By Landon Blackhall
Quickly making a name for itself on the Australian poker scene, the Australian Poker Tour (APT) returned last weekend with hundreds of amateur and professional players alike taking part in its much-anticipated Season 3 launch.
Hosted at the Eatons Hill Hotel in Brisbane’s outer suburbs, the inaugural APT Brisbane series for 2020 featured a jam-packed schedule of 19 events over five days, with a total of $535,000 in guaranteed prize pools.
Although primarily geared towards the recreational demographic, organizers and affiliate leagues of the APT have worked tirelessly over the last two years to build a reputable brand, which in turn has attracted a wealth of mainstream sponsorship opportunities and marquee players both from home and abroad.
This weekend’s series was no exception, with Aussie pros Robert Campbell and Jarred Graham, both World Series of Poker bracelet winners, duking it out for the Andrew’s Airport Parking $1,100 buy-in 8-Game Mix.After 40 minutes of heads-up play, reigning WSOP Player of the Year Campbell – fresh from winning two WSOP bracelets in 2019 – emerged victorious, picking up $5,400 in prize money, with Graham cashing out for $3,600.
With deep runs in both the PartyPoker Millions UK Main Event and the Aussie Millions $100K Challenge last month, Sam Grafton’s good form carried through to Brisbane, adding another $8,500 and the 6-Max Shotclock trophy to the Brit’s already impressive poker CV, which now stands at more than US$4.1 million in career tournament winnings.
Jigs Reyes was also among those to etch their name into the annals of APT history; Reyes went wire-to-wire as he took down the $1,500 buy-in Dracakis APT Players’ Championship for $27,000, defeating Najeem Ajez heads-up for the title.
Meanwhile, Brisbane’s Jo Snell, who broke out for his maiden win on the elite circuit after winning the Aussie Millions Opening Event in January, became the first player in the tour’s short history to earn more than $100,000 in APT cashes.
Gold Coast grinder Sam Adams also enjoyed a stellar weekend, recording four final table finishes and more than $16,000 in earnings to be named APT Brisbane Player of the Series.
The festival culminated with the $175 buy-in $150,000 guaranteed APT Brisbane Main Event. From four Day 1 flights, the tournament generated 953 entries, which resulted in a small overlay.
Much like the recent Aussie Millions main event, but with far less controversy, an ICM deal was struck between the final three players – Charles Tsai, Jordan Payne and Alexander Kay – but it was Tsai and Payne that advanced to the heads-up phase.
In the final hand of the tournament, Tsai completed his small blind and Payne checked before check-raising all-in after Tsai’s bet on the flop of Ks Kc 9s. Tsai called and both players tabled two spades, but Tsai’s Js-5h held up against Payne’s 7s-6s as the turn and river bricked out 4d, 3h.
The next stop for the APT is the Bankstown Sports Club in Sydney from 1 to 5 April. For more information, including full results, log onto www.australianpokertour.com.au or search for “APTLive” on Facebook.
Images courtesy of APT and Project 99.
APT Brisbane main event final table positions:
*Denotes three-handed deal.