The Joey Del Experience: Sydney, Star City and the APPT

Posted at 17:33 2009-11-16
As you may or may not know, I live in Sydney. Now everyone knows that Sydney is one of the greatest cities in the world. This seems even truer at the moment. There is a certain sense of euphoria that is starting to grip certain corners of the city. A vein of excitement that is really starting to pump up and reach fever pitch, some people think that it is because Christmas is coming, others because we are reaching the holiday time of year, but they are wrong. The Sydney leg of the APPT (Asian Pacific Poker Tour) is just around the corner and for those of us who know about this great game we call poker, we can hardly wait!
I had lunch in North Sydney yesterday with a good friend of mine who is Australian poker superstar Ali Khalil. Catching up with Ali confirmed my suspicions that the poker players of Sydney are all caught up in the pre-APPT fever. We spent most of the time planning our schedule for this series. It all looks fantastic! The opening event, the 6-max tournament, the bounty event and of course the drool inducing Main Event. This really is going to be one of the greatest festivals of poker that Australia has seen!
The excitement isn’t just kept to residents of Sydney. I have spoken to poker players from Brisbane, Melbourne and Adelaide over the past week and it seems impossible to have a conversation with anyone without them mentioning this tournament series. I think one thing that separates a great tournament in Sydney from a great tournament anywhere else in the world is the after-hours options. Every time I have gone down to Melbourne for a poker series, whilst I have always had a great time at the poker tables and at Crown Casino itself, if you don’t want to spend the night at the Casino the night sort of ends when all the bars and clubs in the city close down. Whilst things stay open quite late on a Friday and Saturday night, for the rest of the week it is quite sad. This was evident on my last trip down to Melbourne when at about one o’clock, a group consisting of myself, Ali, Puzz and Daniel Nielson wanted to go out at around midnight on a Sunday night. We jumped into a taxi and asked him to take us to wherever the action was the biggest at that time of night. The driver stared back at us with a vacant expression which basically said “ummm...it is past midnight on a Sunday, people either go home now or they put the rest of their life savings through a poker machine at the casino...those are your two options.”
Not convinced, we got our new taxi driving friend to drive us around to places where we assumed there would still be some action going down but he was right, even King Street was a ghost town. We couldn’t even buy alcohol to go and drink at home! It was a real mood killer considering how pumped up everyone was. We went to the only place that was still kind of “going off” at that time of the week - the McDonalds and the petrol station on Clarendon Street. We loaded ourselves up with sugary sweets and resigned ourselves to a night of hanging out in the apartment and seeing what would float and what wouldn’t when it was tossed off our 22nd storey balcony. Surprisingly not many things floated and most of our belongings could be found the next morning on the footpath below. Now you may have read that and thought that this sounds like a dangerous and stupid thing to do, but there was no risk of hurting anyone. We were in Melbourne, everyone was asleep!
However to do this in Sydney on a Sunday night would be a recipe for disaster. There would be people on the streets below walking between the many bars, clubs and pubs that are still open and this is just another thing that will add to the whole APPT experience. When Ali and I were going through our schedule for the APPT, Ali was also working out where he would be taking people out each night after the days play had concluded. Over the years Ali has earned himself the unofficial title of Sydney’s Nightlife Ambassador. In fact, when talking to many of my friends from interstate about what they would like to do when away from the Star City Casino most have informed me that they will leave it in Ali’s hands. To be honest, I think most of my friends in Sydney just leave their nightlife in Ali’s hands...you have to give credit where it is due and the guy can organise a wild night out. Not that I would know from personal experience.*wipes sweat from forehead and desperately hopes he got away with that last lie*.
So there you have it. If you are coming up to Sydney during the APPT just leave your poker playing demands in Star City Poker Room Manager Deb’s capable hands and leave your after-hours experience in the hands of Ali. This tournament is just a couple of weeks away and it is already what everyone is talking about. I can’t wait until it gets a little closer.
If you want to head up to Sydney for the APPT, and are as broke as I am, then check out PokerStars for a range of satellite options. You could also try heading to the Staking Room on PokerNetwork and seeing if you could sell a piece of yourself for this great event.
Have a great week, best of luck and speak soon!
- Joey Del

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Joey Del plotting out his APPT Sydney campaign! Joey Del plotting out his APPT Sydney campaign!

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