AUSTRALIA AND NEW ZEALAND -- (PRESS RELEASE) -- Aussies may love their pokie machines, but with a growing number of major poker tournaments being hosted across the country, they’re taking to the poker tables more and more. Since local hero Joe Hachem took home the World Series of Poker Main Event bracelet in 2005, there’s been a huge surge in interest in the game Down Under. Poker’s popularity has not only been bolstered by Hachem’s WSP and WPT success, but also by the rise of internet poker, with major casino sites like Gaming Club increasingly looking to accommodate Australian players.
The Australia New Zealand Poker Tour is testament to the game’s rapid growth here. The region’s only national poker tour, the ANZPT launched in February 2009, attracting more than 1,300 players.
The ANZPT’s fourth season kicked off in March 2012, with tournaments taking place in Sydney, Perth, and Queenstown, culminating in the grand final in Melbourne August 31st – September 3rd.
Scotland’s Gordon Huntly took home the final table prize in Sydney in March in a gruelling fourteen-hour final day – a welcome contrast to last year’s lightning fast final. Seeing off stiff competition from Ashton Aston, Liam O’Rourke and 2008 APPT champion Martin Rowe, it was the likeable Scot’s first major title win. Huntly took home a cool AUD$148,900, leaving him placed 8th on the Australia Player of the Year Leaderboard with 79.45 points.
The ANZPT Queenstown Snowfest Main Event saw nine players take to the final table in July. Beating short-stackers David Evans and Ivan Zalac, and Team PokerStars pro Bryan Huang to make it through a tough two-hour heads-up battle with Ken Demlakian, Australian poker ace David Allan wasn’t just battling poker pros, but the flu too. Despite being visibly under the weather at the table, Allan’s determination, stamina, and a lucky flush finally netted him the title, and NZD$110,600.
Now all eyes are on the big prize in Melbourne. The grand final takes place in hallowed Star Poker Room at the Crown Melbourne, which also plays host to the Aussie Millions championship, from 31st August until 3rd September.
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