A warm welcome as ANZPT hits the Gold Coast

In its quest to give poker players from Southern states an opportunity to escape the chill and see a little sunshine, the PokerStars.net ANZPT has moved to the warmth of Queensland as the fourth stop of Season 3 brings us to the popular Gold Coast!

It hasn't been an easy time for our friends north of the border. The devastating floods that rocked Queensland in February left many homes and businesses in ruins, while tough economic times have also hurt the tourism industry which is the lifeline of the Gold Coast region. However we're sure there will be a spike in revenue over the coming week as hundreds of poker players from all around Australia, New Zealand and parts of Asia hit the Jupiters Casino for the $2,500 ANZPT Gold Coast Main Event.

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Jupiters Hotel and Casino on the Gold Coast

Poker players don't exactly hold back when it comes to living the life, with plenty of local restaurants and a few night spots likely to be sampled throughout the week. Inside the casino, the cash game tables in the Jupiters Poker Room will be pumping and, for the first time, we will see a range of ANZPT side events thanks to recent government legislation allowing Jupiters to now charge an admin fee. The side events include a Deep Stack event, a Bounty event and the inaugural $1,100 Australian Poker Hall of Fame Classic on Sunday afternoon. Of course, our poker whales won't just splash around in the poker room. The TAB will be kept busy, Aaron Benton is likely to smash the pokies while Danny McDonagh's patented "Team Roulette" is likely to terrorize late-shift pit bosses.

The truth is, if we had our way, we'd love for every poker tournament to be held on the Gold Coast. It's arguably the fastest growing region for poker in the country as Jupiters cements its place as the third largest poker room in the country. In fact, with three opening flights, this year's ANZPT Gold Coast Main Event is likely to push both Sydney and Melbourne for the largest event of the season.

However it's all about the timing. It certainly is a busy time for poker, so it will be interesting to see what affect this has on the total number of entrants. We know there are several players currently taking a break before heading to Sin City for the grind of the upcoming WSOP. There's also those who are currently grinding online as they torture themselves with midnight start times in the prestigious PokerStars SCOOP series.

There are also few ANZPT regulars currently hitting the European circuit with the EPT Grand Final recently wrapping up in Madrid. Even ANZ Player of the Year leader Jesse McKenzie recently toyed with the idea of a spontaneous trip to London. However he decided to stay in town in order to secure his place atop the ANZ POTY leaderboard.

1st Jesse McKenzie 110.9
2nd Oliver Grujic 95.15
3rd Danny Chevalier 92.15
4th Sebastian Pagana 86.95
5th John Gallagher 81.35
6th Grant Levy 79.5
7th Graham Putt 78.25
8th Michael Kanaan 77.5
9th Ian Parnell 77.15
10th Octavian Voegele 77.15

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Jesse McKenzie leads the way in the ANZ Player of the Year

And with approximately $80,000 in sponsorship prizes up for grabs for the ANZ POTY, it would seem a smart decision. But the great thing about the Gold Coast is that there is no need to get too depressed should one bust early from the Main Event. There's plenty of fun to be found. Wipe out of the tournament and five minutes later, you can wipe out in the local surf!

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Hitting the surf of the Gold Coast
(Image courtesy of Tourism Australia)

There is simply no better showcase of Australia than the golden beaches 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.

Last year it was local dentist Nauv Kashyap who defeated a field of 287 players to capture a first place prize of $182,965. Will we see a record field in 2011? With more expected twists and turns than a DreamWorld roller coaster, make sure you join us tomorrow to follow all the live action as Day 1a of the PokerStars.net ANZPT Gold Coast Main Event kicks off at 12:00pm Australian Eastern Standard Time. We look forward to your company then!

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