ANZPT6 Melbourne Day 1a: Australia's Home of Poker
There's a buzz in the Crown Poker Room. The tables are clattering with chips and the players are chattering away as they settle in for Day 1a of the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event.
It looks like a very healthy field and with over 200 registrations today, and the same expected tomorrow for what will be one of the biggest ANZPT events in history. There's a reason why the Crown Poker Room describes itself at "Australia's Home of Poker".
There are a lot of experienced interstate players who have landed in town, but also there's a good sprinkling of novice players, perhaps taking to the poker felt for the very first time. We were approached at our blogging desk a half dozen times before play started with various questions about registration, so that's a good sign that there are some new players around and the health of poker in Australia is alive and well.
Also in the Day 1a field are a few faces who we haven't seen around the poker circles for a while. For whatever reasons, they've had a break from the game and are now back rejuvenated and enticed by the big prize pool on offer. If they haven't been in the poker room for some time, then they would probably be pleasantly surprised by the changes to the Crown Poker Room since they were last here.
Those looking for a bet on the horses will be pleased to see the TAB has moved out of the back room and is now located behind the renovated bar area. Drinkers are also happy as the bar area now offers more seating and sports screens than ever before.
In an attempt to lure patrons from their drinks to the gambling felts, there's now a row of Three-Card Poker tables separating the bar from the poker tables. Much like the whitewash of a wave crashing onto the beach, we can only hope these Three-Card Poker tables will entice a few punters to get their feet wet and eventually move into deeper waters in the poker room.
With the loss of space on that side of the room, the poker room itself had to be reconfigured as well. Joel Williams and the Crown Poker team have done well to move the furniture around, and although some spaces do feel a bit more cramped than before, I've been told that only a handful of poker tables were actually lost through the changes. The electronic PokerPro tables are also no more, replaced by more casino table games at the front of the room.
The overflow of poker tables have moved out into the old TAB area, which is now known as the satellite room. The mood lighting and tranquillity has been described as a "VIP playing experience" by some players who have found themselves seated out there during the week with huge fields filling the poker room to capacity during the fantastic array of ANZPT side events.
However the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event has taken over the main tables in the Crown Poker Room for the weekend so that the railbirds can catch a glimpse of all the action up close. With tournament tables on both sides of the rail that runs through the centre of the room, there's plenty of poker for fans to keep an eye on over the next four days.
Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.