ANZPT7 Melbourne: Final event reflections

The end of an era or the beginning of a new era?

The announcement that the upcoming ANZPT Melbourne will be the last-ever event on the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour evoked a mixed bag of emotions. The tour will be greatly missed, but there is still excitement in the unknowing of what lies ahead for poker in Australia.

It's a bittersweet goodbye to what has been a staple of Australian and New Zealand poker scenes. There is no doubt the ANZPT has played a big role in the growth of poker in the region and while the APPT will no doubt fill the hole that will be left, it is with a heavy heart that we farewell the ANZPT.

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The upcoming ANZPT Melbourne will be the last on the tour

Hopefully the poker community gets behind the upcoming ANZPT Melbourne and helps make it a last event to remember. The hopes are high that this one will be the biggest event in the tour's history. Wouldn't that be the best way to say goodbye?

"I have been very proud to be a part of the ANZPT over the years and I hope ANZPT Melbourne at the fabulous Crown Melbourne complex can set a new prize pool record as ANZPT's final event, beating the million dollar prize pool achieved just last season," ANZPT Commissioner Danny McDonagh said.

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The first ANZPT I personally worked as part of the media coverage was the Season 2 Melbourne event in 2010. I was completely green and excited to work such a big event after cutting my teeth in small $550 events like the Joe Hachem Deep Stack. It was an exciting and overwhelming moment to kick off my career in the poker media.

What I remember most, even more than Martin Kozlov winning the title, is working with the passionate staff behind the tour such as Danny McDonagh and Sam Dawson, along with my poker media mentor Heath Chick. All three were clearly enthusiastic about helping grow the ANZPT into the best tour in the region and to watch them work so hard was inspiring.

So, Instead of going through a list of stats and numbers highlighting the success and importance of the ANZPT, the heart and soul of the tour have reached out to reflect on the end of the tour and some of their favourite memories.

The Commissioner (APPT President Danny McDonagh)

"Being part of the ANZPT has been hugely rewarding. From the early days of getting 493 players to ANZPT Sydney in Season 1, to the days when the tour peaked with 8 events across the Australia and New Zealand. Having the opportunity to run tournaments in places like Queenstown, Darwin and the Gold Coast was an absolute pleasure.

I think everyone's favourite aspect of the ANZPT wasn't just the poker, but all the fun that was had off the felt. Some highlights throughout the years were certainly times like playing Frisbee Golf in Queenstown, the night life on the Gold Coast, lawn bowling in Sydney and the tremendous pool in Perth.

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McDonagh mastered his frisbee action at the last Queenstown event

There aren't many tours around the world where one month we are hosting an extremely intimate tournament in a tiny casino surrounded by the spectacular beauty of Queenstown, and the next event we end up at the fabulous Crown Melbourne complex, a venue that has achieved the first million-dollar prize pool of ANZPT Melbourne."

The Lead Blogger (Heath Chick)

"The ANZPT brought the Australian poker community together, so it's disappointing to see it go. The tour gave players, and media, an opportunity to visit all corners of Australia and New Zealand and experience more than just a poker tournament. We had some fun nights out in the early days and I really enjoyed visiting cities such as Adelaide, Queenstown and the Gold Coast, as well as places I'd never been to before such as Canberra, Perth and Darwin. The "Top End" was especially fun with unique experiences such as Litchfield National Park and "TOT".

On the felt, the battles for Player of the Year were always entertaining, with Tony Hachem's repeat POTY performance one to remember. I'll also remember Grant Levy and Brotha D becoming the only two players to win both an ANZPT and APPT title - an incredible achievement.

While it's easy to recognize the champions, I'll also never forget all of the talented players that ever finished runner-up in an ANZPT. They are the true heroes and it's a shame they now won't have a chance at redemption at an ANZPT."

Editor's note: Heath Chick finished runner-up in the Season 1 ANZPT Melbourne Main Event... The wound is still fresh six years on.

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Heath Chick during his ANZPT Melbourne run

The Media and Event's Manager (Sam Dawson)

"What made the ANZPT great was the comradery between players from all over the region. To see genuine friendships emerge between dozens involved with playing and working on the tour is something I will miss most about the ANZPT.

This comradery wasn't just nurtured at the poker table but instead with memorable indoor cricket matches, tennis games, frisbee golf, skiing, flights over Milford Sound, fishing trips in Darwin, ping pong tournaments, bike rides and many other activities that separated the ANZPT from many other poker tours around the world.

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Sam Dawson on the floor during an event in Seoul

To watch some of Australia's best young players have their first results and see a resurgence of some of the old school players was a huge part of the ANZPT. Through the years some regulars of the ANZPT had children, got married and simply rode the highs and lows of life. I just feel privileged to have been a small part of their lives through poker."

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There isn't much left to say except to implore everyone in the Australian poker community to get behind the last-ever ANZPT and give the tour the best send-off possible.

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Crown Casino, home of ANZPT Melbourne

The ANZPT Melbourne festival takes place at Crown Casino from October 8 - 20. The $2,300 ANZPT Main Event runs from October 16 - 20 with online satellites and qualifiers now running.

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