You gotta’ know when to cut deals

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The Arrowtown runner-up in a lucrative poker tournament got the same prize money as the winner after striking a mid-match deal. 

Arrowtown player Matty Yates and eventual champion Marcel Schreiner agreed to evenly split the first and second prize cash before starting their final of the New Zealand Poker Tour event at SkyCity Casino Queenstown last weekend. 

Both players headed out to the balcony for a break before the final three-hour session and were seen shaking hands. First prize paid $94,300 and second was $60,000, leaving the pair $77,150 each. 

Yates, who owns 3fold Print and is a co-owner of Tardis nightclub, declined to comment on the deal, other than to say it obviously didn’t affect either player’s competitive mindset given the final stretch lasted so long. 

“We both wanted that title badly.” 

A source says such deals are common during the business end of poker tournaments. 

“The game isn’t against the casino – it’s against the other players.” 

Yates’ wife Hannah will be pleased – he plans to gift her all the winnings. 

“I’m buying my right to play poker whenever I want,” Yates says. 

“Although she’ll probably be demanding I play more now.”