Thursday, April 26, 2012
The flight to Cebu takes off at 8:50am and is set to land at 11:30am. I took the bus (!) to the airport at 7:30am and got there at 8am. I already checked in online and even got my boarding pass sent to my phone as a QR Code and I had no check-in luggage so 50 minutes is more than sufficient to get from the airport entrance to the gate. I had literally no cash on me, but lining up at ATM isn't my thing. I'd rather get cash off ppl I know when I get to Cebu. I ended up finding an empty ATM near Gate 40 and I used it. After getting cash I walked to my gate and saw that my flight was delayed by 30 minutes. Since I'm flying business I naturally walked into the Business Class Lounge and sipped coffee. When the time comes I walked back to my gate and boarded the flight.
The Cathay Pacific flight had the new business class with the solo seats and the 180 degrees reclinable backs. Awesome. Not so awesome was the delay. I was due to start playing Day 1b at 12:15pm, and it looked like my plane wouldn't touchdown until 12:30pm. When we eventually landed, I was the very first one thru the immigration, and I kept walking until I reached the casino. Yes, the casino is right across the street from the airport. I got there and started playing.
The day went past pretty fast as we only had to play 6 levels. I built my stack up to a nice 45k or so but on the last level of the day had to get it in on a Q-high flop with KK. A Chinese guy named "BoBo" went with his flush draw and didn't waste time as he peeled the 3rd spade right on the turn to put me drawing dead. GG. I walked around the casino floor until the reality that I was out of the tournament hit me. At that point, I had a choice between playing cash game or going to my hotel room at the Shangri'la Resort. I chose the latter and took a 15 minutes cab ride to the resort. I checked into my room and ordered a salad from room service. After eating, I tried to sleep but ended up watching UFC. By like 8pm I went down to the resort's Italian restaurant called "Acqua" and ate. I had a mozzarella and tomato salad. By around 9pm I walked over to the APPT Party which was held on the resort's beach.
This is one awesome party with fireworks and a live band. The food was awesome took as they served this filipino suckling pig called "lechon". I had plenty of meat and I drank vodka+soda all night. Those things are actually pretty strong after a few. I remember exchanging whiskey shots with my friend Carter and talking to a whole lot of people. I also remember watching Robin and Raymond Wu do a grapple competition on the sand but I can't remember who won. The next day I was also told that I tore Celina's Pokerstars badge right off her bare arm which may or may not cause permanent damage. (I'm very sorry Celina.) After the party I went over to my buddy Ken's suite and drank more with him, Charles, Jay, Kenny, and Juicy. I think we played some sort of sit n go tournament in the room without any chips which I think I was the first to bust out lol. We went thru like 5 bottles of white wines and a lot of bim bip baps. (Tks a lot Ken.) The night ended when we were a bit out of control and Charles started throwing wine glasses out the verandah lol. I think Ken also threw a few.
Friday, April 27, 2012
The next morning I woke up for breakfast at 9:30am because it's freeeee. And then I didn't have the mood to go back to sleep so I lied on the beach. I went out for a round of jetski which was amazingly fun. When I came back from it I ran into Charles, Ken, and Jay. We ended up lying on the beach more and drank these awesome mango smoothies. It's probably the best mango smoothie in the world. The guys wanted to rent a boat and go out to the sea but I opted out when I started to feel the sea sick just looking at the boat. So I went back to the room myself and napped. I thought I could sleep till 4pm as the PLO tournament that evening was at 7pm. I woke up at around 4pm and then went to the gym. I lifted weight and then ran for 30 minutes. I had a good sweat and went back to the room for a shower. After that, I went back to Acqua for my dinner. I ordered beef carpacio and a veal milanese. It's probably one of the better beef carpacio I've had but only because I like it raw and fleshy. Here they don't sear the beef at all and it's just good o' red. The veal was done okay except a bit oily. The best one is still at Cipriani's in Hong Kong.
I finished dinner and took a cab back to the casino. I registered into the PLO slightly late and didn't waste time to blow off 25% of my stack. On the second level I got it in with a 5-card wrap and my opponent snapcalled with the top set. It's pretty close to 50/50 and I was very happy to have at least got it in good. However, the turn paired the board and I was left drawing dead immediately. I killed time at the casino floor and also got into some (very) shorthanded PLO cash game which didn't last too long before it broke. I walked around a bit more and eventually went for a drink with APPT President Danny McDonagh and the Pokerstars team. It was Danny's birthday the following day and there's no way I can pass on having a drink with the guy. A slight problem I had was I was very tired at the time and I ended up falling asleep in the bar lol. I left before they did and cabbed back to the resort and passed out.
Saturday, April 28, 2012
The next morning I woke up at 11am and completely missed the free breakfast. I messaged my buddy Terrence and told him to meet me at the resort. We hung out on the beach for a while and also went for kayaking. This proved to be pretty boring fast as we were bounded to only inside the swimming area which is just a large rectangle. After we gave up on kayaking we went for another round of jetski. This time I went quite far and went overtime. Terrence came back even later than me as he got lost in the sea! After jetskiing we went for lunch at a Thai restaurant near the casino. There were 5 of us but we ordered like 8 people's portions. We finished most of it because Terrence and I could eat a lot. We were also eating quite fast as I had to play the NLH KO Event at 3pm. I walked into the tournament with a food coma and a slight heatstroke. Obviously the tournament didn't go well and I just jammed with JK and ran into AK because I could barely keep my head up.
Somehow I felt a lot better after busting the tournament and got into this insane PLO cash game. The blinds were PHP100/200 which is around $2.5/5. Nearly every preflop was 4betted and every pot was near 100k pesos. It was really fun to gamble a bit and I came out up a little. After the game I went back to the resort to change into shoes because later in the night there's a Pokerstars party at a bar called Vudu which is in the Cebu city. I went and stayed there until around 3am.
Sunday, April 29, 2012
The last day of my trip was also the first day which I didn't have any poker obligation. I woke up to Terrence's message where he asked if he could use the resort's gym. Obviously I said yes and I gained him access. Since I was too hungover to work out myself I went to the beach again. I ran into two (Mandarin speaking) girls from Hong Kong and we chatted a bit. When I was about to go fetch Terrence I ran into my friend Ken's gf Lydia (another Ken, he's also Pokerstars' photographer). She took my spot on the beach and I went to Acqua for lunch (where else). Apart from Terrence, there's also Celina, Fred, Daren, Dom, and Ted. We ate and chatted and it was really enjoyable to be seeing good friends at a nice relaxing resort.
After lunch Fred, Celina, Dom, and I went back to the beach and we took the jetski for another ride. We decided to do a co-ed race so I paired up with Lydia. Celina was with Fred so Dom was solo. Lydia and I took turns driving the jetski and it was totally different being the passenger. It's a different kind of sensation I think, the risk of being thrown off and the idea of not being in control.
A really funny incident during jetskiing: we were casually racing with me driving our jetski and Dom was driving his with Fred at the back (don't ask why). Somehow Dom lost control and both him and Fred fell into the water! Worse yet, their jetski was going straight at ours and it was so close to crashing. Fortunately, I was able to made a sharp turn to barely avoid the collision. These Pokerstars people are crazy!
We went back to the beach unscathed and soon it was time for me to go pack and leave for the airport. I took a cab with Lydia to the casino as I had a little time to spare and she had to go there anyways. And lucky I did, because after I got there I got a text on my phone that my flight is delayed by 45 minutes. (ty technology, or else I'd be stuck waiting at the airport doing nothing.) I killed time by roaming around the casino floor and also managed to grab food at the restaurant.
When I went back to the airport it was 35 minutes to the new departing time. Somehow all the staffs acted as if I was really late. They even led me thru employees' paths and walked me right to the front of the line at the immigration counter. Amazing.
Overall this is a trip filled with great memories and yes I would love to do this again and every year. I would really like to extend my appreciation to Pokerstars and APPT for making all this happen. This is the most fun I've had on a poker trip!