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

Kiwi poker player wins $51,890

Shane Tamihana won the Festival of Poker Main Event for $51,890.
Shane Tamihana won the Festival of Poker Main Event for $51,890.

Kiwi poker player Shane Tamihana has beaten New Zealand's best card sharks for the second successive year, winning the 2016 Festival of Poker Main Event at Auckland's Sky City casino and taking home $51,890.

Last year, Tamihana finished first equal in the Festival of Poker Main Event but opted to split the prizepool evenly three handed, taking home $55,490 and going 'All in' blind for the title honours and losing to Te Rangi Matenga.

But this year Tamihana went one better, holding a commanding chip lead from the start of Day two, running over the final table with an impressive combination of aggression, luck and skill and cruising to a one-sided victory.

He even got one back over Matenga who finished the tournament in third place, taking home $21,930.

Following 18 hours of play over two days, Tamihana found himself heads up against one of New Zealand's most successful tournament players, Jackson Zheng.

And on their final hand, Tamihana needed a little luck to get the job done. Zheng was all in with 94 on a 10 9 2 board against Tamihana's 25, but when a 2 hit the turn and a 10 on the river, the title was Tamihana's.

The duo outlasted a field of 108 players that all bought into the tournament for $1650, generating a prize pool of $178,000.

Tamihana, a Hawke's Bay local who often travels to Auckland on weekends to play in the countries highest limit Omaha cash games, said his tactic was to pick on the big stacks, and make people feel uncomfortable.

"I think I'll claim it as back to back titles, cause we didn't play it our last year," Tamihana said.

"I got a bit lucky on the turn against Jackson but I was just trying to put him under pressure. And winning tournaments is 90% about luck."

What next for Tamihana?

"I'm heading down to Christchurch next week for their series, but right now I'm going to have a few beers to celebrate and might even get back into the cash games. Some of the pots are bigger than tonight's first place prize."

Tomorrow is the $550 NLH Bounty event at 12.15pm and the $275 PLO re-buy tournament. Register online to lock in your spot.

Sky CIty's next major tournament for 2017 will be the Waitangi Deep Stack $1,100 Main Event held from 3-5 February 2017.

FInal table payouts:
1st $51,890 - Shane Tamihana
2nd $33,480 - Jackson Zheng
3rd $21,930 - Te Rangi Matenga
4th $16,740 - Jordan Ropotini
5th $12,890 - Jamie Sadlier
6th $8,370 - Hongwei Luo
7th $6,700 - Matthew Beck
8th $5,860 - Michael Poona
9th $5,020 - Sam Ruha
10th $4,520 - Michael Fu

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