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Poker is getting huge in Australia but it's not just big buy-in events like the World Series of Poker. All over the country people are playing real money poker in pubs and bars through organizations like the Australian Poker League sponsored by 888poker, and some of them are even winning their way to the big leagues. Today we chat with former Crown Poker director Jonno Pittock plus a few amateur poker players who won their way into the WSOP Asia Pacific main event through their local bar.
Matt: Welcome back. Poker is blowing up in Australia, but it's not just big buy-in events like the WSOP. All across the country thousands of players are getting their first taste of the game through pub leagues like the APL.
Jonno: Pub poker launched in this country in 2005 around the same time that Joe Hachem won the world series. So, it was like kismet and it basically just went bang! Within a month or two there was poker on very corner, every pub turned into a little poker room. So, since then it's really developed into a really strong foundation for the game.
Craig: My wife and myself have been playing poker for years and years at home, that sort of thing. Then came along APL with the free poker at all of the clubs and things like that and it was fantastic because you could play amongst a lot of people, hundred, two hundred people. We've been with APL I don't know how long. It's probably eight to 10 years now. A lot of our little APL venues in the area, they went by the wayside and now we travel up to an hour just to go to APL and half an hour to another site.
Omeed: Starting here in the pub poker scene and making it here it's a great, great opportunity. Not many people get to do this. Ordinary, just got a regular job, I'm a nurse. To win some big money, it's exciting, but I gotta be realistic. I'm still in a tournament, grinding my way and...
Jonno: It's really great for the development of the game. I can come in, I can learn for free in a comfortable environment that I'm familiar with, have a good meal and drink with the mates or whatever and then they graduate up into their small 10, 20 dollar tournaments and eventually graduate into events like this.
Craig Evans: Right now I'm sitting with Phil Homer. I was sitting with, I forgot his name. Mr. Lee and one of the other ones yesterday. I mean, they're the superstars and one on either side will be going home. My goodness. That's really good and even Phil, he's really good with the crowd. He'll take the [inaudible 00:02:10], he'll shake the hands. I think it's fantastic that they mix. You see a lot of superstars don't wanna know about their fans and I think it's great.
Omeed: I qualified through an online event, through Triple-A poker and here I am.
Jonno: The bragging rights to these players, that's worth everything. If they mean cash, 15,000 or 20,000. That's not life changing money, but it's big money for these guys and if they make a six-figure score, I mean it's massive. That would change their life for sure. A big chunk of the mortgage would come off.
Craig: Yeah, you can get into it. At the end of the day, it's two cards and a person. Yeah, the big superstars they got more experience but play your safe poker. They're a pass for us to get here that we would never have the opportunity and once you're here, even if I get out, I get to walk around and watch them play after the final table, that sort of stuff and it's fun. It's a fun game. Just don't get addicted.