APPT8 Auckland Day 1A: Rise and shine

There's one thing you don't want to have on the opening day of the APPT Auckland Main Event...a hangover.

Waking up a little sore and sorry is usually something that's part and parcel of the APPT, but with a 10:15am start time this year, a pounding headache is something that no player wants to deal with today.

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The coffee is strong this morning with around 50 players rolling out of bed and taking their seats on Day 1a of the APPT Auckland Main Event. Most seem pretty happy with the early start and with eight levels to be played today, they'll be out of here by about 6:30pm tonight to enjoy a feed and a quiet beverage or two in the city.

The reasoning behind the early start time is rather simple, as APPT President Danny McDonagh explained to us.

"With a limit on the number of tables in the poker room, we brought the start time for the opening flights forward, to free up tables so that the cash games and side events don't start too late," explained McDonagh.

"It's only on the opening flights, as the field will be reduced small enough on day two that it won't affect the side events to run them concurrently. So players will only be affected for one day."

It's the earliest start time for a major championship that we can recall, but McDonagh informed us that it's actually not the first time a 10am start has happened on the APPT.

"Back in 2007 in Sydney, we had a huge field and a three-day tournament so we started at 10am, but that's the only one I can recall," added McDonagh.

For Macau-based McDonagh, it's a time shift that would give anyone a touch of jetlag. Just over a week ago, the Asia Championship of Poker had days starting at 6pm local time which is effectively a 12-hour swing when you consider the time zones. The final day of that championships finished at 8:30am local time, which means that event finished later than today's flight even started.

The good news is that players don't seem to mind. Many of the online pros on this side of the world are used to waking up with the birds to play online majors. The early start hasn't dulled the volume of Oliver Gill who is here chatting away with great vigour, with other notables on Day 1a including Angie Fitzgerald, Dean Francis, Dean Blatt, James Honeybone and Australian Poker Hall of Famer Leo Boxell.

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Stay tuned to the PokerStars blog for stories from the APPT Auckland Main Event while the live reporting feed provided by PokerNews can be found here.

Heath "TassieDevil" Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.