Six months ago, Shurane Vijayaram was a landscaper in Melbourne who had never 'made the money' in a poker tournament.

Today, the 33-year-old Aussie is a millionaire who travels the world playing poker, and he's just touched down in New Zealand with eyes on the Auckland Poker Championships Main Event at Sky City casino.

Vijayaram has one of the greatest rags-to-riches stories in the poker world. In January, he paid $130 to enter a poker tournament at Melbourne's Crown Casino, which he won, earning himself a $10,600 ticket into the Aussie Millions main event.

Then, over eight days, the amateur outlasted a field of 724 entrants, which included virtually every single top poker pro from around the globe, to take home the $1.6 million dollar first place prize.


Now, he's looking forward to playing the second biggest buy-in tournament of his life, at the $2,200 main event in Auckland's Sky City casino.

"I've only played three or four tournaments since winning the Aussie millions and one of those was the $120 bounty hunter tourney at Sky City yesterday," said Vijayaram.

"Honestly, life hasnt changed that much for me. The only real difference is that I drink nicer wine.

"Since I won I've spent a lot of time reading poker books and studying up on the game and I am probably semi-pro now with a view to become a full time pro. I'm loving just being able to focus on poker."

Vijayaram arrived in New Zealand on Sunday and plans on playing a few more side events at the Auckland Poker Championships, before the main event starts on Friday.

"I feel really blessed to have won the Aussie millions and be in the position I'm in. It was my dream just to travel and play poker and I've achieved that now and it's so awesome to be able to do something I love.

"I've been to New Zealand before and I love the place. I'm looking forward to mixing it up with New Zealand's best players."

The 2017 Auckland Poker Championships culminates in the $2200 buy-in main event which starts on Friday and is expected to draw a prizepool of $300,000. The tournament will also offer five action-packed side events including a $440 Deep Stack Tournament on Monday 5 June and a $120 Ladies' Day Tournament on Tuesday 30 May.


Click here for the full tournament schedule.