FEATURE: All eyes on Vegas for APL Player of the Year

There are pro players from Tasmania who’ve won more money than Scott Brown’s estimated $90,000 total winnings, but no other player can match his incredible list of achievements in the local pub poker ranks over the past three years.

Brown (pictured left), who hadn’t played a single hand of Texas Hold’em as little as three years ago, is now heading to Las Vegas to play in the 2012 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event after taking out the APL Player of the Year event as part of the recent MAIN EVENT at Crown Casino in Melbourne.

Over a 12-month period, players attended daily events to accumulate points in pursuit of the title of APL Player of the Month in each state. Those 12 players were joined by the four State Championship winners in each state for a 16-player playoff to decide the field for the first APL Player of the Year Final.

“I was introduced to No Limit Texas Hold’em poker by a friend at an AFL Grand Final party where I was the first player eliminated,” Brown said.

“But I am really competitive and wanted to be able to compete against my mates, so I asked around and found that some work colleagues played Australian Poker League (APL) events and they invited me along to play.”

By his 10th game, Brown had won his first tournament. Since that first win, he has compiled a list of achievements that includes three successive Player Of The Month Titles, four Venue Championships, two Regional Titles and the State Leader title with a 90+ average over a three-month period, meaning out of 44 games he reached the final table a staggering 39 times. Brown also placed second in the APL Poker Tour event played at Crown in 2010, earning $72,800.

While the prizemoney has come in handy for the Launceston schoolteacher and his wife, the achievement of qualifying for, then winning, the APL Player of the Year title meant much more for Brown.

“I was incredibly proud to represent Tasmania as we have some really gifted and aggressive players. I really had to grind it out to get to the final table of the state qualifying event and was lucky that the big stack at the final table tried to bully me out of three straight pots pre-flop. I held pocket aces, A-Q and pocket queens in those hands and managed to double-up each time,” he said.

“It was the first time that a lot of the players had played with antes before and I tried to use that to my advantage by raising in good spots and keeping their stacks low while I picked up a lot of uncontested pots.

Brown said going on to win the POTY tournament at Crown Casino was like a dream come true.

“I was pretty confident that I would do well and when I won two really big pots early and got a big chip lead I was able to establish a position as table captain for the remainder of the tournament,” he said.

Brown will captain TeamWSOP (comprising up to 12 players) to the 2012 World Series of Poker later this year as part of a package valued at $17,000 including flights and accommodation. He also pocketed $15,000 in cash.

“Going to Vegas is way beyond my dreams. I told my wife in 2010 that I would love to win my way to Vegas and the biggest poker event in the world by the time I was 70 years old. Who would have thought that I would have achieved that goal only 12 months later?”

Brown is confident of his chances in the 2012 WSOP Main Event and said he has a game plan ready for the tournament.

“I am very comfortable playing both a patient, disciplined game as well as being more aggressive and going after those who I think can’t stand the heat. I have never really worried about who I am playing against, so I am not too concerned about playing some of the bigger names,” he said.

“If anything they should be worried about me, as they have played against each other so often that they know how each other play and they won’t have that information about me.”

• Additional reporting by Sean Callander

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