ANZPT6 Melbourne Day 2: Against the odds

How many of you have ever taken a sickie? Perhaps it was a cold, rainy morning, there was some tasty sport on TV, and you had a bit of a cough. It's ok, we're not judging. I'm sure it happens to most. Some days you just can't get yourself out of bed to face the world.

Then there are the days where you really are crook. You have that important project to finish off, but your employers plead with you to stay away from work to ensure that whatever contagious bacteria you are carrying doesn't infest the entire workforce.

That's what happens in the real world, but the poker world is a little different.

There's no boss to tell you to stay home. You're the boss.

There's no duty of care for your fellow workers. They are trying to take your money!

And there's no way on Earth your man flu is going to stop you from the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event for the chance at a share of a million dollar prize pool!

Rain, hail or shine, poker players roll out of bed and rock up to work every single day. There are no days off and there's just no concept of sickies. And that's why you often see a lot of coughing and sneezing in the poker room. It's unfortunate, but it's par for the course.

Even here at the ANZPT Melbourne Main Event, there are several players battling illnesses, but they are soldiering on courageously. They are already invested in the tournament, so they are going to give everything they have to win the $253,000 top prize.

One of those under the weather is Daniel Botta.


Two days ago, Botta was pretty chuffed to bag up the third largest stack in the room following play on Day 1a.

"I don't know how I did that, I'm sick as a dog!" laughed Botta in between coughs.

Two days later and things haven't improved.

Last night Botta couldn't sleep and his ear was throbbing badly, so he thought he better get things checked out. A quick trip to the doctor first thing this morning discovered a nasty ear infection to go along with his flu.


A shot of antibiotics and barely an hour's sleep and Botta arrived here at Crown to take his seat for Day 2 of the ANZPT Melboune Main Event. So is his illness affecting his play?

"Clearly it hasn't helped me, I've dusted off 100,000 already," chuckled Botta just prior to the first break of the day. Many of those chips have headed to overnight chip leader Vincent Chua who is seated two to his left. The two have tangled in several big pots, one which saw Chua river a set of fours to crack Botta's pocket kings.

That won't worry a relaxed Botta too much. He knows what it takes to win a big tournament. Back in 2009, he took down the local Joe Hachem Deep Stack Main Event for a $100,000 score.

Despite a bad flu and an ear infection, Botta is toughing it out courageously. It's the only way a poker player knows.

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.

@PokerStars in Melbourne