Expectations Soar as 2013 WSOP APAC Commences

Joe Hachem
WSOP champ and Aussie poker icon Joe Hachem

The World Series of Poker once again validated its global status on Thursday with the debut of the WSOP Asia-Pacific in Melbourne, Australia.

For the first time in history poker players entered a gold bracelet event in the Southern Hemisphere.

The first event -- a $1,100(AUD) buy-in No-Limit Hold’em Accumulator tournament -- drew over 300 players including big name pros Antonio Esfandiari, Phil Hellmuth and Marvin Rettenmaier.

“Australia has cemented itself as a hotbed of poker and one of the leading markets in the world,” said WSOP Executive Director Ty Stewart.

“We’re also seeing a boom in Asia so it was only logical for us to make this the third leg of our triple crown.”

Aussie poker hero Joe Hachem provided the shuffle up and deal, although he didn’t actually hit the felt on Day 1a.

The excitement in the Crown Poker Room, which already hosts the mega-successful Aussie Millions, was at an all-time high.

“There are five players over the course of the next 10 days that will be a part of history. We’re looking forward to a fantastic festival of poker,” said Crown Casino’s Director of Poker Jim Preston.

Crown Casino No Stranger to Massive Poker Tournament Series

Phil Hellmuth
Phil Hellmuth made his WSOP Asia-Pacific debut on Thursday

Even the WSOP’s experienced staff had to tip their hat to Crown’s poker team.

“If there’s one thing they know at Crown, it’s poker,” said WSOP Tournament Director Jack Effel. “This crew does one fantastic job of running poker tournaments.”

There’s no telling how many players WSOP-APAC will attract but 2011 WSOP November Niner Sam Holden thinks there will be a good turnout.

“I expect the majority of the foreign players to be travelling professionals but I think there will also be a lot of recreational local players,” the 888poker pro said.

“The Australian economy seems to be in a better state than the rest of the world leaving the amateur players with some more spare cash to spend on things like poker.

"I know the Crown has a lot of regular customers and, if it's anything like Aussie Millions, they will be doing all they can to satellite into the main event.”

The 2013 WSOP Asia-Pacific continues through April 14 with a total of five bracelets up for grabs. PokerListings is the official live coverage provider for the entirety of the series.

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