By Landon Blackhall
There was a distinct hometown feel to day 1A with scores of SKYCITY Auckland qualifiers seated in the PokerStars.net APPT Auckland main Event. It’s a different story today, with a diverse line-up of starters from across the region and around the world. We’ve spotted PokerStars qualifiers from as far afield as Hungary, Sweden, the United States, Spain, Canada, Belarus, Germany and Moldova … pretty sure that’s a first for the APPT.
It’s been a case of mixed fortunes for the PokerStars.net Team Pros in the day 1B field – Team Australia’s Tony Hachem and Eric Assadourian hold 20,000 and 25,000 respectively while, Team Asia’s Bryan Huang is struggling on 12,000 and is set for a rough day with online phenom Tony bond18 Dunst seated to his left (currently on 19,000).
The SKYCITY Celebrity Challenge qualifiers are sitting comfortably as bass player and vocalist for popular funk-rock band Supergroove Joe Lonie (27,500) and Danny “Brotha D” Leaoasavaii (28,000). Lonie was one of the founding members of internationally renowned Supergroove, which split up in 1997 after moderate success, but reformed in 2007 to support Crowded House on its New Zealand tour.
New Zealand’s poker elite is also represented well in today’s field, among them are Shaun mathclub Goldsbury (10,500) and Neil Stewart (14,500), both of who are among the top three ranked online players in the Land of the Long White Cloud.
At the other end of the poker spectrum, we found Craig Carleton (24,000) and Ken Norma (10,000). This duo qualified for the APPT Auckland Main through a satellite at SKYCITY’s sister property in Darwin. Australia’s Top End isn’t the best known poker destination so it’s great to see Craig and Ken waving the flag for the Northern Territory.
A total of 103 players of the 128 who started day 1B remain seated late in the third level of play. APPT Tournament Director Danny McDonagh has also confirmed the total field at 263 players, generating a NZD $789,000 prizepool (approximately USD $590,000), with the winner receiving NZD $209,085 (approximately USD $145,000).