APPT Sydney: Australia versus the rest of the world ... again

In 2008, the APPT Grand Final featured seven Australians and two international players. In 2009, the APPT Grand Final will comprise seven Australians and two international players. Welcome to the finale of season three of the PokerStars.net APPT, with about 30 minutes to the start of the final table and the race for the first prize of AUD $594,000.

It's a spectacular Sydney summer day outside, but the heat is also rising in the Sports Theatre at Star City Casino, where the $3200 Heads-up event is underway, featuring many of the region's top players including PokerStars.net Team Australia Pros Joe Hachem, Grant Levy, Lee Nelson and Emad Tahtouh.

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Star City Casino in Sydney, venue for the 2009 PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final

That event is being played in the area immediately in front of the stage, where the final table will be played. We're expecting a big crowd to fill the stadium seating, from where they'll have an excellent view of action via a big screen directly above the players.

It's one of the most even spread of chips at the final table we've ever witnessed on the APPT, with Dutch PokerStars Qualifier Ernst Hermans leading on 2.048 million, six players holding more than one-million in chips and short-stacked Thomas Slifka from the USA under no immediate threat with 758,000.

The line-up includes two former professional blackjack players (Barry Forrester and Andrew Hiscox), a former reality TV star (Aaron Benton), an APPT Sydney preliminary event winner (Tom Grigg) and one of Australia's most experienced and respected players (Leo Boxell), creating an intriguing mix for the culmination of another Asia Pacific Poker Tour.

Blinds have been wound back to the start of level 22 (12,000/24,000 with an ante of 3000), and we look forward to bringing you all the action and drama from Star City Casino in the battle for the 2009 PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final.

PokerStars.net APPT Grand Final final table

Ernst Hermans (Netherlands) PokerStars Qualifier 2,048,000
Tom Grigg (Australia) 1,950,000
Aaron Benton (Australia) PokerStars Qualifier 1,785,000
Leo Boxell (Australia) PokerStars Qualifier 1,236,000
Barry Forrester (Australia) 1,087,000
Wayne Carlson (Australia) 1,014,000
David Formosa (Australia) 956,000
Andrew Hiscox (Australia) 848,000
Thomas Slifka (USA) PokerStars Qualifier 758,000