ANZPT7 Sydney Day 2: Nino's adventure
Adelaide's Nino Qualita has had one hell of an adventure at the ANZPT Sydney.
In fact, it's one of the more bizarre stories we have ever heard at a poker tournament.
It started out when Qualita won an online satellite at PokerStars to win his way into the Main Event. Qualita was thrilled to get an opportunity to take a shot in a major tournament.
However upon arriving in Sydney, Qualita had forgotten one important thing - photo identification.
It's something so simple but without it, there was no way for Qualita to receive a Player Card from The Star and therefore no way to collect his ticket. And without a ticket, he couldn't take his seat in the tournament.
Qualita had a decision to make. There was no way to get a refund, so his choice was to forget the tournament and simply enjoy a weekend away in Sydney, or do the unthinkable...fly all the way back to Adelaide to collect his ID.
Australia isn't a small country and last minute flights aren't cheap, but if Qualita wanted to play the ANZPT Main Event, those were the options he was presented with.
Qualita hopped on a plane back to Adelaide and pondered his decision. Once he arrived back home, he got on the phone and spoke to ANZPT Events Manager Sam Dawson to get the details about the situation, knowing that he wouldn't be able to make it back to Sydney again until the start of play on Day 2.
Dawson explained that his stack would be entered into play at the end of late registration on Day 1B which was the end of level 6. It would then have to fend for itself as it blinded out the final level of the day. It was estimated he'd have around 15,000 left.
Qualita hung up the phone and all indications were that he was going to forfeit his stack and blind out of the tournament. Flights were expensive and his chances in the tournament were going to be slim with a 15 big blind stack on Day 2.
It looked like the dream was over.
But then Qualita thought again about the opportunity he was missing and the classic "chip and a chair" story that Dawson recollected to him.
A few minutes later a text came through to Dawson's phone.
"You've inspired me Sam. I'm going to play!"
Qualita ended up with 14,700 in chips in his bag at the end of Day 1B, as he packed up again and headed back to Sydney with ID in hand.
When Day 2 started today, Qualita still hadn't arrived and we feared that he night have changed his mind again. But another reassuring text message and a few minutes later, Qualita took his seat to commence his ANZPT journey on the felt.
By the time we noticed he'd arrived and wandered to his table, we were informed that Qualita had already managed an early double up to get himself back to around 15,000 in chips.
For a moment it looked like we might have a comeback story for the ages. Could Qualita really come back from missing an entire day of play, and three flights to and from Adelaide, to go all the way and win the ANZPT Sydney title?
After folding for a few orbits to get his money's worth, Qualita moved tables and was eliminated a short time later. We're not sure the details of his demise, but at least when he gets back to Adelaide, he'll have an incredible story to tell.
And next time he wins an online satellite for an ANZPT event, we're pretty sure he'll remember to carry some ID with him!