Wednesday, May 23, 2012



"The Adventure" is a series of articles about my journey this summer that will take me from Rockland, Ontario, Canada to the World Series of Poker Big One for One Drop 1M buy-in tournament in Las Vegas...

Rare is it that a person is granted the opportunity of the lifetime, let alone at age 35.


“Now I was sitting waiting wishing
That you believed in superstitions
Then maybe you’d see the signs
But Lord knows that this world is cruel
And I ain’t no Lord, no I’m just a fool
Learning loving somebody don’t make them love you”

- Jack Johnson, “Sitting, Waiting, Wishing”
(In Between Dreams, 2005 Jack Johnson)

I had to honor to cover my first live poker tournament over the weekend – first, let me tell you I have a new-found respect for live tournament poker reporters … the job isn’t easy, forget the long hours, the lack of food, the lack of sleep … the simple pressure of providing fast, accurate information to those that are waiting for updates on your site – add to that the fact that you’re trying to out-scoop the other organizations on site is simply not healthy … but guess what? I loved every minute of the close to 40-hours of coverage that I was able to provide for the peeps, I’m ready to jump right back in there!

I was less than a foot from a briefcase containing one million dollars (oh, and two of the biggest security guards you will ever meet guarding the money) and I felt alive, it was great! You read right, the winner of a poker tournament in Canada winning a guaranteed one-million dollar buy-in into The Big One For One Drop this July at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas – something that had never been seen or done before – Le Grand Tournoi de poker Loto-Québec – the biggest and most prestigious poker tournament ever held in Canada.

Congratulations to the staff at Loto-Québec and to Richard Gunn and the great people at Casino du Lac-Leamy for what was a spectacular event – I don’t think poker players or members of the media have ever been treated like this in any poker tournament – ever!

One thing I know for sure? People better start paying attention to the young generation of poker players coming from the Province of Québec. They are young, smart, and seem in control of their games and from what I saw from about 10 young professionals over the weekend, Jonathan Duhamel was only the tip of the iceberg … we are going to be hearing about the Ladouceurs, Khuns, Fournier-Giguères, Grondins and others for many years to come.

We tend to forget that people – yes, even poker players – are human sometimes. We’re so caught up with them calculating odds, folding in turn, making the standard c-bet, that we forget that, at the core, poker players are regular people with regular emotions. And I’m not talking about a rehearsed Phil Hellmuth rant, I’m talking raw emotion, the real stuff, not the made-for-tv stuff we’ve been used to seeing from several pros.

I bring this up because poker is indeed a game of sitting, waiting, wishing, you can play your best poker –like Laurence Grondin did - sit there, make all the right moves, waiting for the opportunity to pounce, and then wishing that your plan holds up. Unfortunately for Grondin, she played a hand exactly like you should play it yet her opponent sucked out on her and she was ousted of a tournament that she really wanted to win, a tournament where her sponsor – Espace Jeux – was dreaming of her winning and representing Espace Jeux/Loto-Québec in what will be one of the Premier events of the poker season, no pressure, right?

The same can be said of Marc-André Ladouceur. In the pole position at the start of Day 2 and seemingly in control of his own destiny, one single hand (all in pre-flop with Ladouceur’s Kings going up against Martin Fournier-Guiguère’s ace-king) brought Ladouceur down from chip leader to short stack; this game can be cruel, it can rip your heart out, and that’s exactly why we play it.

Back to myself and the reason I am writing this series of articles this summer. The goal of “The Adventure” is to follow my journey from Le Grand Tournoi de Poker Loto-Québec to the Big One for One Drop at the WSOP in Las Vegas, where I will be making my debut as a member of the WSOP media, covering the One Drop event.

But this week, a new opportunity arose. I will be making a short trip to Las Vegas prior to my “official” stay starting June 30th. This Saturday, I’m boarding a plane, off to the amazing Aria Resort and Casino to cover the WSOP 25K Buy-In Fantasy Draft, hosted by Daniel Negreanu for the QuadJacks Network.

Those that know me understand that when it comes to drafts, “real life” or fantasy, I consider myself an expert – I’m a draft nerd … I even confessed on the PKRGSSP Show last night that I recently watched the WNBA Draft … live … online – forgot to mention that weeks before, I watched the MLS Expansion Draft – where the Montreal Impact named its initial roster … live … online.

You can tell I have a sickness, right? Add to that the fact that I follow live poker tournament players religiously and I’m confident (ok, I hope) that I will provide great coverage for those watching live or for those watching later on the rebroadcasts.

The next day, media members are encouraged to pick up their media passes at the Rio. I always get chills entering a poker room, doesn’t matter where it is, but in my recent summer trips to Vegas, nothing compares entering the Amazon Room (with changes starting this season) … a sea of poker tables, chips riffling, cards shuffling – it’s impossible to describe that feeling.

Picking up my media pass, to me, will be the culmination of a couple of years of hard work with no pay (I have a “normal” job during the day), it will be proof that the sacrifices I have made on a personal level will have been worth it. I hope to put these two experiences into words in my next article.

Congratulations to Carlos Nahas, who qualified for the 1M Big One for One Drop over the weekend, it was great talking with you sir at all breaks on Sunday, allowing me to dive into your mind for a bit. See you July 1st (Canada Day) at the RIO my friend, about 10% of the One Drop field will be Canadian, here’s hoping you bring it home for us.

Here it is, “The Adventure” - a 50-day venture that will take me from Rockland to Gatineau to Las Vegas and to other places in between. Join me as I attempt to relive the blow-by-blow accounts of the thrill-ride that awaits me this summer.

Here I am, standing in front of you, as vulnerable as ever, but ready – win or fail – to live the thrill of a lifetime and hoping you will follow along as I live “The Adventure”.



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