APPT Sydney: Friend or foe?

Dating back to the days before Australia was a federated nation, there has always been a healthy rivalry between the country’s two biggest cities.

Separated by less than 1,000 kilometres (that's not far in Australia), the cities that sit at either end of the Hume Highway are surprisingly different. Indeed, the rivalry between the cities was the reason that neither Melbourne (the largest city at the time) nor Sydney (the oldest city) was chosen as the capital when Australia officially became a nation in 1901.

How else are they different? When the world thinks of Australia, it thinks of Sydney’s Harbour Bridge and that Opera House, not the brown and muddy Yarra River. But Melbourne is widely recognised as the home of the nation’s cultural heritage, the best shopping and the finest restaurants.

The cities are home to rival football codes – rugby league in Sydney and Australian football in Melbourne. Sydneysiders drink middies of beer, Melburnians drink pots of beer; Sydneysiders eat potato scallops, Melburnians eat potato cakes. You get the idea.

The rivalry between the cities has certainly flowed over into poker. Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem (Melbourne) is the yin to PokerStars Sponsored player Grant Levy’s yang. Melbourne has Van Marcus, Sydney has Eric Assadourian; Melbourne has Steve Leonard, Sydney has Daniel Kochan.

But the battle for the hearts and wallets of poker players has stepped up another level since the first PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final was held last year.

Suddenly, Australia’s premier poker event the Aussie Millions (played in the nation’s largest poker room at Crown in Melbourne) was feeling some pressure from a major event that was played only weeks earlier at Sydney’s Star City Casino.

Once the winner of the 2008 APPT Grand Final has been confirmed, work will start on a brand new poker room at Star City, and another chapter will be written in the long-standing rivalry.