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State of Origin Feature Event - How Does Your State Rate?

Posted at 20:34 2009-08-02

Poker has developed in all shapes and forms over the years, and one that is starting to boom is the State of Origin concept held at Crown Casino’s Victorian Poker Championships.

Following a successful trial run last year where Mark Salkanovic and his South Australian team were victorious, Jonno Pittock and his devoted team in the Crown Poker Room have upped the ante, fiddled with the structure and added a few more bits and pieces to provide an even bigger and better State of Origin for 2009!

The main difference this year is that six teams have been increased to eight following the inclusions of both The Territories and New Zealand, and to continue the shootout format, the team size has also increased from six to eight.

With discussion on the PokerNetwork Forum becoming more and more heated as we count down to Monday the 10th of August, it is about time we look closely at the proposed teams in contention.

South Australia
1. Fouad Chaptini (Captain)
2. Gassan Chaptini
3. Pierre Aoukar
4. Steve Kotsouvelis
5. Gabriel Xiourouffa
6. Mark Salkanovic
7. Phillip Aoukar
8. Michele Chaptini

Western Australia
1. Aleks Lackovic (C)

2. Michael Pedley
3. Jay Kinkade
4. David Saab
5. Kent Hunter
6. Nik Lackovic
7. Lynn Brooks
8. Tony G

Victoria
1. Joseph Hachem (C)

2. Billy Argyros
3. Emad Tahtouh
4. Van Marcus
5. Sam Youssef
6. Tony Hachem
7. Peter Aristidou
8. Tino Lechich
Queensland
1. James Pickering (C)

2. Steve Lindeblad
3. Mitch Carle
4. Lisa Walsh
5. Sean Dunwoody
6. Robert Trask
7. Danny Andrews
8. Mark Erickson

New South Wales
1. Eric Assadourian (C)

2. David Borg
3. Saidal Wardak
4. Grant Levy
5. Paren Arzoomanian
6. Gary Benson
7. Star City Rep
8. Star City Rep

Tasmania
1. George Mamacas (C)

2. Heath Chick
3. Will Jones
4. Dallas Joiner
5. Chris Edgar
6. Chris Deckert
7. Anthony Dickson
8. Andrew Scott
The Territories
1. Ray Walter (C)

2. Dave Campbell
3. Andrew Kanaridis
4. Kel Harris
5. Danny Noja
6. Jonny Sun
7. Chris Sandiman
8. Ian Burchell

New Zealand
1. Lee Nelson (C)

2. James Honey bone
3. Graeme Putt
4. Robert Wang
5. Martin Cardno
6. Dan Sing
7. Kevin Clark
8. Simon Bismark

Starting with the defending champions, South Australia has lost two of their more well-known players in Paul Ravesi and Anthony Donjerkovic, but have included a few that wouldn’t be the first picks in some people’s mind. Karamalikis, Graham, Obst, Nathan, Pearson and Ewing are just a handful of names that could have slid into the team, but leaving them on the outer only underlines the notion of don’t mess with what works that South Australia is going for . . . and being the defending champions, they’re the team everyone is gunning for!

Western Australia is one of the favourites after selecting a team to match it with the best! Following a small poker vacation (for the time being hopefully) by Max Veenhuyzen, Western Australia have recruited the cream of the crop with Nik Lackovic, David Saab and Tony G waltzing into a team that now boasts close to $1.5 million in tournament earnings before factoring in Guoga’s $4 million-plus in earnings.

Victoria has the most experienced team both on the local and international scene following the inclusions of Tino Lechich, Sam Youssef and Peter Aristidou. Billy ‘the Croc’ Argyros nearly claimed victory last year when he went heads-up, but following a few tough bets and a bad string of cards he would eventually fall in second. Vengeance, revenge, retribution – regardless of how you put it – will be the one thing powering the Vic’s as they look to take home the title on their own court.

After fielding such a strong team last year, it was a surprise to see New South Wales only retain two members – however their inclusions include David Borg, Saidal Wardak, Paren Arzoomanian and Gary Benson to field a team mixed with youth, aggression, patience and a whole lot of skill! Team captain Eric Assadourian and returning team member Grant Levy will be hoping to put on a better showing after finishing a disappointing fourth in 2008 after being one of the favourites.

Tasmania surprised everyone last year when they sat atop the leaderboard after the first round without having any representation on the final table. Due to an all-mainland final table, Tasmania would see their points lead be to no avail as they were mathematically ruled out of being victorious. Captain George Mamacas and PokerNetwork’s own Heath ‘TassieDevil’ Chick will welcome both Chris Deckert and Andrew Scott into their team, along with a handful of others, to boost their chances of grabbing victory which was so nearly theirs last year.

There was always going to be a cellar-dweller last year, and unfortunately Queensland took those honours when they were unable to get anything running. Their team has been bolstered with the inclusions of Lisa Walsh, Sean Dunwoodie, Steve Lindeblad and Mark Erickson following the exits of Karsten Kobbing and Graeme Woodbine. Jamie Pickering will lead the team with aggression once again with support from Mitchell Carle, and following their poor efforts last year, Queensland will be the team with the most to prove come the 2009 State of Origin!

The Territories are a new team for this year and include representatives from both the Northern Territory and Australian Capital Territory. Ray Walter leads the team, and he’ll be calling on all his team members to make sure they put on a good showing as the mix it with the best Australia has to offer. Following three Aussie Millions final tables and a third placing in the inaugural ANZPT Adelaide main event, Daniel Noja will be calling on his vast experience to help push the team to the top of the leaderboard.

Although it may be the State of Origin, New Zealand has also been thrown into the mix to make the eight-team battle even more heated as the field a team to match it with anyone. Lee Nelson leads the charge as captain, and will be supported by James Honeybone, Graeme ‘KiwiG’ Putt, Robert Wang and Martin Cardno as they venture over the Tasman Sea. With more than their fair share of experience, the New Zealand team will be a huge threat to the remaining seven teams as they look to capture the gold on foreign soil!

We all know that this is just the tip of the iceberg as the prop bets, insults, bad beats and jovial jibes and jabs are exchanged at a rapid rate once the cards hit the air.

If you are unable to get down to catch the action, then the PokerNetwork Live Reporting Team will be able to fill the void as we provide live coverage of the State of Origin, and many more events, from the Crown Poker Room and the 2009 Victorian Poker Championships at PokerNetwork.com.

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