Gambling Related Essays and Reports by Andrew W Scott

Big Game Poker comes to Sydney

November 30th 2007

As readers would know, yours truly has been following the newly established Asia Pacific Poker Tour this year, its inaugural season. To say the tour has been a resounding success is a massive understatement. The Macau leg of the tour has just concluded - in fact I'm writing this story on the ferry from Macau to Hong Kong as I prepare to return to Sydney for the final leg of this year's tour. Turbojet's pork and rice for Superclass passengers was actually quite palatable.

The Macau tournament exceeded the organiser's wildest expectations. The first ever live money poker tournament in the history of the People's Republic of China, it was originally slated to be capped at 300 entrants. But overwhelming demand led to hasty last minute negotiations with Government authorities resulting in a final roll call of 352 entrants - a record for the tour so far. These 352 entrants included three former world Champions: Mansour Matloubi (1990), Scotty Nguyen (1998) and Australian Joe Hachem (2005). 2007 World Series Main Event runner-up Tuan Lam was also in the field as were the glamorous Liz Liew and Vanessa Rousso, dual World Series bracelet winner Mel Judah, 2007 World Series heads-up Champion Daniel Schreiber, and seasoned Aussie pros Jeff Lissandro, David Saab and Ricky Gov.

2006 Miss Australia Erin McNaught is hostess of the tour and was seen shooting promos for the television coverage of the event which will hit TV screens in the New Year. Victorious in the main event was 27 year old Vietnamese born Dinh Le, a concert promoter now based in the UK. Le took home US$222,460 for his efforts. In addition to the US$2,500 entry fee main event, a high rollers event with a US$15,000 entry fee was held, attracting 64 entrants, a number higher than anybody predicted. Sydneysider Eric Assadourian won the event, collecting US$368,640. An Australian expat living in Hong Kong, David Steicke, came third which was worth $110,592.

But by far the jewel in the crown will be the season's Grand Final - to be held in Sydney's Star City casino from Dec 6 to 16. The main event will run from Dec 12 to 16, with 600 entrants expected. This of course will smash the Macau record set just days ago and will lead to a total prize pool well over $3 million - an astonishing amount for a tour in its inaugural year. In fact Pokerstars have just announced that the first prize will be guaranteed to be over $1 million.

Yours truly will be there, both writing stories and also playing in the main event and trying to pick up that $1 million first prize! After this season's tour is televised on various free-to-air and pay TV stations around the Asia Pacific region (including Australia), we will no doubt see the exponential surge in entrants and prize money enjoyed by other tours. For example, the European Poker Tour (also bankrolled by grew from an average first prize each fixture of €223,615 in 2004/05, its inaugural season, to an average first prize each fixture of €979,641 in 2007/08. Former tennis great Boris Becker has just announced that he is now a regular on the European Poker Tour!

I don't think it will be too many years before Australian poker players won't need to leave these shores to start picking up multi-million dollar pay packets for winning a single tournament. I just gotta get around to winning one of these things one day…

© 2007 Andrew W Scott




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