Shane had ace up his sleeve
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.
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.