A heavy cold made worse by heavy nights out in Queenstown isn’t ideal preparation for a three-day poker marathon.
But flu and hangovers didn’t stop Australian Dave Allan winning the main event at the New Zealand Poker Tour Snowfest Queenstown.
Allan won after crushing a difficult nine-strong final table which included several high profile professionals.
Allan says: “I’m feeling a bit under the weather I guess. I’ve been really sick.
“We’ve been out drinking on the town every night, which hasn’t helped. I’m relieved the tournament is over.”
The Sydney-sider – whose online screen name is dave798111 – recorded online winnings in excess of $200,000 in the first two months of this year. That was playing on tour sponsors PokerStars.net’s website.
It perhaps explains his downbeat but good natured reaction to winning $110,600.
“It doesn’t really mean that much,” Allan humbly says afterwards – to some polite barracking from his mates nearby.
“Obviously, you know, it’s good to do something in a live tournament.
“However I’ve always said in the past, because I’ve never cashed, that there’s a lot of variance in live tournaments so I can’t really turn around now and say there was a large degree of skill involved in me winning.
“But it is exciting.”
Despite his modesty, Allan had showed considerable skill to overcome tough final table opponents, including Singapore number one Bryan Huang and US professional Jordan Westmorland.
Westmorland finished third, taken out by Australian structural engineer Ken Demlakain.
Allan managed to fight back despite having hardly any chips left during the final.
Allan says: “Ken was playing very aggressively and pretty much winning every hand for most of the final table.
“Then I started to make some hands and sort of started to wear him down a bit.”
More than 149 players entered the main event at SkyCity Queenstown Casino, which cost $3000 to enter and is now in its fourth year.
Fergus Spary was the highest placed Queenstowner, finishing 25th, while Chiu Yeung Lee in 10th spot was the highest New Zealander.
NZPT commissioner Danny McDonagh says he was pleased with the growth in player numbers in Queenstown this year and believes positive word of mouth from competitors should make the tournament even bigger in 2013.
SkyCity’s general manager Michelle Baillie says the event has had a positive impact.
“As well as the players, friends and family being in Queenstown for a week supporting local businesses, there has been a group of international poker bloggers including video bloggers who have broadcast some fantastic footage of Queenstown out across the world.”