Playing live poker is a completely different experience than playing online. Although, we love the game here, we wouldn't say no to an action-packed, lively game down at our local casino or cardroom.
There's nothing like being in a big tournament with hundreds of runners and hearing the tournament director announce, “Shuffle up and deal!” Or, the sound of chips being riffled as players tank, trying to work out if their opponents are bluffing, or not. The banter, the noise, the general hum of a live room is something every player should experience – at least once.
So, in no particular order, here are the top 3 most popular (and we think, best) rooms in New Zealand.
SKYCITY POKER - Auckland, New Zealand
90 Federal Street
Auckland, New Zealand
Tel: +64 9 363 6000
SKYCITY CASINO has one of the best live poker rooms in New Zealand. It offers a wide range of tourneys in Sit & Go, MTT and Freeroll formats, as well as a hefty siding of cash games. Tournament buy-ins start as low as NZD $15 and go all the way up to NZD $500.
The name of the game for most tourneys and cash games is No Limit Hold'em. But don't let that put you off. With opening hours, Monday to Friday from 5pm till late and 12pm till late on the weekends, there's plenty of action to go round.
CHRISTCHURCH CASINO - Christchurch, New Zealand
30 Victoria Street
Christchurch, New Zealand
Tel: +64 3 365 9999
Christchurch Casino opened in 1994 as New Zealand's inaugural casino. Since then it has flourished, as has its game selection. As resident home to the annual Wellington Poker Championship, this casino's room has been the breeding ground for a wealth of Kiwi playing talent.
Along with the many tournaments on offer, Christchurch poker room has a wide variety of cash games. Stakes start at $1/$2 in No Limit Hold'em and Pot Limit Omaha formats, and top out at $5/$5.
DUNEDIN CASINO - Dunedin, New Zealand
118 High Street
Dunedin, New Zealand
Tel: +64 800 477 4545
Dunedin might not be one of the biggest casinos in New Zealand, but its schedule packs a mighty punch. The games on offer are mainly Texas Hold'em and Omaha, but there's a little Caribbean Stud for those interested in taking a walk on the dark side.
Wednesdays and Thursdays are tournament days, with guaranteed prize pools. Wednesday night's event has a NZD$30 buy-in with a $2,000 guarantee. Thursday night has a NZD $10 buy-in with a $600 guarantee. Become a regular at this joint and you might find yourself battling for a share of an estimated NZD $5,000 in their Xmas Classic Freeroll.