ANZPT Melbourne: Everybody needs good Neighbours

Much is made of the rivalry between Australia's biggest cities Melbourne and Sydney. Nowhere more is the difference between the cities reflected than in Australia's two most popular soap operas.

Home and Away is archetypically Sydney - set in the idyllic Summer Bay where the sun shines everyday, the waves are always perfect and the never-ending death toll barely raises an eyebrow.

But ask any backpacker worth their salt, and the king of soaps resides in Melbourne. Neighbours is one of the most successful shows in Australian TV history, appearing in 50 countries and watched by an estimated 100 million viewers around the world each day.

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"Madge, they're blocking the streets again"

Scores of tours run daily from the city to Ramsay Street, Erinsborough AKA Pinoak Court, Vermont South - in the heart of Melbourne middle suburbia.

While car crashes, natural diasters and serial killers wipe out the cast of Home and Away at a greater rate than the Ebola virus, the most pressing issue you're likely to find in Ramsay Street is whether the evening roast has been overcooked, or if a brown belt is appropriate with black shoes.

The show has been a launching pad for several actors to cross over into film and music careers including Jason Donovan, Kylie Minogue, Guy Pierce, Natalie Imbruglia, Daniel MacPherson, Holly Valance and Delta Goodrem. Now you know who to blame.

• Meanwhile, our very own version of Harold Bishop, ANZPT commissioner Danny McDonagh, has just informed us that the race for the ANZPT Overall Points Championship is really heating up.

The top three players at the end of the season will win a share of an estimated AUD $100,000 sponsorship package from PokerStars.net, with the winner being given the chance to play all season four PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour events and the 2010 Aussie Millions Main Event.

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ANZPT commissioner Danny McDonagh

"We've created a unique points structure that is based on the number of players in the tournament and not weighted by the amount of the buy-in so as to encourage as many people as we can," McDonagh said.

"All players receive 10 participation points by simply entering any ANZPT event and the payout structures are also on fixed percentages based on the number of entries. From there, either the top 18 players or 10 per cent of the field (whichever is the greater and to a maximum of 45) are awarded bonus points.

"We believe that the added bonus of becoming a PokerStars.net sponsored player is really drawing the players in. Plus we're seeing many more playing multiple events as everyone starts to realise just how much more they're playing for.

"For all our players the inaugural season of the ANZPT is an education process, but to have the bragging rights of being the first ANZPT champion would be fantastic for anybody!" Check out www.anzpt.com for more details.