APPT Auckland: Setting sail for NZ's biggest poker prize

The skies are starting to clear just in time for players to make their journey to the SKYCITY Poker Room for today's second day-one flight in the PokerStars.net APPT Auckland Main Event.

The northerly breeze and slight seas made for great sailing conditions on Auckland Harbour this morning as we strolled down to the harbour for brekky before returning to SKYCITY - for the directionally challenged, Sky Tower makes the casino blessedly easy to find!

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SKYCITY Auckland, venue for the 2009 PokerStars.net APPT Auckland Main Event

Chasing his third APPT cash, PokerStars.net Team Australia Pro Emad Tahtouh finished with the chip lead yesterday (162,900). His teammates Tony Hachem, the reigning PokerStars.net ANZPT Player of the Year, and 2007 NZ Poker Championships winner Eric Assadourian will lead the charge today, along with PokerStars.net Team Asia's Bryan Huang from Singapore.

New Zealand has also been a happy-hunting ground for Hachem - he was runner-up in the 2008 NZ Poker Championships Main Event and cashed in last year's APPT Auckland and 2009 ANZPT Queenstown main events.

We're expecting a much bigger line-up than day 1A's 135 contenders, which will hopefully take us to a bigger tally than last year's 306 players and within reach of an NZD $1 million prize pool.

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Cards are in the air after an official welcome from the Maori community

Others in action today include Australians Bruno Portaro, Dennis Huntly, Raj Ramakrishnan, Aaron Golledge, Aaron Benton, Michael Pedley, Terry Gardiner, Emma Grace and Ali Khalil, while the NZ contingent is led by James Honeybone, Shaun Goldsbury and Neil Stewart.

Danny Leaosavaii, AKA The Godfather of NZ Hip-Hop "Brotha D" and Joe Lonie, AKA Scar and bass player for Kiwi funk-rock band Supergroup are also in action today. It's also great to see Sweden's Stefan Hjorthall back in this half of the world after he finished ninth in the recent APPT Macau Main Event. Like day 1A, players face seven 60-minute levels today, and start the tournament with 20,000 in chips. The structure for today's play is:

Level 1: 50/100
Level 2: 100/200
Level 3: 100/200 (ante 25)
Level 4: 150/300 (ante 25)
Level 5: 200/400 (ante 50)
Level 6: 300/600 (ante 75)
Level 7: 400/800 (ante 100)

So how do you get through day one of such a tough field? Here's some tips from PokerStars.net Team Australia Pros Emad Tahtouh and Grant Levy:


Watch APPT Auckland 09 : Emad Tahtouh and Grant Levy on PokerStars.tv