APPT Auckland: Leaps of faith
By Landon Blackhall
With less than an hour left on day 1A of the PokerStars.net APPT Auckland Main Event, less than 80 of the 135 starters are in line to return on Friday for a shot at a share of the estimated NZD $1 million prize pool.
PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Emad Tahtouh has been joined at the top of the chip count by American Michael Shinzaki, who rallied to more than 110,000 in chips late in level six. That duo remains well clear of the rest of the field, with blinds now at 400/800 with an ante of 100.
At the other end of the chip count, we've farewelled Daniel Neilson, Kevin Clark, Daniel Francis and Eden Smith is the past hour. As if that's not bad enough, they'll leave SKYCITY to find themselves walking into a drizzly and miserable Auckland evening.
And as we wind down for the day, our thoughts have turned to the myriad options to get the blood pumping here in Auckland before returning for day 1B.
The most famous adrenalin-pumping attraction in Auckland, and easily the most recognisable, is the SkyJump. This 192-metre, 80-km/h, 11-second BASE jump (by cable) from the top of the Sky Tower is located next door to SKYCITY Casino. It's a common sight to see thrill-seekers hurling themselves off the building as the morning rush swarms underneath.
If you want the rush without the velocity, you can still climb up the Sky Tower, take a step outside and walk the SkyWalk. It's not as benign as it sounds - there are no handrails, just you and your shaky knees strapped into a safety harness inching your way around the edge of the drop.
For an equally heart-pumping experience, visitors can try the Sky Screamer (AKA "reverse bungy"), where as many as three people strap themselves into a capsule attached to bungy cords before being shot more than 40 metres into the air.
The real question isn't which activity we're going to try, it's how much breakfast we're going to consume first.