Lockdown in Sydney abruptly cancels the ongoing Australian Poker Tour festival

Sudden turn of events at the Australian Poker Tour Sydney with the government declaring the city as a Covid-19 hotspot as of June 23. The regrettable news put an immediate stop to the ongoing event that had been underway since June 21 at THE CUBE – Campbell Convention & Entertainment Centre. As posted on the APTLive facebook page:

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Credit: APTLive Facebook

“It is with great sadness that we announce the cancellation of the APT Sydney 2021 – Season 4 due to the ongoing COVID situation in NSW.

We would like to extend our immense gratitude to the Campbelltown Catholic Club and THE CUBE – Campbelltown Convention & Entertainment Centre for giving us the opportunity to host what was going to be one of our greatest series ever. This venue is amazing and we were very proud of what we had created here. The set up was truly world class. Thank you for providing us with everything we asked of, your team went above and beyond and for this we are truly grateful.

To the APT Staff, as always every APT Series is made possible because of all the hard work and dedication that you guys commit yourselves to. Thank you for representing the APT as well as you do but more importantly thank you for being so awesome.

To all our players, what can we say? We are truly gutted that we are not able to proceed and bring to you another amazing series. Thank you to all who participated and attended, especially those who travelled from afar. You are what makes APT so special.”

For a country that has been able to contain the virus, this news was a crushing blow. Prior to the cancellation, APT Sydney 2021 was expected to be the tour’s biggest series to date with 31 varied tournaments planned from June 21 to June 27 and an estimated AU$ 1,750,000 in prizes. Opening day witnessed a buzzing room with four events running throughout. The Opening Event drew 196 entries for a prize pool of AU$ 23,835. Ben Marcuse shipped it to become the first series champion. Following in his footsteps were Con Xenos who outlasted 85 players at the 8-Max Freezeout tournament, Jess Stanley who championed the Short Deck event, and Zoran Tosic who won the Jeff Fenech Celebrity Knockout Tournament.

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The poker room at The Cube. Credit: APTLive Facebook

After a roaring opening day, the second day was met with a government directive that compromised the event’s attendance. On a covid update to the players by APT Sydney, parts of the announcement stated,

“Campbelltown is considered as part of Metro Sydney so players are welcome if they have not visited an exposure site as listed on the NSW government website.

Under the NSW health directive, masks must be worn indoors at all times, unless seated and consuming food or drinks. APT has reconfigured the spaces of the venue to comply with the 4 square metre rule as imposed by the directive.

In case of cancellation of any multi day event, an ICM chop of the prize pool will finalize the event. Players who have purchased event tickets and do not wish to participate will receive a full refund.”

Despite the challenges, the event played on, drawing 104 entries to THE GOLIATH, 124 entries to the Pineapple event, 111 entries to the APT 6 Max Sydney Championships, and 134 entries to the Campbelltown Catholic Club Deepstack. On the third day, numbers were down, and by evening’s time, the axe landed. Sydney was going on lockdown which meant that APT Sydney 2021 had to be cancelled immediately. The last events to complete were THE GOLIATH and the 6 Max Championship. As of now, there are no new announcements from the APT.

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Tricia David

Tricia David has long experience as a recreational poker player and has been covering poker events since 2010 for numerous outfits in Asia. She spent one year working part time with Poker Portal Asia then became editor and lead writer for all event coverage of the Philippine Poker Tour (PPT). Under the PPT, she overlooked content for their website, and produced live updates on all their events. In addition, she served as the live and online events website content writer for the Asian Poker Tour. Currently, she does live events reporting in Asia for online news site Somuchpoker and is also one of their news contributors.

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