Raising the hospitality stakes

By: Heath "TassieDevil" Chick

Travelling around the Australian poker circuit provides the opportunity to meet and talk to a lot of different poker people from all around the country. You hear different things about what’s happening in their neck of the woods and stories both on and off the poker felt. In recent times, there was one common poker venue which was mentioned to me by at least half a dozen different poker players. All I kept hearing was, “Have you heard about Poker SA?”

After the first few mentions, I thought I better take a look at their website. After the next few mentions, I thought it was time to reach out to the Poker SA team.

I kept hearing about how they not only ran great tournaments, but they provided players with incredible hospitality. The sort of hospitality never seen before for poker players in this country.

I was very keen to learn more about Poker SA, so we were thrilled to form a partnership that would see Poker Asia Pacific provide live reporting at their recent Diamond Event.

Not long after we had taken our seats at the blogging desk, the owner, Ray Aoukar, provided us with a cold meat platter to enjoy at our desk. There was an incredible sampling of salami, ham, prosciutto and cheese. In seven-plus years of doing this job, I’d never been offered such an impressive platter...and play hadn’t even started yet!

Two hours into the event and we had the first break in play where players (and media) were ushered into another nearby room. We’d heard that Poker SA look after their players, and we’ve seen a few buffets in our time, but the truth is that Poker SA and The Maylands Hotel didn’t hold back in spoiling us with an amazing spread. There were spring rolls, pasties, chicken kebabs, beef kebabs, scallops, oysters, prawn cutlets, prawn skewers, fresh prawns and even what appeared to be lobster tails! It was exceptional and all of the highest quality.

If we had any room left in our stomachs then the dinner break offered even more culinary delights as we had the choice from the full ala carte menu at The Maylands Hotel. We’re not just talking a parma and chips here. These meals were fantastic and I’m amazed how the kitchen staff was able to get 60 orders out at the same time and still produce food that was hot and tasty.

In between everyone enjoyed free soft drinks, tea, coffee and sparkling water, and players received three drink cards each day to use for alcoholic beverages. And the staff were always friendly and helpful. When did you ever see such hospitality at a casino?

While we were there, we caught up with Poker SA Director Allan Rye who gave us a further insight into Poker SA, how they got started and their commitment to providing exceptional service to their players. Check it out:



Allan was a superb host to us all weekend, and we thank Allan, Ray, Chris, Rich and all of the Poker SA and The Maylands Hotel staff for their efforts in hosting such a great event.

It's tremendous to see a company that puts the players first, and I sincerely hope their venture is a great success.

The next major event is the $1,100 Platinum Event on May 18th while the next two-day $2,400 Diamond Event will run over the weekend of September 6th and 7th. I strongly urge all South Australian and interstate players to book ahead and plan a trip to Adelaide to enjoy the Poker SA venue and everything it has to offer. I promise you won’t regret it!

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