APPT Sydney: Leg up for "Final Table"

Openings don't come much smoother - we're quickly down to business on day 1A of the APPT Grand Final at Star City Casino in Sydney. After speeches from Star City's Michael Aherne and APPT President Jeffrey Haas, the order to "shuffle up and deal" was given by Team Australia Pro Joe Hachem.

It's already been a busy morning for Hachem, who signed copies of his book Pass the Sugar for scores of fans prior to the start of play. No surprises on Christmas morning for the poker players of Sydney!

appts1Aeric.jpg Team Australia Pro, Sydney's own Eric Assadourian

Players seated for day 1A include PokerStars Sponsored Player Lee "Final Table" Nelson and Team Australia Pro Eric Assadourian.

Nelson was one of the first players to make a move this afternoon when he showed pocket eights against an opponent's pocket sixes on a board showing 8-6-2-Q-2 to score an early double-up. Back in Auckland, Nelson was out in the first level when he walked a full-house into an opponent's quads ... good signs for the 2006 Aussie Millions champ.


Lee Nelson's APPT Grand Final has kicked off on the right foot

We've also spotted ANZPT Adelaide champion Karl Krautschneider, 2008 APPT Grand Final runner-up Jason Gray, Perth's Michael Pedley and Kent Hunter, Peter Aristidou and wily veterans Martin Comer, Mike Ivin and Graeme "Kiwi G" Putt.

The younger brigade is being represented by ANZPT Player of the Year third-place finisher Joel strongplay Dodds, Julian Powell, Julian Cohen, Tony bond18 Dunst, Daniel Kochan and Donna Ciric, who appeared as a contestant on Joe Hachem's reality television series The Poker Star.

Internationals lining up today include well-travelled author Dennis Waterman, Dutchman Roel Pijpers (who cashed in this event last year) and Dustin Dorrance-Bowman, fresh from his in-the-money finish in the APPT Cebu Main Event.