Shane had ace up his sleeve

Central Leader - - News - By Scott Mor­gan

Ace poker player Shane Lauge­sen might be rel­a­tively new to the game, but he proved at the North Is­land Poker Champs that he’s got what it takes to keep up with the pack.

The One Tree Hill res­i­dent was the high­est placed Kiwi, tak­ing out fourth spot and $11,140 in his first ma­jor tour­na­ment against a field of much more ex­pe­ri­enced in­ter­na­tional com­peti­tors last month.

Lauge­sen, who is also a New Zealand ta­ble ten­nis rep, says it hard to be­lieve he did so well at the SkyC­ity-hosted tour­na­ment, with most of his pre­vi­ous ex­pe­ri­ence com­ing from play­ing on­line poker.

Dur­ing his week­end at the casino, Lauge­sen no­ticed plenty of dif­fer­ences be­tween poker in the vir­tual world and the real thing.

“It’s so much slower than on­line. You play up to 20 hands an hour in live poker, but up to 1000 on­line.”

The fi­nan­cial re­wards also dif­fer greatly, with hun­dreds of dol­lars at stake in on­line poker com­pared with thou­sands at ac­tual tour­na­ments.

To­tal prize money at the North Is­land Poker champs amounted to $100,000.

While poker and ta­ble ten­nis are com­pletely dif­fer­ent ac­tiv­i­ties, the 33-yearold says some of the lessons learned from rep­re­sent­ing New Zealand helped him out at the tour­na­ment when the pres­sure was on.

“You’re sched­uled to be there at a cer­tain time and you’ve got to con­cen­trate and re­mained fo­cused through­out.”

And the ta­ble ten­nis con­nec­tion didn’t end there.

“One of my ta­ble ten­nis friends, Matt Liu, was at the ta­ble with me and fin­ished in fifth place.

“It was quite funny com­pet­ing with him.”

Lauge­sen ad­mits he had some luck at cer­tain times, with good hands sav­ing him from be­ing knocked out of the tour­na­ment.

But he says winning is as much about strat­egy as luck.

“Keep­ing your con­cen­tra­tion while your op­po­nents lose theirs is what poker is all about.”

A back in­jury means Lauge­sen will have more time for poker than ta­ble ten­nis dur­ing the next few months, in­clud­ing SkyC­ity’s next tour­na­ment, the New Zealand Poker Open held over Queen’s Birth­day week­end.

Photo: JA­SON OX­EN­HAM

Poker ace: Shane Lauge­sen came away with more than $11,000 in win­nings af­ter tak­ing fourth spot in the North Is­land Poker Champs last month.

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