ANZPT Auckland: It's Good to be Back

Auckland is the largest city in New Zealand, is home to the Warriors Rugby team, the New Zealand Breakers NBL team and is no stranger to hosting some of the biggest sporting, arts and cultural events in the world. Wellington may be the capital city of New Zealand, but Auckland is the heart and soul of this beautiful country. As a travelling poker blogger, sometimes an upcoming tournament can make you cringe. The fact of the matter is that not all destinations in the world rouse excitement and not all cities are created equal. I do not tell a lie when I say I was truly looking forward to once again descending upon the shores of New Zealand for the second stop on Season 5 of the Australia New Zealand Poker Tour.

The last time players filled the tables of the SKYCITY Auckland Casino for a PokerStars event was back in 2010. It was Season 4 of the Asia Pacific Poker Tour and an exciting event would see New Zealand hero Danny "Brotha D" Leaoasavaii defeat Australia's Tom Grigg heads-up to claim the title and NZ $170,000 to go along with it. Leaoasavaii, a local hip-hop star, was clearly a fan favourite at the time and only solidified his poker legacy in this region when he won the ANZPT Darwin event just a month later.


The King of Auckland Poker, Danny "Brotha D" Leaoasavaii

Leaoasavii hasn't been seen around the PokerStars tours of late, but fortunately we have been made aware that the"Godfather of Kiwi hip-hop" will once again grace the poker tables of Auckland. Also expected at the felt is the 2009 APPT Auckland champion, and New Zealand's only WSOP gold bracelet winner, Simon Watt. In addition to these Kiwi poker celebrities, we are sure that plenty of familiar faces and ANZPT regulars will also be in attendance to take part in one of the three Day 1 flights on offer in the ANZPT Auckland Main Event.

One player who we are certain to see at the tables this week is the infamous "KingPaulie". A New Zealand local, "KingPaulie" goes by the name Paul Hockin and recently found success on the ANZPT when he claimed the victory in Melbourne just a few weeks ago. For that effort, Hockin took home a massive AUD$101,275 and we are sure he will be eager to back that result up with similar success here on home felt.


The KingPaulie of Auckland Poker, Paul Hockin

For their NZ$2,200 buy-in, players will be greeted at the tables with a generous 20,000-chip stack. The levels will last one hour and the blinds kick off at 50-100. The cards will be in the air in just a short while as the atmosphere in the SKYCITY Auckland poker room is starting to heat up!

Make sure to stay tuned to the PokerStars Blog throughout the night as we bring you plenty of behind-the-scenes action from the first Day 1 flight of the ANZPT Auckland Main Event, while our friends at PokerNews will be on the floor providing live updates of all the action.

Joshua Bell
@PokerStars in Auckland