Heading West for the ANZPT Perth

It is with great pleasure that we find ourselves this week in Perth, Western Australia, as the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour rolls into town for the second official event of the Season 4 calendar. Originally scheduled as a standalone series known as the Perth Poker Championships, this event was recently upgraded to full ANZPT status following the withdrawal of the Gold Coast event due to casino renovations. Jupiters' loss is Burswood's gain as the best poker players in the country will flock to across the border to produce what is likely to be Perth's largest ever tournament by number of entrants, with an anticipated prize pool in excess of AU$300,000.

While there will be plenty of locals in the field, and the West have certainly produced plenty of highly-talented players over the years, there will be many making the long trip across the Nullarbor to one of the most popular destinations on the tour.

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However it is a long trip from the Eastern states to 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. Travelling five hours on a plane, across two time zones, and land in the same country that you started, doesn't happen every day. But Perth is worth the long haul as a vibrant, modern city welcomes us with open arms.

The Burswood Entertainment Complex will play hosts once again this week, and upon arrival here this evening it appears that big changes are in store. Already this year, the complex has welcomed new restaurants and a day spa, but the mass of construction and scaffolding suggests that even bigger developments are on the way before the official rebranding to Crown Perth later in the year. It's an exciting time for everyone here in Perth as the poker room will no doubt only be enhanced by these changes.

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When we were here last year, the title was brought back to the East when Grant Levy landed a historic victory to become just the second player, after Kiwi Brotha D, to secure both APPT and ANZPT trophies. We've received word that Grant is unfortunately unable to defend his title, so that means we'll be assured of a new champion this week.

Despite the absence of the defending champ, we will have plenty of big names in town, including Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang who was spotted en route to Perth directly from the recently completed APPT Cebu. Huang has made several appearances on the ANZPT without a whole lot of luck, so he will be keen to make an impression this time around.

It all gets underway at 12:30pm (GMT+8) on Wednesday afternoon and we'll have all the live updates and videos interviews for you exclusively right here on the PokerStars blog. Join us for what should be an exciting week on the felt!