The top card sharks in New Zealand will flock to Auckland over the next ten days hoping to turn a little into a lot at Sky City's Festival of Poker (FOP) series.

The FOP offers five side events ranging from $50 to $1100 buy-in and culminates in a $1650 buy-in main event that is expected to generate a prize pool of around $200,000.

The ten-day tournament series begins on Friday 10 November, and ends with the main event held from 15-19 November.

Sky City Senior Gaming Operations Manager Martin Coughlan said he is looking forward to hosting New Zealand's best players at the highly-anticipated tournament.

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"The Festival is aimed at bringing together local New Zealand players and giving them an opportunity to compete against each other at every level," said Coughlan. "So we have tournaments starting from a $50 flip-out, up to the $1650 main-event.

"The opening event is a multi-day $1100 buy-in deepstack tournament and we're hoping for around 100 entrants, and we're aiming for a prizepool of around $200,000 for the main event. So the total prizepool of the series could we exceed $350,000."

The FOP Main Event has produced six Kiwi winners over the past eight 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. In 2014 Aussie Minh Nguyen outlasted a field of 224 players to pocket $111,600, while Te Rangi Matenga took $55,490 in 2016 and Shane Tamihana won last year for $51,890.

Sky City are intoducing a new initiative this year with a lower buy-in for early main-event entrants.

Players who register for Day 1a of the Main Event (15 November) will buy-in to the tournament at half the price ($825) and start with a half stack (as opposed to Days 1b and 1c where players will have to buy-in at the full fee of $1,650 for a full stack). The blind levels will remain the same as Day 1b and 1c.

"Because the main event is a repecharge event, we know players like to have a chance to re enter if they get knocked out on an early day," said Coughlan. "But midweek it can be difficult for players to get here so we're trying to incentivise it and do something a bit innovative, which hasn't been done in New Zealand before."

A variety of cash games will run during the Festival with earlier Poker Room opening times for players to enjoy more action on Nov 11, 12, 18 and 19.

2017 Festival of Poker side events:
$1,100 Opening Deep Stack Tournament
Satellites 4, 5, 9 November and Main Event 10-12 November
A warm up to the Main Event with satellites

$330 Rotation tournament
12 November
This tournament will change each round between Texas Hold'Em and Omaha Poker.

$120 Bounty Hunter tournament
14 November
Take out players and pick up their bounties along with a cash prize for those that place.

$50 Flip Out tournament
18 November
An all-in fiesta for the first round of each table with winners progressing to play each other in the second round.

$440 Deuces Up Mega Stack
19 November
The last side event, a conclusion to the Festival of Poker for those who missed out on the final table of the Main Event.


For more information about all tournaments click here.