You don’t tend to hear much about New Zealanders in poker, but the country definitely hasn’t been immune to the poker frenzy that’s been gripping the globe for the past few years. Probably our most notable success came when Lee “Final Table” Nelson finally broke his nickname-earning streak of near-misses at major tournaments and took down the Aussie Millions Main Event. This week it’s another kiwi making headlines in Australia, as hip hop icon Danny “Brotha D” Leaoasavaii shipped the ANZPT Darwin title.
The Australia New Zealand Poker Tour is a PokerStars sponsored series of poker tournaments, which takes place in a number of different locations throughout Australia and New Zealand. At each stop there are a number of tournaments, culminating in a Main Event, and these are televised so that fans can watch at a later date from the comfort of their own home. With the ANZPT Darwin stop coming to a close, ANZPT Season 2 is officially over, but Season 3 will be starting as soon as February 2011.
Most New Zealanders will be familiar with Brotha D, but for his presence in the hip hop scene with Dawn Raid Entertainment rather than any association with poker. That almost seems set to change after the last few months as, while Brotha D has given no indication that he’ll be slowing down making music, he’s building up a solid reputation for himself as a poker player. Just weeks ago he won the APPT Auckland Main Event for $170,000NZD (about $130,000 USD) and now he’s repeated his performance at the ANZPT Darwin Main Event in Australia, becoming the first ever player to hold both APPT and ANZPT titles.
After many days of intense play, Brotha D found himself heads-up against Australian Luke Edwards, with the Aussie enjoying a chip advantage. Not to be deterred, Brotha D went to work and the two battled it out, as the chips flew across the table in a seemingly never-ending back-and-forth manner. Eventually Brotha D managed to pull ahead significantly, and as Edwards shoved all-in preflop with King Queen he was quickly called by Brotha D’s Ace Seven. An ace on the flop and no help from the turn or river sealed the deal, sending Edwards to the rail and leaving the kiwi Brotha D to stand victorious.
As well as making him the first person to hold both an ANZPT and APPT title, this impressive win in Darwin actually makes Brotha D the first non-Australian to ever win an Australia New Zealand Poker Tour Event, and so he can be assured a very warm homecoming indeed when he flies back into the country.