APPT Sydney: Grand final part of sporting cavalcade

"Andy, did you here about this one?" Yes, Michael Stipe, we've indeed heard that this is the biggest week of sport in Sydney since the 2000 Olympic Games.

Welcome to Star City Casino on the shores of Darling Harbour for day 1A of the 2009 APPT Grand Final. The culmination of the APPT's third season is part of a sporting cavalcade that is expected to attract more than 350,000 fans to the Harbour city.


Sydney will be the focal point for sporting, and poker, fans over the coming week

The Australian Open golf title will be decided at the NSW Golf Club (featuring Greg Norman, John Daly, Adam Scott, Geoff Ogilvy and Stuart Appleby) while Australia's best touring car drivers will be battle the final round of the V8 Supercars season around the Olympic Park complex.

One of the biggest fights in Australian history is also scheduled for this week, with Aussie hope Danny Green facing boxing legend Roy Jones jr for the IBO World Cruiserweight title.

Meanwhile, poker's top prizefighters have started to arrive for the heavyweight stoush that is the APPT Grand Final. But it was a more relaxed atmosphere at the stunning Astral Bar last night for the final welcome party of the season.


Astral Bar, atop Star City Casino, hosted last night's APPT Grand Final welcome party

Chatting about some of the highlights of the year over a cool beer and delicious array of hors d'oeuvres were Team Australia Pros Joe Hachem, Lee "Final Table" Nelson, Emad Tahtouh, Grant Levy, Eric Assadourian and Tony Hachem, along with pros and qualifiers from across the world.

apptsparty01.jpg Team Australia Pros Emad Tahtouh and Tony Hachem at the APPT Grand Final welcome party

We'll be underway in the next 15 minutes, with players holding 30,000 in chips to start the day, and blinds starting at 50/100. 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)