APPT Sydney: New look for an old favourite

Each stop on season three of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) has delivered something new for players. In Macau, it was a superb new venue at the Grand Lisboa Hotel and Casino; in Auckland, a permanent home in New Zealand's largest poker room while the move from Manila to Cebu for APPT Philippines was greeted with universal approval from everyone who trekked to Shangri-La's Mactan Resort and Spa.

The theme continues here in Sydney, Australia where Star City Casino will again host the AUD $6300 APPT Grand Final. For the first time, this prestigious tournament will be played in a dedicated poker room.

Already one of the Asia-Pacific region's premier properties, Star City is being transformed into a world-class entertainment destination with improved gaming and entertainment facilities, new hotel and expanded restaurant and bar offerings under an AUD $575 million investment in the property.


A new home for the APPT Grand Final: Star City's new poker room

The brand new poker room in which the 2009 APPT Grand Final will be played provides players with a taste of the "new" Star City. Located on Level 2, the new poker room has been purpose built for poker players by poker players.

It features a dedicated multi-function buy-in desk, 25 newly refurbished poker tables, a separate kitchen with dedicated food and drink table service while conveniently located near some of Star City's most popular dining destinations.

Many of Sydney's biggest names in sport and entertainment were on hand for the recent opening, during which three APPT Grand Final seats were awarded in a Grand Opening satellite event. In past days, big fields have filled the room to capacity the fiercely contested APPT Sydney preliminary schedule.


Local celebs Mike Goldman and Laura Csortan at the opening of Star City's new poker room

Sydney's finest poker players will be out to ensure the championship trophy stays in the city. In seasons one and two, local players dominated with Team Australia Pro Grant Levy and Martin Rowe becoming the first two Australian players to win AUD $1 million prizes on home soil. Team Australia Pros headed by 2005 WSOP champion Joe Hachem will again spearhead the charge but for the first time, they'll face a stern challenge from Team Asia in the battle for regional bragging rights.

And the APPT Grand Final schedule will again culminate in the annual APPT Tournament of Champions. This invitation-only Tournament of Champions features winners from the APPT as well as some of the biggest names in poker, all competing to help their favourite charity.


When the world thinks of Sydney, it thinks of that Opera House and that Bridge

PokerStars Qualifiers from across the world have also been jetting into Sydney over recent days. They're not hard to spot with those ear-to-ear grins!

Star City is located just a short walk from the CBD and overlooking Darling and Sydney harbours, and is just minutes from many of Sydney's most iconic landmarks. Indeed, many hotel rooms provide a commanding view across the adjacent waterways to the nearby Harbour Bridge, one of the most iconic landmarks in this city of almost 4.4 million people.

There've been a few quizzical looks at the sky from our overseas visitors - yes, it is summer in Australia although it's been unseasonably cool in Sydney over the past few days. However, it won't be long until it'll be time to dig out the "togs" and "thongs", pack the "esky", chuck on some "zinc" and hit the beach!


Australia's most famous strip of sand: Bondi Beach, just a short distance from Sydney's CBD

Over the next six days, we look forward to bringing you a taste of the host city and the country we proudly call home, along with all the action from one of Australia's most prestigious poker tournaments, and the culmination of another APPT season.

It promises to be a massive day tomorrow. Not only will players take their seats for the first of three day one flights in the APPT Grand Final, we'll also be keeping on eye on the field in the $15,300 buy-in APPT High Roller event.

Join us from 12.30pm tomorrow for day 1A of the 2009 APPT Grand Final. The Main Event buy-in is AUD $6300 (or approximately USD $5750), and Sydney is currently GMT +11 hours.