ANZPT Queensland: They're not mucking about

Queenslanders are among the most parochial people in Australia. The State of Origin rugby league series played between Queensland (the Maroons) and New South Wales (the Blues) is the most fiercely contested sporting rivalry in Australia. The Queenslanders also love to rib those who relocate north for the sun and idyllic lifestyle from the southern states (commonly known here as "Mexicans" i.e. south of the border).

And we've noticed that, like the use of a small, orange, plaque called the buck instead of dealer button, they like to do things differently in their casinos.

Landon Blackhall reports from Brisbane that there are also betting lines and a small black circle on the dealer's left on each table where the mucked cards are placed. If your cards are in that circle, they're dead. They don't bag chips at the end of the day either - players are given a sign-in sheet to fill out their chip stack amounts at the end of the day. The chips are then all collected by security and re-distributed accordingly.


Even the dealers are getting into the spirit of things

There is also a major difference with the betting procedures. A raise must actually constitute the size of the previous bet, not the increase (for example, if the first player bets 200 and another player raises to 400, the next raise must be to 800 total, not 600).

iPods and MP3 players are a no-no, however tournament officials are taking a relaxed approach to celebrations around the room during big hands, which is helping create a great atmosphere. As one of the Brisbane railbirds muttered: "It's normally like a church in here, this is really exciting!"

Four players have been scratched from the Brisbane list, leaving 52 players to head off for their first break. ANZPT overall points leader and Team Australia pro Tony Hachem has struggled for cards early and holds 16,500. Local player Shaun Weston has quietly taken the chip lead with 46,000 while 2008 APPT Macau High Roller third-place finisher David Steicke holds 39,500.

Meanwhile on the Gold Coast, where 58 players returned from the first break, the Team Australia pros have also had a tough start to the day. Emad Tahtouh is down to 13,000 while Eric Assadourian holds less than 11,000.


Eric Assadourian's stack has been heading south so far today

Lisa Walsh's stack is also down to about half of its starting size, but Andrew Hinrichsen (44,000) and Sean Rosey (41,000) have started strongly to be among the early leaders while Stewart Scott has eased out to 30,000 after turning a straight against the pocket eights of John Malissa. Blinds are now at level three (100/200).