The cream is ready to rise in Melbourne

There's an old saying that the cream always rises to the top. During times of intense pressure, when the game is there to be won and everything is on the line, the best will not only survive, but thrive. Tonight we find ourselves in the city of Melbourne and the heart of poker down under. However there's something a little bit special in the air tonight, and we're not talking about body odour.

While the Crown Poker Room is tonight choc-a-block full of tournaments, sit & gos and cash game tables, everyone in the room only had one eye on their cards. The other was firmly fixed on one of the plethora of big screens around the room as the Australian Football League Preliminary Final had the local crowd glued to the enthralling action.


For those not familiar with our great game, tonight's match was a battle of the titans with the irresistible force of Hawthorn pitted against the immovable object in Collingwood. It was a heads-up battle to the death that went down to the wire. 90,000-plus screaming fans filled the MCG to see Collingwood spike a two-outer river for a memorable come-from-behind victory to stay alive to reach the AFL Grand Final. It was one of the great games of all time.

Perhaps it's a sign of things to come for us in this great city over the next few days as the ANZPT Melbourne series prepares for a final of its own. The $2,200 ANZPT Melbourne Main Event is set to pitch the best poker players in the country against each other in the country's premier poker room.


When a poker player gets off the plane and walks in the doors of the world-class Crown Casino, they know there is big money, silverware and bragging rights up for grabs. They too must rise to the challenge.

Already we've seen several players do exactly that, with well-known local pros grabbing wins in the preliminary events throughout the week. Luke McLean, Peter Aristidou, Trung Tran, Jai Kemp and 2009 APPT Sydney champion Aaron Benton have all risen to the top this week to claim impressive wins to add another trophy to their collection. And as this article is beamed out to the world, the $5,000 High Rollers event is heading towards an exciting conclusion. Aussie Millions third place finisher Jeff Rossiter currently leads the way, with Australian Poker Hall of Famer Billy Arygros and young guns Andy Hinrichsen and Jarred Graham still in contention.

While they duke it out this evening, many others will now be focussing on tomorrow and the $2,200 ANZPT Melbourne Main Event. It's the second-last event of Season 3, and with a big field expected, there are valuable points up for grabs to try and reel in the lead of ANZ Player of the Year leader Leo Boxell. Jesse McKenzie and Ricky Kroesen are certainly within striking distance while several others can still challenge for the top three for a share of the approx $80,000 in cash and prizes for the Player of the Year award.

ANZ Player of the Year Top Ten
1st Leo Boxell 244.10
2nd Jesse McKenzie 193.90
3rd Ricky Kroesen 190.78
4th Danny Chevalier 178.60
5th Octavian Voegele 162.45
6th Charles Caris 161.40
7th Oliver Grujic 150.45
8th David Gorr 141.95
9th Mario Ljubicic 141.15
10th Grant Levy 139.50

The beers are now flowing in the Crown Poker Room as the black and white army invades all corners of every drinking hole in town. It was a Friday night in Melbourne that was truly mesmerizing and all-consuming, and it's why we love this city.

It's going to be hard to wind down and grab a little rest before we kick off at 12:10pm (GMT+10) tomorrow. Join us as we bring you live updates of all the action of the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event from the Crown Poker Room exclusively on the PokerStars Blog.