ANZPT Gold Coast: Plenty of surf, but where's the sun?

Fresh off the slopes of Queenstown, the best players in Australia and New Zealand have traded skis and snow for surf boards and sand, as the ANZPT heads to the "Sunshine State" for the sixth event of the 2010 PokerStars.net Australia and New Zealand Tour.

We find ourselves at Jupiters Hotel & Casino on the Gold Coast for the next week. We call it "work" but it's hard not to become consumed by the laid back lifestyle that this popular family Australian holiday destination provides.

It's a win-win-win situation for those players lucky enough to find themselves north of the border this week. Due to government regulations, the $2,500 Main Event is rake and admin fee free - a rare breed in today's tough economic climate, but a huge bonus for players as all money is returned to the prize pool. If players go deep they'll enjoy several days in the luxurious brand-new, 16-table Jupiters Poker Room and the chance at a share of the estimated $700,000 prize pool. While the pain of an early elimination will be soon forgotten after a quick trip to one of the nearby theme parks and a ride or two on the "Tower of Terror"!

Australia is marketed to the world as the "sunburnt country" and there is no better showcase than the golden beaches, ocean surf and bikini babes of the Gold Coast. Just an hour's drive south of the state capital of Brisbane, the Gold Coast comprises of 57 kilometres of perfect white beaches at your doorstep including Burleigh Heads, Snapper Rocks, Rainbow Bay, Currumbin and the ever popular Surfers Paradise. We find ourselves situated in the heart of Broadbeach, just a short distance south of Surfers Paradise. Broadbeach is home to one of Queensland's largest shopping centres in Pacific Fair, with many restaurants and bars only a short stroll from the casino.

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Jupiters Hotel and Casino on the Gold Coast

A location of genuine character, the Gold Coast continues to evolve as Australia's number one holiday destination.

I do have to make mention that yesterday we flew up from a brilliantly sunny winter's morning in Hobart to be greeted by a torrential downpour here on the Gold Coast. Such is the nature of the tropical location, but not exactly what we were expecting. Of course our friendly cab driver reminded us of the Queensland motto of "beautiful one day, perfect the next", so according to that logic, we must be due for a pretty good day today!

It's no wonder that this is one of the most popular stops on the tour, after providing the second-largest tournament of Season 1, both in number of entrants and prize pool. Last year it was Sydney's Scott Kerr who emerged triumphant to the tune of $168,075. All expectations are that we're going to be very close to full capacity here with over 220 registrations already taken as of last night.

This tournament is the sixth event of Season 2 of the ANZPT and as such, there are only three more opportunities for players to grab points to challenge the lead of PokerStars Team Australia Pro Tony Hachem in the ANZPT Player of the Year Race.

1st Tony Hachem - 171.65
2nd John Maklouf - 161
3rd Andrew Scarf - 154.5
4th Rennie Carnevale - 139.55
5th Vesko Zmukic - 116.1
6th Aaron Benton - 108.85
7th Jason Gray - 106.5
8th Dale Marsland - 103.55
9th Michael Spilkin - 103.3
10th Peter Aristidou - 98.3

With many of these guys showing some remarkable form over the past few events, the race for the added $90,000 in cash and prizes is well and truly on!
All the action kicks off at the bright and early start time of 11:30am Australian Eastern Standard Time with the first of two opening flights. Stay locked into PokerStarsBlog for our live and exclusive coverage of the 2010 ANZPT Gold Coast Main Event!