APPT Melbourne: Where's Wally?
As we enter the sixth level of the day, I thought I'd catch up with the progress of reigning APPT Melbourne champion, Leo Boxell.
The Australian Poker Hall of Famer was sitting quietly up in the high-limit area of the poker room, and as usual, had a healthy stack in front of him.
I thought I'd stick around for an orbit to observe his action, as we sometimes do with players at events. However Leo isn't the most active of players, so sadly there wasn't a lot of action to report.
Out of the nines hands observed, Leo folded eight preflop and one to a river bet on a board of Q♠9♣T♣8♠5♥. On the seventh hand, he bought a ham and tomato toasted sandwich. Not the most exciting stuff.
At this point, I thought my story was shot, but then I noticed something a little strange. Something was missing.
Where was Wally the Wombat?!? The lovable soft toy that Leo Boxell carries to EVERY poker tournament was not in his usual place alongside Leo's chip stack. Wally had helped Leo amass almost $1.2 million in live poker earnings - how could Leo play without him? Had he been lost? Stolen? Did the two have a disagreement and Wally stormed off? I had to find out what was going on.
"I forgot him!" Leo admitted with a smirk. "He's probably in his burrow somewhere pretty annoyed with me!"
It was then that I realised the other missing piece of the jigsaw puzzle.
"I needed him today too with Bev away," continued Leo.
Of course he was referring to his wife Bev who is usually on the rail sweating every hand dealt. But apparently a school grandparent day saw Leo without his number one fan.
But the big question was, who was going to guard his chips when he bags up for the day? Usually Leo would stuff poor Wally into the bag, and despite the potential lack of air supply, Wally would fiercely protect Leo's chips until they were unbagged the next day.
"Oh no, I hadn't even thought of that!" exclaimed Leo, and with a stack of around 50,000 at the moment, those chips are definitely going to need protection!
PokerStars hostess Lynn Gilmartin caught up with Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin for a quick chat about her progress today and her recent success in events throughout Macau: