ANZPT Auckland Day 1a: Welcome to Sammy's Place
The SKYCITY Auckland Poker Room has had a few different homes inside the casino over the years. The poker room was originally upstairs for the early seasons of the APPT, in an area that had glass windows running the length of the room to provide some rare natural light. That space was then closed for renovations, which left poker without a home for a short period, before last year the ANZPT found a spot in an area called "The Clubrooms". It was a neat room full of sports screens, but one year later, we find ourselves in a different space yet again.
This year we're down on the main gaming floor, just a stone's throw from the nearby Roulette tables. That means we have the usual dimly-lit surrounds and clanking of pokies that you come to expect from a poker room located on a casino gaming floor, but otherwise the area is actually quite pleasant.
We're very close to "Sammy's Place" - a rather pretty bar and food area, seemingly named by a Sammy Davis Junior fan with various paraphernalia adorning the walls.
There's also a projector pumping 80's music clips onto a nearby screen. It's currently playing "Electric Blue" and while we're big Icehouse fans, we really hope the channel will be changed onto the cricket later in the week.
Inside the ropes there are nine tables in action, with another two overflow tables around the corner if required. They won't be needed today as currently 44 players registered for Day 1a of the ANZPT Auckland Main Event. That's a modest number for sure, but today is mostly full of local SKYCITY Auckland qualifiers. We expect more Australian and overseas players to start to trickle in over the next two opening day flights as we look to push last year's total number of 207 entrants.
A few of the notables in action today include Jesse McKenzie, Raj Ramakrishnan, Mike Stecker, Dean Blatt, Jack Efaraimo and Australian Poker Hall of Famer Leo Boxell.
We've been told that we'll be playing a full seven levels today, so that means we might not have too many survivors left when the day is done.
Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.