this budget style Vegas Holidaying, I will stop for now though and after I have visited a second time, I will add more. I simply wanted to put it out there that not everyone is going to go broke in Vegas. With that said, who knows what my next Vegas venture will bring!

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