APPT Auckland: Party tonight, business tomorrow

By James Potter

One of the great things about the all APPT events is the hospitality on offer. Season 2 has followed the lofty heights set by Season 1 when it comes to the Opening Party. They are never quiet affairs and they are not reserved for the VIPs – it's a great opportunity for all the local and overseas PokerStars Qualifiers to run shoulders with their heroes (and soon-to-be foes).


PokerStars Sponsored player Emad Tahtouh gets ready to toast the first APPT Auckland main event. Day 1B Emad?

The APPT SKYCITY Auckland Festival of Poker is already a success, and earlier today the SkyCity Poker room broke a New Zealand record, with 18 full tables of players seated at the start of the $550 Pot Limit Omaha event – the largest official poker gathering to date. The event began this evening at 6.15pm local time, and with the party starting at 9pm it was easy to spot the dejected faces of the recently busted slipping quietly into the party.

Bar 3, situated right next to the SKYCITY Poker room, was the venue for tonight’s party and everyone turned out to play. Some of the big names, such as Team PokerStars Pros Greg Raymer and Lee Nelson, and PokerStars Sponsored player Tony Hachem rolled straight off the plane into the function. It is always great to see the local players getting to meet the pros that they have watched on television over the years.


Local player Andrew Dimock chats with SKYCITY Auckland’s Executive Manager – Table Games, Ejaaz Dean.

Local influence found its way into every corner of the party, with a strong Polynesian theme being celebrated. While new arrivals to the party were lei-ed as they walked through the doors, local band Karamol, self professed “young cats with old souls”, played what they described as “Polynesian inspired R'n'B and Soul”.

Adding to the warmth of the reception on arrival was a Pacific Welcome Cocktail for each guest. For the budding bartenders amongst you, this was a mix of vodka, Malibu, pineapple juice, passionfruit pulp and mixed tropical fruits. Of course I selflessly offered my services in sampling one of these, all in the name of accurate reporting.

Such selflessness was also extended to sumptuous range of (the fried senorita banana bacon roll deserves a mention), and naturally a wide range of local NZ wines and beers. The later flowed plentifully and were readily consumed by the players at a lively rate, especially by those lucky enough to be playing on Day 1B.

We look forward to bringing you the coverage on Day 1A tomorrow, from 12:15pm NZ time. I’m off to sample one or two more of the local beers before getting a good night’s sleep.