While the Queenstown Snowfest Main Event is undoubtedly the focus of attention for poker in New Zealand at the moment, there was actually another poker game in town this afternoon.
Located some 1,600 metres above Queenstown, the mountain ranges of Coronet Peak are usually a skier's delight, but today the skis were replaced with poker chips as Coronet Peak played host to a PokerStars promotional sit 'n go, held outside on the snow of the ski fields. With the local media in attendance including television, radio and magazine representatives, the game of poker was showcased in the best possible way as the Queenstown Snowfest event was promoted to the mainstream public.
By all accounts, a great time was had by all with PokerStars giving away free prizes, with the sit 'n go table filled out with a few Queenstown celebrities, as well as 2011 APPT Queenstown runner up Matty Yates, PokerStars.tv hostess Nicki Pickering, Team PokerStars Online member Roy "GodLikeRoy" Bhasin and Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang.
Set on the stunning slopes of Coronet Peak overlooking Queenstown, the idea was that poker has evolved into more than just a game played inside dingy casino card rooms. And after four years of making inroads into the local market here in New Zealand, the Queenstown Snowfest is now finally being recognised for the event itself rather than for the people who may be participating.
For the record, an under-dressed Bryan Huang was literally cold-decked, while Nicki Pickering and Matty Yates were also early casualties. It was left to Roy Bhasin to represent the red spade of PokerStars as he reached heads-up play, but with pride, bragging rights and a ski pass from Ski NZ on the line, it was former mayor of Queenstown, David Bradford, who emerged victorious in the sit 'n go.
Well done to the PokerStars team and all involved with the day, as PokerStars continues to break new ground with the promotion of the game of poker.