After my previous entry, I decided to skip the $2500 HORSE, $2500 PLO and $5000 heads-up, all of which were marked as "possible" on my schedule. But I did play one event which I figured I probably wouldn't play, the $2500 6-max NL. 6-max NL tournaments are awesome but it was a 2-day event, the second day being the day I was scheduled to fly home to Hong Kong. I felt reasonably assured that I wouldn't make Day 2 without making the money (with an outside chance of even the final table) so I decided that I'd play it and change my flight later if necessary.
The tournament started out with an annoyance: I ended up being seated at a late registration table with all the other people in the registration line, which included Jamie Rosen, Salman Behbehani and Joseph Cheong, the latter on my immediate left. The other late registration table (the one which opened right after us) was much, much softer, and it tilted me every time I looked over in that direction knowing that I had I registered just a couple minutes later I could have had that table. My HeroPoker teammate Aaron Benton knew the score and intentionally went back in the registration line so he would be seated at the softer table. While I think in general the Aussie Millions is a well-run tournament (and it was universally agreed that the structures were fantastic), this is the kind of stuff that is inexcusable in tournament poker and is really, really dumb. At least at the WSOP when they are forced into late reg tables, they break the table immediately, but at the Aussie Millions they do not break the tables nearly as quickly. As a result I ended up playing a couple of hours at this table, more than enough time for me to foolishly bluff off half my stack to Joseph.
I grinded back to the starting stack of 10k, then proceeded on a big heater. I coolered a guy holding Ah5h to his Jh9h, getting a ridiculous runout of Jc5s2h-4h-3h to get it in on the river. Then I made a set against a flush draw and held, won two flips, and was probably chip leader five hours into the tournament. It was a nice heater and once again, the kind of thing that potentially keeps people coming back to tournaments. But it wasn't to be. After the dinner break I ran ice cold and made a couple of questionable decisions that cost me some chips. I ended up busting less than 10 off the money when my JJ failed to hold against Jonathan Karamalikis' 99.
Despite bricking the Aussie Millions -- and actually not doing that much outside of it -- I enjoyed my time in Melbourne. Last year with Gavin and Amy Griffin was great because I got to explore with two of my best friends, but meeting and spending time with the newest HeroPoker pros, Aaron and Grant Levy, was also good times. And at the risk of sounding like I'm sucking up to the boss, HeroPoker CEO David Jung was awesome in taking care of the three of us. He drove us around, not just to and from Crown Casino, but even if I wanted to go train at the MMA gym. If we were hungry he threw steaks and pork bellies on the barbecue. It was first-class treatment and I feel like I was treated as well as any sponsored pro could be. (Well, without a gross misappropriation of player funds diverted towards obscene player salaries, at least. But who would do that?) HeroPoker itself is also starting to do well in terms of traffic and player base, and our presence was clearly noted at the Aussie Millions when a young kid in the 6-max looked at my patch and said, "wow, you HeroPoker guys are everywhere!"
No real plans going forward for me, but I foresee spending most of February in Hong Kong, playing cash games on Hero and mostly training MMA/BJJ/Muay Thai. I may run off to Thailand for a training trip as well, but it seems like a number of friends will be visiting Hong Kong within the next couple months, so I may well be hanging out for a bit. There's an outside shot I will get to fight MMA on a card in China in late March, and that would be very exciting. Other than that, a short jaunt to APPT Seoul (never been to Korea!) is the only thing marked on the calendar before WSOP time.