ANZPT Sydney: Back where it all began

One should check the clock before undertaking a morning's walk along the shores of Sydney Harbour unless intending to catch a taxi back to Star City Casino for the start of play on day 1B of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Sydney Main Event. But on such a magnificent morning, who could be forgiven!

One of the amazing, and lost, facts about Sydney is the ability to remove you from the madness of city life along one of the many harbour pathways or parks and gardens to the immediate east of the city. It's also easy to get swept up in the city, and country's history, for the first days of white Australian society were played out in what is now the heart of Australia's largest city.

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Circular Quay (formerly Sydney Cove): site of the First Fleet's arrival, now the hub for Sydney's ferries

On January 26, 1788, the so-called First Fleet arrived in Australia after an eight-month trip from Great Britain; a feat described as the 18th century equivalent of sending men to the moon. They comprised 759 male and female convicts from Britain's overcrowded jails, 400 sailors, four companies of marines, enough livestock and supplies for two years and one stowaway!

Battling disease, starvation, aggravation from the understandably aggrieved native Aboriginal population and near-revolt, those rag-tag First Fleet-ers formed the foundations for a country that is now home to more than 22 million people. Some say we haven't drifted too far from those convict roots!

Of course, no such raffish characters in sight at Star City Casino, where another massive night of poker has barely been consigned to history before players start arriving for day 1B of the ANZPT Sydney Main Event. We're expecting more than 240 players to join the day 1A field of 164. Play is scheduled for a 12.30pm start.