APPT Auckland: Pyrite is all right for Aussie Millions champ

By Landon Blackhall and Sean Callander

It's been an unforgettable year for Stewart Scott. Back in January, he became the first Australian to win the Aussie Millions Main Event and followed that up with a top-three finish in the $5000 NLHE event at the Bellagio Cup in Las Vegas.

Hardly the kind of year to make one worry about the quotient of luck in his game, but Scott wasn't happy to discover he'd returned from the USA minus his good luck charm - a small piece of pyrite. But just before leaving his Gold Coast home in Australia for New Zealand, he found the shiny trinket lying beneath his infant daughter's bed.

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Romancing the stone: Stewart Scott

Fool's gold? We'll wait and see - the popular Aussie is currently holding 34,000, almost double his starting stack. "You just wait and see," he quipped when we quizzed the $2 million man about the value of the tiny piece of mineral.

Some big stacks have started to emerge in the APPT Auckland Main Event, with PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Emad Tahtouh leading on 70,000 along with aspiring actor Michael Shinzaki of the USA and SKYCITY Auckland qualifier Michael Song (60,000).

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Emad Tahtouh is aiming to join the elite group of players to have cashed on the APPT three times

In the space of two hands, Tahtouh shot to the outright chip leader after eliminating two opponents with pocket aces in successive hands. With the money in the middle before the flop after some heavy betting, Tahtouh's first victim rolled up [10h] [10d] against his A♠ A♣. The board ran out 2♦ 9♠ 5♠ 8♣ 9♣ to send the opponent to the rail.

On the next hand, Tahtouh shouted "again" in disbelief, turning over pocket aces against another opponent who tabled 9♥ 9♦. The flop of 4♦ 7♥ J♣ helped neither player but Tahtouh would seal it with the A♦ spiking on the turn. "I've never had back-to-back aces in my life," he said.

Meanwhile New Zealand's Mike King has dodged some friendly fire from Graeme "Kiwi G" Putt on a flop of 9♦ 2♦ A♠. King led out but Putt moved all-in, sending King into the tank for a long time before eventually open-mucking A-K.

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Wily veteran Graeme Putt puts his younger rivals to the test

"I'll show you one card," Putt said. He flashed one 2♣, then one 2♥. Though it's been tough start for the Kiwis, defending champion Daniel Craker is having a good day, moving up to 44,000.

Players eliminated include Aussies Joel strongplay Dodds and Steve "The Big Show" Topakas plus Kiwis Jan Suchanek and Robert Wang, who won the $1100 Lee Nelson No Limit Hold'em event as part of the SKYCITY Festival of Poker two days ago.