Steven Holloway on Poker
nzherald.co.nz's Steven Holloway blogs about poker

Kiwi poker players hunt big payday

Sky City Festival of Poker 2015 Main Event winner, Te Rangi Matenga, was the fifth Kiwi in seven years to win the Main Event at the festival.
Sky City Festival of Poker 2015 Main Event winner, Te Rangi Matenga, was the fifth Kiwi in seven years to win the Main Event at the festival.

New Zealand's top card sharks will flock to Auckland's Sky City casino tonight with eyes on the huge prize pool generated by the countries biggest poker tournament.

The Festival of Poker Main Event costs $1,650 to enter and tournament organisers are expecting between 100 and 150 players to turn up from all across Australasia.

Sky City are estimating the prize pool will reach $300,000 for the event, with seating available for up to 360 players.

The FOP Main Event has produced four Kiwi winners over the past six years with Daniel Craker ($257,040), World Series of Poker bracelet winner Simon Watt ($209,000), Danny 'Brotha D' Leaoasavaii ($170,000) and Geoff Smith ($80,502) all taking home small fortunes.

Last year Kiwi poker players Te Rangi Matenga, Shane Tamihana and Darren Lukas each pocketed $55,490 after chopping the Main Event.

SKy City Auckland Table Games Manager Radha Vellanki said she is looking forward to hosting players from across Australasia at the highly-anticipated tournament.

"The Sky City Festival of Poker always delivers an exciting showcase of some of the best New Zealand poker being played and the atmosphere is electric at the main event," said Vellanki. "Five of the last seven main event winners have been Kiwi players, so we encourage great local players to register to compete."

Interested players are encouraged to register online or in the Auckland Poker Room to secure their place in the tournament.

Play begins at 5.30pm tonight on Day 1A.

Full tournament schedule, registration details and full terms and conditions for the 2016 SKYCITY Festival of Poker can be viewed here.

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