APPT Auckland: Day 1B off to a colourful start
By James Potter and Eliot James
Welcome all to the Pokerstars.net APPT SkyCity Auckland Festival of Poker as players prepare themselves for Day 1B. It looks like we are well on our way to the $800,000 NZ dollar mark, with 159 players confirmed for today’s flight. Registration will remain open for the first two levels, and with players flying into Auckland at the last minute, there is every chance we will see a couple of flustered last minute entrants.
The standard of play today should be world class with a long list of world class players getting ready to make their impact on the tournament. Heading the list are Team PokerStars Pros Joe Hachem and Lee Nelson who are certainly legends of the game down under. Other notable players include Mark “the Ginger General” Vos who has apparently flown in from the South Island of NZ and will certainly make for some exciting poker. Also PokerStars Sponsored players Eric Assadourian and Grant Levy, hot off their final shootout in the Pot Limit Omaha, will be flying the flag for Sydney, Australia. New Zealand legend Graeme (Kiwi G) Putt, and young rising star James Honeybone will be among the strong contenders looking to keep the APPT Auckland title on home soil.
With his huge table presence and ‘larger than life’ attitude, there will be no missing Paul “the Voice” Khoury who will be looking to make an impact on Day 1B. Last year Khoury teamed up with his good mate, Team PokerStars Pro Daniel Negreanu, as host of Season 1 of the APPT. Not only does Khoury posses the golden tonsils he is also a hardened poker player himself and PokerStars is looking for a big showing from their A List host.
APPT President Mr Jeffrey Haas is over the moon about the tournament up to date;
“SkyCity here in Auckland have really put on an exciting event. It is well run we have had an excellent tournament and we hope to be here in the years to come “
The Main event was just opened again today with another powhiri, a traditional Maori Welcome, this time featuring a lovely display on ‘poi’, which saw APPT President Mr. Jeffrey Haas and SkyCity Executive Manager Ejaaz Dean welcomed into the room. Haas took an opportunity to thank our hosts here at SkyCity Auckland, as well as the poker players who have come far and wide to support the event, local players who have supported poker in New Zealand, and finally to thank all of the New Zealanders for putting up with the APPT Players coming to Auckland to “steal their women and eat their food.”
Keeping the energy high, a traditional haka was again performed by our group of local Maori performers. The haka is a cultural icon of New Zealand, with its roots sunk deeply in the warrior culture of Maori tradition, giving a symbolic challenge from the local warriors to the incoming visitors. With a repeat performance, players from both Day 1A and Day 1B got to enjoy this unique experience, and there were even a few of our less punctual players from Day 1A who snuck over to watch today.
PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem took today’s honours and got the tournament underway with a traditional “shuffle up and deal!”.
As with yesterday, players will be facing a relatively relaxed seven levels of play today. This will see a large contingency make it through to the Day 2. In total 59 players made it through from yesterday's Day 1, and their stack sizes can be found on the chipcount page. We will be keeping you posted with Day 1B chipcounts as the day progresses. So buckle up for a long day guys and we will look to keep you up to date with all information, from both on and off the felt, as soon as it comes to hand.