APPT Sydney: It's Grand Final time Down Under
There have only been two instances that poker has made the headlines in the Australian media. The first was in 2005 when Melbourne's Joe Hachem won the WSOP main event. Poker returned to page one of newspapers across the country in December last year when a quietly spoken schoolteacher won a life-changing AUD $1 million.
The story of Grant Levy not only provided poker with a long overdue moment in the spotlight in this part of the world, it established the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour Grand Final as a major regional poker event.
It’s only fitting that such a prestigious event, which returns from December 2-7, should find a home in the largest city of a country; a city that thrives on sport and competition.
Appropriately, Team PokerStars Pro Joe Hachem – a man celebrated on the same level as Australia’s great sporting champions in his homeland – leads the list of entrants along with fellow Team PokerStars Pros Chris Moneymaker, Vanessa Rousso, Chad Brown, Lee Nelson, Raymond Rahme and Gavin Griffin. The APPT is also thrilled to welcome newly crowned 2008 WSOP main event winner Peter Eastgate to Sydney.
The line-up will also feature many PokerStars Sponsored players including APPT season two winners Eddy Sabat, Daniel Craker, Yoshihiro Tasaka and Van Marcus, plus Singapore duo Bryan Huang and Ivan Tan. Tony Hachem, Emad Tahtouh, Eric Assadourian, Celina Lin and last year’s winner Grant Levy will proudly represent the host nation.
The rest of the world got a taste of Sydney’s unique hospitality in 2000 when the harbour city hosted the Olympic Games. Sports-mad Aussies also love to play poker making Sydney the ideal host city for the APPT Grand Final.
Held at Star City Casino on the shores of Darling Harbour, this tournament is not tucked away in a private gaming room. It’s played on the casino floor, in full view of a poker-loving public and with a backdrop of one of Australia’s most recognisable icons – the Sydney Harbour Bridge.
The impact of last year’s APPT Grand Final is easy to overlook. Remember, this was the first major poker tournament ever played at Star City; the first major poker tournament ever played in Sydney and the first season of the APPT.
Regardless, massive support from Star City regulars, players around the country, combined with hundreds of PokerStars online qualifiers created a field of 561 players and a massive prize pool of AUD $3.336 million.
But the big story was the AUD $1 million first prize, which became an even bigger story when Levy became the first Australian to win a seven-figure tournament prize in Australia. Levy led a stunning result for the host nation, with 10 of the top 20 players representing Australia, plus the top female finisher (Suzy Khouiss in 23rd).
Players have been flying into Sydney from the four corners of the world over the past week for this year’s AUD $6300 buy-in main event.
Other highlights of the coming days include the invitation-only APPT Tournament of Champions. Featuring APPT season two winners and a selection of Team PokerStars Pros, this event offers a $50,000 prize, to be donated to the winner’s charity of choice.
A popular addition to other APPT events has been a big buy-in High Rollers event. Logically, a $15,300 High Roller event will be played in Sydney on the penultimate day of the main event. Play in the APPT Grand Final is schedule to start at 12.30pm tomorrow with the first of three day 1 flights.