It's the land of scorching red earth, rich indigenous culture and abundant wildlife. Rugged mountain ranges, iconic landscapes and stunning national parks.
It's Australia's true outback.
Welcome to the "Top End".
The SKYCITY Casino has opened its arms once again as the regions finest players make their way to the Northern Territory as the city of Darwin plays hosts to the final stop of Season 3 of the PokerStars.net Australia New Zealand Poker Tour.
Darwin is a fantastic place to visit and players will enjoy a unique experience that extends beyond a poker tournament this week. Those brave enough to venture outside the air-conditioned comfort of the casino into the balmy tropical Darwin days will find a vibrant city and incredible surrounds with plenty to offer first-time visitors. The World Heritage listed Kakadu National Park is a must-see destination with either a day tour or four-wheel drive camping safari, while the Territory Wildlife Park and the Litchfield Park are also popular spots for a taste of what the region has to offer.
By night, Darwin is a bubbling hub of entertainment, and although we were disappointed to learn that TOT is no longer, we're sure to find plenty of watering holes during the week to cause plenty of mischief.
It's also no coincidence that the ANZPT Darwin Main Event coincides with Oktoberfest which is being celebrated in the gardens of the SKYCITY Darwin Casino this week. The bratwursts are ready to sizzle, the beer steins are chilling, the Oompah band are tuning up and Octavian Voegele has reported dusted off his lederhosen - it could be a big week ahead!
With another event on in Perth this week, and several Australian players venturing over to Europe for the EPT London, we're expecting a smaller field than last year's total of 100. One man who we're hoping to see escape the Rugby World Cup fever across the Tasman is of course New Zealand hip hop legend, and the defending champion, Danny "Brotha D" Leaoasavaii. Last year Brotha D became the first player to win both APPT and ANZPT titles on his way to the first place cheque of $57,000.
There's another twist to the Darwin cocktail this week with the intriguing battle for the ANZ Player of the Year honours, as again it's all come down to the final event in Darwin to decide a winner. Last year Tony Hachem, John Maklouf and Andrew Scarf were all involved in a game of cat and mouse as they scrambled for the title with Hachem eventually reaching the money in Darwin to claim the POTY honours.
This year the man we'll be watching closely is leapin' Leo Boxell who has actually delayed his flight to the WSOP in Europe in order to try and hold on to his ANZ Player of the Year lead here in Darwin. He has a few crocs snapping at his heels with Danny Chevalier, Jesse McKenzie and Ricky Kroesen all a mathematical chance to win the coveted crown, with several others in the top ten still a chance to share in the estimated $80,000 in prizes.
Current Top Ten
1st Leo Boxell - 254.10
2nd Danny Chevalier - 239.85
3rd Jesse McKenzie - 232.65
4th Ricky Kroesen - 200.78
5th Oliver Grujic - 180.45
6th Octavian Voegele - 172.45
7th Charles Caris - 171.40
8th John Apostolidis - 156.50
9th Phillip Willcocks - 152.63
10th Mario Ljubicic - 151.15
The crocs will be biting tomorrow as it all kicks off with the first of two opening day flights. We'll be in checking in again at 12:30pm (GMT+9:30) tomorrow and we hope you'll join us then!