Reflecting on Resolutions

December 31st, 2013

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Happiness is something that comes into our lives through doors we don’t even remember leaving open. ~ Rose Lane

Does anyone ever successfully look back after the year is over and not in some way go.. “shoot, what happened to my resolution?” Well, I often times look back at the goals that I set for myself and realize that I either let up a little on them or didn’t do everything I could to fulfill my full obligations or dreams. It’s not to say that I’m disappointed in the year or that I shouldn’t be proud of the accomplishments I have had, don’t get me wrong, I love my life and all of the blessings within it. It’s just to say that for me, I will always strive for the best in life for myself and the ones I love. When all is said and done, I always see ways that I could have done better, done more of, or tried harder at. That’s the price of being a perfectionist I guess. The art of it is being able to appreciate the great things and use the things that I could have done better to turn those into positives as well.

We tend to focus on changing the unhealthy behaviors in our lives that hold us back without ever really looking past the ‘effect’ and instead focus on the ’cause’. I think if we stop trying to fix our problems by focusing on them and spend more time focusing on what makes us happy, then our unhealthy behaviors would begin to dissipate as a result of a more positive outlook.

The best New Year’s resolution we can make is to become aware of why we participate in unhealthy behaviors rather than trying to diminish the behavior itself. More often than not we try to give up bad habits by focusing on the habit itself, which is a difficult way of trying to break a habit simply because our focus is on the negative from the beginning.

It’s all about old habits of thought and therefore being. Being happy can be as simple as a choice to be. If every day we woke up and imagined the happy day before us, before too long it becomes our habit of being. We begin to expect to have a happy day and nine times out of ten, things show up that lead to more happiness. Persistence is all that is needed.

Every day may not be good, but there’s something good in every day. ~Author Unknown

Think big thoughts but relish small pleasures. ~H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

That brings me to my resolution. Let’s shoot for something that we can all be proud of. Something that will reflect on everything that we do and everyone we love and touch throughout the year. “Being happy and appreciating all of our blessings!” There are plenty of things we face throughout the year that some people let get to them. Everything from a bad beat at the table to someone that simply upsets us in our daily lives. With all of the things that I encounter throughout the year, I’m sure I could find plenty that could bother me, but what I’ve learned is that inner strength is more powerful then outer influence.

With that said, my new years resolution is to be emotionally, physically and mentally healthy. I feel that these three aspects are the most important things I can strive for within my life. I’ve prepared a little list and plan on adding to it each and every week either on my fb, twitter, blog, or on my own personal list of happiness! These are the moments, the people, and the times that have touched my life, lifted me up and given me all the inner strength I’ve needed. I would encourage anyone that lives a crazy life like mine to do the same.

• I am happy to be still alive.

• I am happy for having my cats Jace and Tesni around.

• I am happy to have a few trustworthy friends that I appreciate deeply for all the things they have done from the goodness of their hearts.

Let us be grateful to people who make us happy; they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom. ~ Marcel Proust

A special thank you to a few kind hearted souls that have gone the extra mile to bring enlightenment, happiness, and truly inspirational friendship into my life in 2013. You know who you are.

To all of you out there, I wish you all the happiness, blessings and fortune in life that I have as well. Whether you’ve seen it or whether you’re still looking for it, your life is filled with amazing moments, incredible kindness, and people that are there for you. Embrace It! ♥

Happy New Year and Best Of Luck in 2014. Cheers!

I have a feeling that it’s going to be a great one!

A New Vibrational Era

January 1st, 2013

2013 feels a lot like 2012 doesn’t it? How much has changed in a day? Yet, people symbolically look to the end of a year as a time to reflect and look towards the New Year as an opportunity for a fresh start. So, with that in mind, I hope everyone focuses on what is important to them in their life and take this as a real opportunity for positive change. Elevate your level of consciousness. Remember, we are all very connected in life, spiritually, emotionally and physically. I hope you all make choices that not only benefit you but benefit others as well. Our actions and decisions vibrate throughout the World.

Our lives on this first day of 2013, is the entire sum of the physical, emotional and spiritual decisions we have made.  We are also a product of our environment and the choices being made around us. We both influence and become influenced by our environment. Our vibrations are felt by others. We send energy and receive energy constantly.

Consider a small moment of your day. How many times have you been guilty of this? You are at lunch with a friend and frequently ignore them to check your phone while they are trying to communicate with you. It is your “choice” to place importance on that phone. This one incident might not be a big deal but the accumulations of our actions add up and it paints a picture of how much we care. Ultimately, your friend will choose how to interpret your actions and that is how the world goes round. 

One of the most eye opening events of 2012 was the Sandy Hook Elementary tragedy. Twenty-eight total deaths that day, mostly children. This day was the result of the choices made by one person. Nothing so poignantly demonstrates the power each of us holds to negatively or positively influences the lives of those around us. And it begs us to wonder, what events lead up to this day? Could any series of human interaction changed this day?

I believe those mentally unstable and/or weak individuals that are sacrificing their lives right now are a reflection of how the lowest vibrations can affect each of us if we fail to take responsibility for not only our actions, but our way of thinking as well. They are connected to us. Somebody doesn’t just decide to do great evil one day, even the mentally ill. We do create our world by the very thoughts that we hold and the Spiritual vibrations that we carry in our hearts.  If we choose to allow our minds and hearts to get tangled in the web of deceit and lies, then negative events will manifest not only in our minds, but also impacts those people that we come into contact with in our world. 

I also feel that many people will be pushed over the edge with the constant shift in subtle energy so there will be a lot more internal & emotional conflict with people acting out of confusion and weakness. For everyone that wants the world to be a better place to live, they should raise their vibrations to a higher level to override the negativity that may develop across the news media. 

Please, everyone take a moment to reflect on your life. You may not make impulsive or drastic decisions on the scale of the Sandy Hooke Elementary School shooting but your decisions do have an impact. They do influence. You are either paying it forward or not. You are contributing to this world being a better place or you are not. Kids are being bullied every day. People commit suicide. People are being murdered. People commit adultery. Recently a 23 year old woman was attacked and gang raped on a bus in New Delhi. She died.  All of these acts cannot be dismissed by mental illness. These are acts of men and women who have deficits of love, charity, kindness, respect. The energy in their heart and soul is negative.

Collectively we share the same range of emotions with each other. We are extremely connected this way and share a sense of sameness. We have all experienced negative emotions in our life; betrayal, felt alienated, alone, depressed, despair, shame, jealous, etc. Nearly all of us have been in a dark place. We have all wanted to take revenge on somebody or contemplated it at least. We have all felt impulsive. We have all felt moments, long or short of being disconnected. In our sameness we each hold the key to provide a better life for ourselves and others. Let’s not fool ourselves, how you treat other people matters. And how you treat other people does has an impact on how they feel and treat others. 

After all, it is our state of consciousness that created our world. Expanding our consciousness goes hand and hand with raising our vibration and it needs to be our top priority if we want to enter into the Golden Age. There are many ways to raise our vibration. The most important thing we can do right now is state your intention.

To all of you out there, I wish you all the happiness, blessings and fortune in life that I have as well.  Whether you’ve seen it or whether you’re still looking for it, your life is filled with amazing moments, incredible kindness, and people that are there for you.  Happy New Year and best of luck in 2013. I have a feeling that it’s going to be a great one!

~Peace, Joy and Light of Love

Life is Like a Box of Chocolates….

October 20th, 2011

Hey everyone! I’m sorry it’s been awhile since my last blog. So much has been happening, I’m not even sure where to begin. I think I will have to fill everyone in over a few different blogs so I would like to just focus on one thing right now…. my future life path.

Since the World Series of Poker this year, I feel like my life has been heading in a new direction. I’m not entirely sure what direction that is just yet, but I can feel that I’m on my way. My trip to Vietnam this year was an eye opening experience in so many ways, and it really got me thinking. Change is inevitable in life, and often quite desired. Even when it’s desired, it can be a very scary thing. I’ve been feeling a lots of changes coming on and just wanted to share a big one with you.

Moving forward, I will no longer be representing Chilipoker. We had a long amazing run, and I wish them all the luck in the world! With the landscape of poker having changed so much over the last few months, I can just feel that the winds are changing for me too. I have no idea if that means I’ll still be playing poker in my future or not. I might go overseas and play or maybe start moving in a whole new direction.

I’m not really sure what the future holds in store for me. What I am sure of is that I’m onto a new chapter in my life. I’m open to all possibilities and I’ve never been happier! I believe 100% that whatever is meant to happen will happen, and it will happen when the timing is right. So for now, I’m just enjoying the ride.

When I have something more exciting on this topic to report, you can be sure that you will hear it from me first. In the meantime, I wish everyone lots of love, happiness and success… and remember… life is like a box of chocolates… you never know what you’re gonna get!! :)

You only get one unique today. Ultimately, it’s not so much about where you end up, but how you get there. Enjoy the journey.…..

Joy and Light of Love ~ Liz

Happy Mother’s Day!

May 8th, 2011

Mother’s Day is such a special day of the year. While we should all appreciate our mothers every day, Mother’s Day gives us an occasion to honor them and really express our thoughts to them. It’s a day to make them feel special, show how much we appreciate them, and let our hearts be full of love.

I want to take this moment to wish a very special Mother’s Day to my mom. She gave up so much to give my sister and me a good life, and my parents did everything they could to make sure we grew up with good values, a good education, and all of the chances that we might not have had in Vietnam. My mom taught me so many things in life, but mostly how to be a loving, generous person. I am thankful to have her in my life and want to say “I love you!” to her.

Do whatever you can to tell your mom what she means to you today. If you can’t be with her, call her or send a message. It’s all about expressing our love for our moms today!

To my friends who are mothers – some even experiencing their very first Mother’s Day – you are awesome women! You sacrifice and give 100% every single day to raising your children, and it’s the most unselfish thing a woman can do. I love and respect you all!

For those who are having a tough time today, because they’ve lost their mothers or have experienced something else in their lives that makes today a tough day, my thoughts are with you, too.

Enjoy this day with your mother, or treat yourself to something wonderful. Happy Mother’s Day!

Cheers!

More Updates on US Online Poker before San Remo

April 22nd, 2011

The news has been crazy. Since I first wrote about everything that happened last Friday, which most people in poker are calling Black Friday, more reports just keep coming in. I try to click on all of the links I see on Twitter, and it’s taking up so much time to get through them all! Big thanks to all of the poker media – and other media too – who have stayed on top of the story!

One of the biggest things on the positive side was a story that came out on Wednesday about deals with the Department of Justice. Full Tilt and PokerStars signed agreements to allow them to officially take back their .com domains and to be able to pay U.S. players their money. The DOJ even said it would work with the sites to be sure the players get their money back. Both sites said they would begin doing it as soon as possible, but I’m seeing that there are some problems because of the payments processors and banks that were seized. How are the sites going to wire the money to players? I guess they’re working on it, which is a good sign, but players have no idea when they’ll actually see their bankrolls again. It’s scary! I feel for the players who are trying to figure out how they’re going to pay their rent, mortgage payments, and other bills while they wait. I hate to see so many of my fellow players going through this.

My first thought when this all happened was that poker can now be regulated by the government, and the sites can come back soon. But the more I read, the more it seems that it’s quite a ways off in the future. I know that Rep. Barney Frank and Rep. John Campbell (one a Democrat and one a Republican) are working together on a federal bill, but even if it does pass, it will be a long time before the government can get their regulation department set up, issue licenses, figure out which companies can come back to the US, etc. It’s a huge process. But even to pass the law, those who want it will have to get past some pretty strong opponents like Spencer Bachus, who totally supports the UIGEA and is against anything that Frank and Campbell want to do. It’s going to be a big fight in Congress, and I just don’t know if poker has enough support. The PPA is trying to get members to send letters to Congress and President Obama about it, but is that enough? It’s going to be a long battle, I think.

The sites that were in the indictment took a big hit on the first week out of the US market. I saw a few reports that showed PokerStars lost about 25% of their players, Full Tilt lost almost 50%, and Cereus (Absolute and UB) lost about 40%. That’s a lot of players!

The other interesting thing, though, is that there are still some sites open to US players. How can they do that? Bodog and Cake are some of them that still allow US players to play, but I’m not sure if those players aren’t putting themselves at some risk by doing that. They saw what just happened to the bigger sites, so I would think they’d be afraid that their money would get caught up in those other sites too. The government played its hand and won, so I’m not sure what to think of the players who are staying in that game.

European sites are doing pretty well, though. It looks like those sites are seeing more new players because of the great promotions they’re doing. Even Chilipoker tried to turn Black Friday into Purple Day with a massive new bonus of 200% up to $1000. They’ll even honor the VIP of the sites that just lost US players and match that VIP level if players can take a pic of it and prove their status.

I’ve been playing online a lot lately on Chilipoker, even more since they created Chiliconnect. I talked about it before, but it’s new software that allows me to get involved with side bets and last longer bets with other players, and I can swap percentages in tournaments. I’m hooked! I’ve been playing several tournaments almost every day lately, and I’ve been running good too! :) I don’t remember the last time I ran so hot in online tournaments, but it’s been fun to get to know other players through the Chiliconnect. The extra action makes things fun, too. Anyone wanting to join me and place a few friendly wagers on some tournaments should look me up on Chiliconnect. I’m on there almost every day when I’m not traveling.

Speaking of Europe, I’m heading out on Monday to San Remo, Italy for the EPT stop there. I do wonder if there will be fewer US players than usual. But I read that players – even those from the US – who bought their buy-ins online will still be able to play in San Remo. And any US player can fly over there and buy-in directly. There’s such a big turnout there every year, and I hope it’s the same again this year. And I’m looking forward to talking to other players about everything that’s happened in the last week to get their perspectives.

So, wish me luck at San Remo! I hope I get a room with a great view like last year, but I hope the internet connection is better this year so I can give updates on Twitter and Facebook while I’m there. After that, it’s back home to prep for the WSOP.

All my best to US players who are struggling right now. I’m really hoping you get your money back soon!

Cheers!

Purple Day Stomps on Black Friday

April 17th, 2011

Beat the Black Friday with the Chilipoker Purple Day

In response to the Black Friday of the online poker, Chilipoker decided to announce its ‘Purple Day’.

More than ever, Chilipoker is a European safe and secure poker environment as the company never took any US bets.

To start a new dawn of safe online poker experience, Chilipoker is proud to offer you an exclusive package :

• First deposit bonus 200% up to $1,000 : bonus code - PAYDAY
• increasing the guaranteed prize pools of its famous online tournaments to $10 millions per month
buying Loyalty Points from others poker rooms (!)
• adding new daily freerolls to discover Chilipoker.com

Chilipoker is a member of leading iPoker Network.

Last week, Chilipoker launched its innovative social tool, named Chiliconnect, allowing online poker players to get connected and challenge each other.

To support our growth, a TV campaign will be launched very soon :

Chilipoker is also the proud sponsor of the DeepStackOpen tour in 7 cities in Europe with more than 450 players per legs.

Cheers!

US Government Versus Online Poker, Game On!

April 15th, 2011

Wow! I’ve been reading the news today and following along on Twitter, and it’s been a crazy day for online poker in the United States. It’s all so shocking!

So, thanks to some friends, I saw a copy of the press release from the U.S. Attorney’s Office. The indictment came from that office and the FBI to charge 11 people with PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker with big crimes. The people include owners and executives of those sites, and the charges include conspiracy to violate the UIGEA, violation of the UIGEA, operation of an illegal gambling business, conspiracy to commit bank fraud and wire fraud, and money laundering conspiracy. All of these crimes have max penalties of jail time and in the area of $3 billion that the complaint is seeking from the poker companies and defendants.

It seems the first thing the U.S. government did was seize the domains of Full Tilt, PokerStars, and Absolute. UB seems to be affected, too. People started to have trouble gaining access to the sites, and some of the saw a notice from the Department of Justice saying that the domains were seized. Many U.S. players are starting to say that they aren’t allowed to play cash games on the sites, and some are even saying tournaments, too. It looks like U.S. players might be locked out of online poker on these major sites for awhile.

The official statement says that restraining orders were issued against more than 75 bank accounts used by those companies and their payment processors. Players are trying to cash out the money in their accounts, and it looks like checks are being issued, but if the banks can’t honor those checks, there may be a lot of bounced checks in the days and weeks to come. There’s still so much unknown about how this will play out.

Twitter has been blowing up with messages about this today. Everyone is trying to figure out what to do and what to say. The big companies are probably coming out with press releases, and organizations like the Poker Players Alliance is working on a statement.

It’s crazy that there have been so many efforts to legalize online poker in the U.S. recently, like with the U.S. government and in states like Nevada and California. But instead of working with our industry to help that happen, make it legal, and take the tax money from us, they decided to shut everything down instead. They’re arresting the bigwigs and freezing the money of the players who make a living at the game. What kind of solution is that?

There will be more news about this in the coming days. I’ll try to follow it, though I’m supposed to be traveling to San Remo soon for the EPT, so I’ll have to wait to see what happens. I’ll try to post here when I know more. Until then, I’ll post on Twitter as much as I can.

Good luck to all of my U.S. poker playing friends! I can’t believe what’s happening and hope it’s not as bad as it seems.

Cheers!

Chiliconnect, Charity & Lady Gaga!

April 6th, 2011

There’s been a lot happening in the last few weeks! Be prepared. I’m going to cover a lot in this space today. ;)

First, I have to talk about the major excitement at Chilipoker. Well, it’s big news in all of poker, really! Chilipoker just released its new innovation called Chiliconnect. Bill Rini talked about it on his blog before it was launched or connect to Chilipoker. He talked about seeing the sample of the program that let the players connect to Facebook and Twitter from their online poker accounts so they could post updates as they played, but that wasn’t the best part. The best thing was that players can make side bets as they play. They can do last-longers, sell their action and buy action from others, and make all kinds of side bets. Bets are accepted or rejected and settled by the program, meaning the accounts are paid automatically.

Wow, right?! In the words of Charlie Sheen, that is so winning!

I can’t tell you how exciting this is. I play on Chilipoker all the time, but it’s always too hard to make side bets with people who are on the other side of the world. This solves that problem and makes every game you play so much more interesting. Even placing a $1 or $2 last-longer bet with someone at your table or in a tournament makes that game more fun. The software is so easy to use, and everything is explained so well. There is so much more to this than just Facebook and Twitter updates, and I hope players will love the betting action as much as I do! I really think that part of the software will be the biggest hit of all.

The best part of this is that Chilipoker listened to its players. They tuned in to what players wanted and made it happen. They worked on this for a long time, got the input of many players, and did something that no other online poker site has been able to do. Chiliconnect is the best thing to happen to online poker in so long, and I’m so proud to represent the site that did something so great!

Second, I recently attended the Michael Jordan Celebrity Invitational at ARIA. I’ve been a special guest at MJ’s charity events before, and I knew I couldn’t miss this one. Well, actually, I didn’t take part in the golf part, but I did go to ARIA and was there till the tournament ended. It was fun! There were two groups of players, Group A for the amateur players, and Group B for the celebrities. I watched everything play down at the final table, and Michael actually played well! He ended up coming in third place.

Next up was something I did at the beginning of the month that was just amazing. I went to the Lady Gaga concert at the MGM Grand here in Vegas! I’ve always liked her music, and was really excited about the show, but I had no idea how awesome it would really be!

When I first got my tickets, I wasn’t very happy about the seats, so I spoke with one of my host and ended up getting second row in front of the stage. It was a perfect view! I brought my friends Joy and Ruth with me, we later saw Mike Matusow and his girlfriend Annie LePage there also, we all were seated in the same section. And we all just loved the show! I have to say that this was truly one of the best concerts I’ve ever seen, and I’d see her again in a minute. She was a great performer and never took a break to rest once, only took a few minutes between some songs to change outfits. She danced and sang the whole time, and she also gave a lot of speeches to her audience. Those were motivational with great messages, and she seemed to speak from experience, so sincere and genuine. She said things like “You are beautiful!” and “You are perfect!” She was very specific about telling people to be proud of themselves and of who they are, and that’s a message that a lot of people need to hear these days. And on top of everything, she looked fabulous! :)

I urge anyone who likes Lady Gaga to try to go to her concert. She’s incredible! I tried to get some pictures, but they just don’t capture the whole event. You have to be there to see it all! I also tried to take some videos to post to Twitter, but I was having problems doing that. I should’ve just taken some longer videos to post later, but my whole point was to try to give my friends an idea of how great it all was. Go to her concert if you can!

Another big thing on my plate lately has been Vietnam. You all know that I’ve spent a lot of time and money trying to take care of the people in my home country. There are so many there with so little, very poor people who don’t even have enough rice to eat. And there are temples that need repairs. One of those temples came to my attention from a friend, Linh, who has helped me organize many of my charity visits and projects there. Several years ago, she told me that money was needed for a project, and I gave it to her. Later, she sent me some pictures of a temple, pictures of her and a monk – who turned out to be the master monk – holding things like paintings, plates and kitchen utensils, books, etc. It didn’t make sense to me at the time, but later, Linh told me that my donation saved that temple from closing its doors due to damage caused by a hurricane and lack of finances and allowed them to buy everything that’s being used or seen at the temple. What an amazing feeling! Even better, I met the master monk at Chua Long Hoa on my last trip to Vietnam, and he emotionally told me that I saved this temple, a place that is his lifelong dream of a temple where people can come to learn Buddhism and pray. I felt extremely touched and honoured to have been given this opportunity to help.

It was then that I learned that the roof was leaking, and the whole top of the building was in horrible shape. In the room where the main Buddha is displayed, the roof leaks, flooding the room and raining directly on to the Buddha. I immediately told Linh that I wanted to contribute the money to replace the roofs. As the project went on, it was obvious that it was going to take more than a few repairs, so I told them to do everything necessary, including replacing some columns and main boards. It took a long time, but the whole project will now be done in a few weeks. I can’t wait to go see it. I just know that the master monk and the people who pray there are so happy, and that means everything to me!

I’m going to plan my next trip back to Vietnam for after the WSOP. It will be a good time to go. I not only want to see that temple, but I want to organize another praying ceremony for my dad and do some charity work while I’m there.

Speaking of poker, I was recently honored with a Maven Award from Women Poker Player Magazine. I had won the humanitarian award for my charity work, and I just received the crystal award yesterday. It was so fragile that they didn’t want to mail it, so Jane Goldberg drove to my lace in Las Vegas and hand delivered the award as she was afraid it might break if sent by postal! How very kind of her. It’s lovely.

Also in poker, I’m getting ready to head off to San Remo, Italy for the EPT stop there this month. After that, I’ll be back in Las Vegas for the 25K WPT World Championship at the Bellagio, and then it’s WSOP time! I’m going to hit the Series super hard this year. I’m very determined, and my focus will be better than in a long time. It’s definitely poker season, and I’m ready for it!

Cheers!

PR – April 5th, Chilipoker’s Big Announcement … Sure to Impress!

April 1st, 2011

A personal letter from Alexandre Dreyfus, CEO of Chilipoker.com

Dear Friends,

I am very excited and proud to announce that Chilipoker.com will soon reveal its new major breakthrough and development in the online poker industry. Next Tuesday afternoon (5th April) this innovative feature will finally be presented to the entire poker community with the hope that everyone will adopt this new standard of playing. These features will be exclusive to Chilipoker.com, a leading member of the iPoker network.

Demos and beta tests have already been carried out by players and influential poker bloggers:

“For all of the billions of dollars online poker companies have made in the last decade this has to be one of the biggest innovations in online poker that I’ve seen other than Rush Poker. ” B.

“A great execution of a good idea that proves that even in the restricted environment of a shared software network, there’s plenty of room for immersive innovation. I’ve seen the idea in play before, but not to this extent. And not this well balanced.” K.

Please keep tuned and if you wish to be involved in next Tuesday’s big announcement, please feel free to contact me.

In the meantime, I am also very happy to say that this weekend Chilipoker will run its DeepStack Open in Costa Brava where almost 500 players will compete.

http://www.facebook.com/chilipoker
http://www.twitter.com/chilipoker

Chilipoker Team in Paris for the Team Poker Cup

March 18th, 2011

My experiences with Paris in the past have not been the greatest. I always have problems, either with the hotel or flight or weather or everything! But with a positive attitude and outlook, I was set to go back to Paris this month for the Team Poker Cup at the Cercle Gaillon. This competition will happen between poker rooms and poker communities, each represented by three members, composed both by pros and amateurs.

As one of the rooms authorized by the authorities in FranceChilipoker will take part into this competition, represented by two professional players, and one amateur.

It didn’t start out that way, though. Haha. ;) I left Las Vegas on March 10th, and there were no problems with the flight. I also checked only one bag, so that was going to make things easier, or so I thought! I got off the plane, got my bag from baggage claim, and suddenly the airport security guys stop me and start asking questions. (Did I look like a terrorist? I didn’t think so!) When they asked me what I do for a living and I said that I was a professional poker player, that was it, they took me into a back room. They searched through all my bags, every single corner and edge of every bag, even running the bags – open with all of my belongings right there – through a scanner. Then he got to my computer bag and started to open the side zipped pocket, I was so annoyed that I said to him “stop!” Don’t open it, there’s sex tapes in there. (joking of course) Haha. :P I noticed the officer’s eyes suddenly lit up … Hmm I wonder why?

They still asked me questions, though. They wanted to know how much cash I had with me, so I told them about $7500 in USD and British Pounds. They counted everything and found some Euros and asked why I didn’t mention the Euros. I just told them I forgot, which was true. I was really irritated by the whole process, after about an hour they finally let me go.

I took a cab from the airport to my hotel, and the driver was acting a little strange. He kept trying to tell me to put my computer bag on the floor, but I didn’t want to put it there. He seemed really annoyed with me, and it wasn’t until I was on my way back to the airport at the end of my trip that I figure out why. That second cab driver explained to me that theft is big in Paris, and the cab drivers try to protect their fares by telling them to keep their luggage in a certain place. Oops! I wish my first driver had told me that! Even so, though, he was a little pissy, especially when I didn’t have the exact change for my ride. Oh well, I went into the hotel, and my room wasn’t ready so I had to wait. But when I did get my room, it was upgraded very nicely!

The next day was the tournament, and there were 20 teams of 3 people each for a total field of 60 people. It was a great event, actually! The team poker concept is a little different to me, but I had a lot fun with my Chilipoker.fr teammates Xavier Niel, CEO of Iliad, and Lionel Rozenberg. I was seated at the featured table for part of the day, which should be shown on European television when it airs on April 1st.

(Liz Lieu with Xavier Niel)

Everyone played pretty well, even the amateurs, but that meant that I didn’t get a ton of action. There was nothing I could do, it seemed, to get calls or raises when I had hands. For example, I had K-8 of diamonds in my blind, and when the UTG players raised 2x, I called. The flop of Q-8-3 gave me a pair, but we both checked. The 5 on the turn was a blank, so I checked hoping for him to bet so I could check-raise, but he checked. The Q came on the river, and I checked again hoping for a raise opportunity, but he just checked to me! I won it with my two pair but it was a pretty small pot.

I was on a table with a few French players who loved to gamble. Two of them were running good and really on a heater, and it seemed like they couldn’t lose. So I knew to stay out of their way. On one hand, player in seat 8 moved all-in for 2800 chips, I picked up AK and decided to call. The player to my left, who had a ton of chips, puts me all-in! I mucked because I knew how he was running, and he showed A-Q. The all-in player had pocket fives. The board was A-7-3-Q-2, and that would’ve put me out of the tournament, so I’m glad I trusted my read.

By the dinner break, Xavier was out, both Lionel and I were still in, both of us had about 10k left in chips . I went to dinner with Alex, Xavier, Lionel, Antoine Arnault and his sister Delphine. We had a lovely dinner and talked about everything from poker to shoes to fashion to handbags. It was a very nice distraction, and I’m always willing to talk about those topics! But then it was back to poker, and I ended up shoving the last of my stack 15 minutes after we returned with pocket nines, but my opponent had pocket aces. And that was the end of my tournament! It was a great time, though, and I was glad to be a part of it.

The weather in Paris was not pretty. It rained almost every day that I was there, but I still got out to see some of the sights in Paris. How could I pass up that chance?! I went to the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre, and the Arc de Triomphe. I also did a little shopping along the Champs-Elysees and a famous outdoor mall that I can’t remember the name of! I packed a lot of sight-seeing and shopping into those couple of days I had left of my trip, but if it wasn’t raining so much, I would have liked to have seen more of the city, walked along the Seine, and more. But I did what I could, enjoyed Paris in a way I hadn’t before, and finally headed back to the United States. By the way, it was sunny on the day I caught my flight out of Paris!

Back in Vegas, I’ve been catching up on life and news. What is the deal with Charlie Sheen, everyone? I’m finding some of his videos and tweets pretty funny, and most other people seem to be entertained too. The “tiger blood” saying is funny, and I obviously like “winning!” :)

Speaking of winning, I’m SO ready for spring! One of the first places I went when I got back to Vegas was to Red Rock Canyon for some hiking. I enjoyed it so much that I’m going to hike about three times each week. I’m also in the mood for more outdoor activities, so I’m going to start thinking about other possibilities for exercising and clearing my mind in the spring months. Mostly, I’m feeling a happiness and calm these days. I believe some changes in my life are in order that will lead to a very positive year, and I’m starting to put those things in motion. It could get interesting! But it’s definitely going to be “winning!”

Cheers!