Monday, April 7, 2014

See ya in the Sunshine State!

There are 5,000,000 Reasons why I'm sitting on this plane to Ft. Lauderdale and all of them have the $ sign in front of them! Are YOU going to play the Seminole Hard Rock Poker Open $5M Guaranteed WPT main event? Cards fly on April 10th... more info at

See ya soon!

Sunday, March 30, 2014

Don't Tap The Glass

I'm stage manager for the Main Event Final Table live-stream from the Chinook Winds Casino in Lincoln, Oregon. Players must surrender their phones before sitting at the table and these phones keep buzzing with text messages, probably from peeps sweating the live-stream at home.

Bad idea folks!

Unless you're a professional poker coach and can properly convey sample size, game flow, VPIP% PFR% WTSD% etc., and variance to the person sitting at the final table, I STRONGLY recommend that you don't TILT your fiends playing for a big score. I've been doing what I do for 5 years and the punts always happen after a player comes back from a break after getting 30-minute delayed information from their rail. Please... don't tap the glass!

Enjoy the show!

Saturday, February 22, 2014

Bubble Boy, I Remember You

In tournament poker the term "Bubble," is the last finishing position before entering the payout structure. Simply put, no body gets anything until the Bubble Boy is gone.

Most people younger than 30 years of age may not know that there once was an actual boy dubbed "David, the Bubble Boy," who spent his entire natural life in a sterile plastic bubble. The media made David famous. So much so, that a 1976 made-for-TV-move: "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble," attempted to project how life would unfold for David as a teenager, and was later parodied in the 2001 comedy entitled: "Bubble Boy."

On September 21, 1971, David Vetter was born with severe combined immunodeficiency (SCID), also known as "bubble boy disease," which meant his body had no immune system to fight off diseases. I am just 17 days older than David and I grew up following his life via numerous news stories and documentaries. Every now and then, when I hear or say the term, "Bubble Boy," I think of him. Today, on the 30th anniversary of his passing, I write this in remembrance of the original Bubble Boy who's death made it possible for thousands of people born with immunodeficiency disorders to live full lives.

In the 70's and early 80's, society marveled at the science that made it possible for David to live safely in a bubble while doctors worked diligently to find a cure for his ailment. David's older brother had died at the age of 7 months from the same disease so, on it's face, David's life was miraculous. His story was an inspiration to me when I was growing up because David's plight taught me to appreciate all that I had.

I was a child myself. I had no idea that controversy overshadowed David's treatment. I knew nothing about medical ethics. All I knew was that David lived in a bubble and although I was sad for him, I was hopeful that doctors would quickly find a cure so that he would be able to go outside and play like a normal little boy. I thought it was just that simple.

David lived in his bubble for 12 years before advances in medicine provided a glimmer of hope for a normal life. The announcement that David would receive a bone marrow transplant from his sister was headline news. I remember believing that David was on his way to freedom and would live happily ever after like the character portrayed by John Travolta.

Then one morning rumors of David's death spread like wild fire throughout my junior high school. My first period class that day was P.E. and students asked the teacher if the rumors where true. She confirmed what we all feared and allowed us time to grieve. Many of us just stood there that morning and cried on the blacktop while we tried to understand what had gone wrong.

Sadly, the Epstein–Barr virus (common in 95% of healthy adults) had not been detected in pre-screening tests. David passed away on February 22, from Burkitt's lymphoma, an autoimmune complication associated with the virus. The year was 1984, and although Big Brother's tyranny had not been realized, fears of nuclear war were quickly being replaced by rumors of a virus that could destroy the immune system, sentencing it's victims to a tragic death not unlike David's.

Today, David is credited for at least two major scientific advances in medicine: 1) understanding the relationship between viruses and cancer, and 2) the use of gene therapy to cure genetically inherited disorders like his own.

David paid the ultimate price, from his first breath to his last, that has left a lasting legacy 30 years after his death. Although the years of research performed on David could not save is life, the knowledge that was gleaned from it continues to pay dividends and will save lives for centuries to come.

While stories like David's raise serious ethical debates about scientific research. I just want to say, thank you David, you will not be forgotten.

Reference/Recommended reading:

PBS American Story: The Boy in the Bubble (2006), detailed biographical information regarding the educational documentary based on the life of David Vetter.
"Bubble Boy" 40 years later: Look back at heartbreaking case (2011), a photographic reflection of David Vetter's live.
Body Shock: The Boy in the Bubble (2006), a video documentary that includes interviews with David's mother and doctors.

Sunday, February 9, 2014

Consultant to the WPT

For those of you who may not know, the Poker industry runs on a fiscal year (not a calendar year) that begins in August and culminates with the WSOP Main Event in mid-July.
My 2013-2014 season began with the Legends of Poker at The Bicycle Casino and a new opportunity. I was contracted by World Poker Tour Enterprises as a consultant for their Regional events.

I only managed three events in 2013 due to the short cancer diversion, with the hope and anticipation of being more involved in 2014, after I had some time to recover.

Well, good news, good news... in addition to the WPT Regional events I was expecting to do, last week I received some WPT Tour assignments for this year. My first event is the L.A. Poker Series at Commerce Casino. Not only am I excited about doing my first televised tour event as a WPT team member, I'm trilled that it's one of my favorite festivals of the year.

In addition to the LAPC, I'll be spending quite a bit of time in Florida. I've booked travel for the WPT Jacksonville bestbet Open, a live-streamed Tour stop and the WPT Hard Rock Poker Showdown, a televised Tour stop. I can't begin to express how pumped up and ready I am for this chapter of my life.

Make no mistake, I'm still part of the Joker Gaming LLC team and 'Live at the Bike!' continues to be close to my heart. The change is that I will be less involved in a single property and expanding my relationships with properties nationwide.

I'm looking forward to traveling to new places and meeting new faces. If you're planning on attending any of the events that I'll be working at, I want to know! Hit me up on Twitter @MarieLizette and let me know where I'll be seeing you and I'll be sure to set some time aside to chat.

Good luck at the felt, I'll see you there again soon.

Meet the WPT Legends of Poker Final Table
All new episodes from WPT Season XII begin airing on FOX Sports Networks this Sunday, February 9, with the WPT Legends of Poker at LA’s Bicycle Casino. Check your local listing for air times.

Tuesday, February 4, 2014

World Cancer Day

People are going Purple for World Cancer Day. Here's my contribution for awareness:
The osteosarcoma removed from my leg in September 2013
Yup, that's the root of my cancer story. Sorry if it's gross to look at, but that's cancer. I can share it with you because it didn't kill be, although it could have.
It started as a small bump, I thought it was just a bruise in my muscle and dismissed it. By the time I had surgery to remove it, just a year after the injury, it was the size of a Nerf football and hard as bone. Well, it was bone. It was bone cancer. Luckily for me, it was extra-skeletal (not part of my skeleton) but was within 1 mm from fusing to my Femur (in fact it was wrapped around it like a saddle on a horse).

I'm one of the lucky ones. While I lost 3 of my quadriceps and have permanent limitations, I'm alive and still able to walk. But many people aren't so fortunate. Raise awareness and medically investigate every single anomaly you see happening with your body. Nobody knows it better than you.

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Ever Lose Your Lunch Money Playing 5-Card Draw?

I have...
Photo courtesy of my Aunt, thanks to Facebook that is!

You should be able to spot me with ease. My unmistakable overbite is well represented in this photo. And yeah, that's me losing a pot to my Dad's youngest brother. I was 12 and he was about 23, circa 1984.

I've been playing poker for a very long time. I'm an only child, have about 1/3 Filipino blood, and my dad was in the Navy for 22 years... what'd you expect? I learned the game playing basic high-hand 5-Card draw and 7-Card Stud. But we also played BlackJack and Rummy.

To be clear, we NEVER actually played for money. I'm just kidding about losing my lunch money. We had a "Bicycle Playing Cards Carousel" and used the thin plastic chips as a reference. He/she who won the most chips had bragging rights until the next game. Good clean fun.

However, I can't say the same thing about the Majong game happening at the other table. That game was adults only and would go on until the sun came up the next day; and you better believe that while the grown-ups were fixated on their little marble tiles, us kids were watching scrambled porn on SelecTV, heh, heh, heh!

Ahhh, those where to good ol' days. Cosby was king of sitcom, we were all afraid of nuclear war, Apple had just announced the 'Macintosh" computer, and Benny Hill was the worst thing we could watch on late night TV.


Friday, January 24, 2014

If Practice Make Perfect, My MTT Game is Way Off

Well, if you follow me on any one of the popular social media sites, you know that I played my first MTT (multi-table tournament) of 2014 yesterday.

Commerce Casino is hosting it's annual LAPC* tournament festival, so I felt like I just had to take a shot and fire a bullet at the 5pm flight of the $1M Guaranteed NLHE event.

Since it's been a while since I've blogged, there's no way for you to know that I've returned to my roots and spent last year focused mostly on improving my cash game. I think I played a total of 15 tournaments last year, 50% of which were STTs.

It seemed I was on good pace, chipping up to 30K (from a 10K starting stack) by the 2nd break, but I didn't play my best game.

I made tons of rookie mistakes, missing value spots or making questionable calls that cost me precious chips. I was out by the 3rd break and home in bed by 11pm.

Anywhoooo... my tournament game is clearly rusty and I will most likely have to luckbox my way into a big score. That being said, don't expect to see me on the cover of any poker magazines anytime soon.

*More info about the LAPC

Tuesday, January 21, 2014

On the Topic of Selfies

So, I've never been one to be in photos. I probably appear in less than 10 photos per year, most of of which are family pics taken during the holidays.

Now, I'm not saying I'm going to jump aboard the selfie band wagon, especially as it is fast falling out of flavor... but c'mon! Can't a girl talk a picture without being photo-bombed by a "World Champion?"

Sunday, January 19, 2014

Rip Van Winkle Awakens...

I suppose an average of one post per year, does not a blogger make... it's time for me to come out of hibernation.
Showing off my belt...
I've just been in my own little world, dabbling in all sorts of things. I'm still the host of "Live at the Bike!" and can pretty much be found around The Bicycle Casino every Tuesday and Friday doin' my thing.

But I'll be traveling more in 2014 too. Joker Gaming LLC has teamed up with DeepStacks and we'll be at Chinook Winds Casino Resort in Linwood, Oregon at the end of March to to produce the final table. After that, I'll be involved in my first WPT Tour event in April, playing second fiddle to Jon Lensch at the WPT Seminole Hard Rock Poker Showdown in Hollywood, Florida.

I still play poker, but for the most part, I don't put in the hours that I used to. The best times of the year for me are February and June, which are linked to the LAPC and WSOP. So really, I only grind about 12 weeks out of the year. And yup, that means I'll be stepping back into the grind in just a few days. I just need to button up a few things here and there before I focus on the felt.

I suppose you may have noticed that I changed the name of my blog and URL. It's actually been changed since 2012, when I thought I'd use the blog as a journal of my media travels. But, unfortunately, I found out I had cancer and had to put a lot of things on hold.

Don't worry. I'm one of he lucky ones. My body did what it was supposed to do and shielded me from the malignant little buggers trying to take over my body. The doctors were able to remove 100% of the tumor, but I lost 3 of my left quadriceps in the process. I tell you what though, I always know when it's gonna rain's so weird how that works out.

Well, I'm back on my feet again an I'm exited about all the prospects for 2014 and beyond. When I look back at my archive, I'm astonished at all the things I've done over the past few years. Can you believe that February marks the 5th anniversary of my blog? I'm looking forward to sharing another half decade of escapades with you. So what do ya say? Are ya commin' along for the ride? Let's go!


Friday, March 15, 2013

In Memoriam to a Great Woman

Today, my mother's side of the family lost it's matriarch. My Aunt Cecilia, affectionately known as Mama Celie, passed away unexpectedly. Although she was in her late 80's she remained the backbone of the Plata family her entire life.

The eldest girl of my grandparents' 6 surviving children, my aunt was diagnosed with a heart condition while attending college. During that time period, child bearing was very risky for women and the doctors advised her that a pregnancy could kill her. Being of mixed cultures (Spanish, Chinese and Filipino), she was a coveted "meztisa" and considered to be the town beauty. Mama Celie's beauty, combined with her intelligence and caring nature, meant that she had several hansom and successful suitors, all of whom had hoped to make a future with her. However, as a result of her diagnosis, my aunt never dated or married. She devoted herself to being a teacher in her small town in the Philippines and keeping the Plata family close nit and strong. She played an instrumental part in raising my mother to be the amazing woman she is today.

When I reflect on my aunt and the life she chose to live, I realize what a loss both my family and her community have suffered by her passing. She was one of a kind, and people like her help me see life in perspective.

The world has lost a great woman, but her memory will live on in every life she touched.