ANZPT Canberra: A castle for our king

The USA has the White House, Great Britain has 10 Downing Street and Australia has The Lodge. Prime Minister Kevin Rudd may not be the most popular bloke in the country at the moment, but at least he has a nice house in the 'burbs to escape the rigours of running the country.

The Lodge was built in the late 1920s as a temporary residence but no-one ever got around to completing the permanent house. Perhaps this weighed on the mind of James Scullin when he decided not to move into The Lodge in 1929 (actually, he objected to the cost of running the house).

Befitting his working man ethos, Ben Chifley preferred staying at the Kurrajong Hotel during his time in office in the late 1940s and it's said that his ghost still resides there (more on that tomorrow).


The Howards (left) hand over the keys for The Lodge to the Rudds: "Plumbing might need some work Kev"

Our previous PM John Howard also famously snubbed The Lodge, electing to commute to Canberra from Sydney. But you can catch the Rudds leaving The Lodge on their way to church most Sundays.

Who knows, the PM might have a change of heart tomorrow and pop down to Casino Canberra to take in a few hands of the ANZPT Canberra Main Event. For a guy with the worst poker face in the country, he could use some lessons.

Meanwhile, there'll be a few sore heads making their way to the tournament area today for day 1B after a big night at the Galaxy Nightclub for last night's players' party. Let's hope the guy sleeping outside my room on the floor isn't among them.

Starters today include reigning ANZPT Player of the Year Tony Hachem, the winner of the last ANZPT event in Sydney Angelo Hanataj along with runner-up Mike Ivin, Australian Poker Hall of Fame member Billy "The Croc" Argyros, ANZPT Perth runner-up Aleks Lackovic, ANZPT Adelaide second-place finisher Andrew Scarf and Melbourne Poker Championships victor Brendon Rubie.

Doors to Casino Canberra open at midday, with the tournament due to kick-off at 12.15pm. There'll be eight one-hour levels, with play wrapping up at approximately 9pm.

Level 1: 50/100
Level 2: 75/150
Level 3: 100/200
Level 4: 100/200 (ante 25)
Level 5: 150/300 (ante 25)
Level 6: 200/400 (ante 50)
Level 7: 300/600 (ante 75)
Level 8: 400/800 (ante 75)