As demand for live poker across the nation increases, league operators and card rooms are responding in kind, with two major series already in the books last weekend alone and more to come.
Stemming from their success with the Ville 600 late last year, the Full House Group and Australian Poker League (APL) returned to the picturesque Ville Casino & Resort in Townsville for the North Queensland Classic, which ran from 4 to 7 February. As was the case in the APT Brisbane series at Eatons Hill, the new generation of Aussie pros dominated.
Former APT Dracakis Players Champion Jesse Stanley took out the $1,250 buy-in Jackstar Super High Roller Event, defeating reigning Ville 600 Main Event Champion William Wong heads-up for the title with WPT League QPC Main Event Champion Rauran Toye third.
APL NQ CLASSIC: JACKSTAR SUPER HIGH ROLLER EVENT
($1,250 buy-in, 57 entries, six players paid)
In other major results, Zac Duce took out the $1,000 buy-in Big Bucks tournament, while Josh Norvock’s juggernaut run in major events continued with victory in the PLO High Roller, followed by a third-place finish in the $330 NQ Classic Main Event.
But it was Mount Isa’s Joel Lindenburg who was crowned Main Event champion, defeating another former Ville 600 Main Event winner in the form of Martin Boersma.
In his post-match interview, Lindenburg admitted he was a bundle of nerves going into the final table, but once settled, the game plan became clear.
“It was intimidating … there were a lot of people that had monster stacks and I went in short stacked,” he said, “but it was just a matter of grinding and being patient and I just got there in the end.”
APL NQ CLASSIC MAIN EVENT
($330 buy-in, 180 entries, 16 players paid)
After making headlines earlier this week, newly-appointed APL Head of Live Events Joel Williams found himself posing for a tournament winner’s photo after winning the $165 buy-in Deep Stack Event. Williams will now suit up in an official capacity for the inaugural APL Poker Tour Queensland series, launching Thursday at Southport Sharks and running until Sunday.
For more information, including the full schedule of events, visit playapl.com or search for APL Poker on Facebook.
Meanwhile, deep in the heart of the iconic Barossa Valley, the Southern Poker Tour launched the inaugural Tanunda Thunder series at the Lambert Estate Winery in Angaston.
Although on a much smaller scale in comparison to other tours, the SPT prides itself on not only working tirelessly to deliver a world-class poker product away from the Big Smoke, but working with local businesses by providing sponsorship opportunities and using the game as a vehicle to drive tourism into regional areas.
As a result, hundreds of players from across South Australia, regional NSW and Victoria (albeit with some delay due to late changes in testing requirements) flocked to the iconic Barossa Valley to support the event, generating just over $90,000 in total prize pools – well above the original $60K estimate.
Despite Chris Dimaisi going into the final table with almost a third of the chips in play, Johnny Grdovic was able turn the momentum and take down the title.
Jason Larcombe was king of the mountain in the $400 buy-in High Roller, defeating a field of 91 players. It was also a one-two finish for the Poker Geelong House of Cards in the Player of the Series race, with Zabi Dalili edging out Chris Skinner to win the Player of the Series race and a $2,000 APT flights, accommodation and Main Event package.
The SPT has since announced their next stop will be in the South Australian coastal town of Victor Harbor in May; be sure to keep an eye out by following SPT on Facebook or visiting their website: southernpokertour.com.au.
ANGASTON VINEYARDS MOTEL MAIN EVENT
($200 buy-in, 232 entries, 25 players paid)*