ANZPT heads to the wild, wild West

After six weeks of rest and relaxation, Season 3 of the PokerStars.net Australia New Zealand Poker Tour has once again started up the engine and sped away to another exciting poker destination.

It's easy to forget how large this sunburnt country of Australia truly is. After a couple of aeroplane rides, travelling for five hours from the Eastern states and crossing two time zones, only to still be greeted by a friendly "G'day" upon arrival at the other end, it makes you start to think about the sheer size of our lucky country.

With an area of over seven million square kilometres, Australia is the sixth largest country by area in the world, and PokerStars is doing its best to bring poker to every corner. The ANZPT spreads its wings far and wide, as this week we find ourselves in one of the world's most remote cities. Season 3 of the ANZPT has landed in the wild, wild West of Perth in Western Australia.

perth-skyline.jpg

Arriving at Perth airport, my first task was to whisk past the tourism information desk to grab a couple of brochures for the taxi ride into the city so I could learn more about what Perth has to offer. As a true blue Aussie with 30-something years under my belt, this was my first time over to the West, and I was even a little surprised to learn that WA is bigger than Germany, Japan and the UK combined, and with plenty of room to spare, as illustrated by the map in my tourist guide.

One of the world's most remote cities, Perth is so isolated to the rest of the country that it in fact, lays closer geographically to Jakarta, the capital of Indonesia, than Australia's own capital of Canberra.

We're thrilled to be back in Perth for Season 3 of the ANZPT, and it's one of the perks of the job that we get to visit a city that has been rated as one of the top ten most livable cities in the world. Renowned for its stunning coastline and world-class beaches facing the Indian Ocean, Perth locals enjoy a Mediterranean climate of hot, dry Summer months and a cool, wet Winter. With a population of over 1.6 million people, the CBD of Perth is set on the Swan River, named after the native black swans that nest in the area.

perth-blackswan.jpg

While we'd love nothing more than to turn tourist and head off sightseeing, there's a job to be done, and for the next week we'll be doing it from the picturesque Burswood Entertainment Complex.

Burswood comprises of a casino complex, two hotels which are currently undergoing a major redevelopment, a multitude of bars and restaurants, and Perth's number one entertainment venue, the Burswood Dome.

burswood_casino2.jpg

Poker in Perth has also enjoyed a period of significant growth in recent years with the Burswood Poker Room now hosting the popular Sapphire Series and Western Classic each year, as well as the ANZPT, as Western Australia has quickly developed a reputation as home to some of the country's finest poker players.

In fact last year, the final table was dominated by the West Australians, with seven out of the nine seats filled by local talent. However in the end, the inaugural ANZPT Perth trophy was taken back East as Victorian Tony Hachem captured his first major title.

tony_hachem_anzpt_perth_2010.jpg

It was the start (well, continuation) of an incredible run for the Team PokerStars Pro who carried his form all the way to back-to-back ANZPT Player of the Year titles. After a rare brick in Adelaide, Hachem will be determined to get himself on the board in Season 3 and put in a huge defence of his cherished title.

It should be another thrilling week of poker as the Eastern invasion takes on the best in the West in the $2,500 ANZPT Perth Main Event. Can the locals keep the title on home soil this time around? All the action kicks off at 12:30pm local time (GMT+8) on Wednesday afternoon with live updates brought to you exclusive on the PokerStars Blog. We look forward to your company!