Local player takes out NZ Poker Open

On a weekend named after royalty, it was fitting that a hand with two queens in it was the winning deal at the New Zealand Poker Open at the SkyCity casino.

Jackson Zheng from Auckland took away the trophy and title, outlasting 124 poker playing hopefuls at the tables and collecting over $37,000 at Auckland's annual Queen's Birthday poker tournament.

The tournament began on Sunday at SkyCity with 125 players taking their seats with a starting stack of 15,000 in chips for their $1,100 buy-in.

Many of New Zealand's top poker players were there at the start on Sunday including the country's top poker player, Lee 'Final Table' Nelson, Brooke Howard-Smith, Richard Lancaster, Lance Climo, Angie Fitzgerald and Kevin Clark.

Players bet, raised and folded for ten rounds until the field was whittled down to just 29 players remaining to go through to the final day.

Three female players did well to make it through to day two in what is a largely male dominated sport.

Chip leader going into the final day was Guobing Yu from Auckland with 165,000 in chips. Howeveer, the chip stack leader changed throughout the day with the final table of nine players coming together at 8pm.

All players at the final table played cautiously and tight until Jackson Zheng and Kevin Clark from Auckland were the last two remaining.

Two pair, Queens and 7s, were enough to give Zheng the win in the final hand of the tournament.

Poker is considered an individual activity, but the tournament also included an innovation - a teams event. SkyCity poker ambassador Brooke Howard-Smith and comedian Mike King joined forced to take out that title.


1. Jackson Zheng - Auckland - $37,110.00
2. Kevin Clark - Auckland - $24,250.00
3. Ray McCarthy - Auckland - $14,630.00
4. Robert Wang - Auckland - $11,750.00
5. Guobing Yu - Auckland - $9,500.00
6. Renae Baker - Rotorua - $6,000.00
7. Lance Climo - Hamilton - $5,000.00
8. Jordon Bryant - Wellington - $4,000.00
9. David Lim - Auckland - $3,630.00
10. James Smith - Auckland - $3,250.00

The next major poker event in town is the 2010 SkyCity Festival of Poker held in September.

- NZ Herald

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