The top poker players in New Zealand will this weekend converge on Christchurch casino, hoping to take home a share of the likely $900,000 prize pool generated from one of the country's biggest poker events.
The 2019 New Zealand Poker Champs start on Saturday with a $440 deepstack turbo tournament and culminates next weekend with a $1950 buy-in main event tournament which is expected to produce a first prize of around $100,000.
In between there are 12 other events, which range in buy-in from $250 to $3125 and include No Limit Holdem, Pot Limit Omaha, Short Deck No Limit Hold'em, Short Deck Pot Limit Omaha a women's event and a bounty event.
The New Zealand Poker Champs Main Event has produced eight Kiwi winners over the past seven years after Kuru Whiston and Renae Baker split the purse last year taking home $70,000 each. Ben Rendall won $75,000 in 2018, Jack Efariamo won $50,000 in 2017 and Jay Gilbert and Jason Brown split the purse in 2015, taking home $40,500 each. Australian Shane Hicks won $45,500 in 2014, Kiwi Steve Smith took $47,000 in 2013 and Paul Hockin won $35,000 in 2012.
The tournament series has been running since 1999 and is the longest established poker championship series in Australasia.
Last year, the Christchurch Poker Championships main event attracted 202 players and a prizepool of $391,000.
"We are very much looking forward to welcoming our poker guests and to crowning the 20th NZPC Main Event champion," said Christchurch Casino poker manager Warren Wyllie. "We expect this to be our busiest NZPC ever."
2019 Sydney Champs main event winner Hamish Crawshaw will be attending the series, along with Jack Efariamo, Kiwi comedian Mike King and local legend Scott Hamilton-Hill who finished third in the 2018 WSOP seniors event for $440,710.