New season, new stop as APPT rolls into Melbourne
The city of Melbourne is no stranger to hosting big sporting events. The Melbourne Cup, the AFL Grand Final, the Australia Open tennis and the Formula One Grand Prix, just to name a few. And now for the very first time, it also lays claim to hosting the largest and richest poker tournament series in Asia as the PokerStars.net Asia Pacific Poker Tour (APPT) has rolled into town.
Some might argue that there are a few similarities between the F1 and the APPT. Once held in the streets of Adelaide as the final event of the F1 calendar, the Australian Formula One Grand Prix event was "poached" by Melbourne in 1996 where it now enjoys the picturesque Albert Park circuit, and at times, has been the opening event of the year in March.
Of course the word "poached" is not quite appropriate when talking about the APPT, but the fierce rivalry across the borders of Victoria and NSW intensified a few notches when it was announced that the Australian leg of the Season 5 APPT would not be held as the season-ending finale in Sydney, but instead, a season-opening spectacular at the Crown Casino in Melbourne.
Over the years the Crown Poker Room has laid witness to many of the greatest moments in Australian poker history. Recognized as the premier poker room in the country, the Crown Poker Room is the home Australia's largest poker series' including the largest poker tournament in the Southern Hemisphere, the Aussie Millions. It seems fitting that the APPT finally makes a presence here in the heart of poker in the country.
However it seemed like only yesterday that local hero Jonathan Karamalikis held the trophy aloft as our last APPT champion of Season 4. The young gun pocketed $459,510 for his APPT victory and will be just one of many champions to watch out for as Season 5 gets underway in a few short hours.
We've already had it confirmed that two World Champions will be amongst us, with Team PokerStars Pros Joe Hachem and Chris Moneymaker ready to get their game on this afternoon.
Fellow Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang will also be here, along with a plethora of local and International talent, with valuable ANZ Player of the Year points up for grabs. With a $5,000 price tag, and a field likely to push 300 entrants, the APPT Melbourne Main Event is going to be big!
Stay locked into the PokerStars blog as we bring you all the live updates from the Crown Poker Room from 12:10pm local time.