King of the Kiwis

Published on Sep 9th, 2012

Recently, Paul kingpaulie Hockin (pictured) booked a first place finish and $28,000 in the Main Event of the New Zealand Poker Champs series. While it wasn't his largest payday ever, Hockin's top-tier live result earned praises in a thread in the Live Poker forum here on PocketFives. Words like "boss" and "good bloke" were dropped to describe the Waikato resident and longtime PocketFives member.

If you're from Hockin's homeland, discuss his big win by visiting PocketFives' all-new New Zealand poker community.

PocketFives: Thanks for joining us. Walk us through how the NZPC played out for you.

Paul Hockin: The New Zealand Poker Champs series started off quite poorly for me in a number of ways. First off all, I booked my flight for September 19 instead of August 19 and only found out about my mistake once I got to the airport. I managed to fly down on August 21, having already missed one event.

I played the $550 Omaha, the $550 Repechage Champs, the $660 Canterbury Champs, and the $880 South Island Champs, going deep-ish in all of them, but without having a single cash. Going into the Main Event, I needed a decent finish or the series was a disaster.

The Main Event had 92 starters and by the end of Day 1, just 29 remained. I had an average stack and the top 12 were getting paid. On Day 2, I never really got a big stack, but found ways to chip up and went into the final table with an average stack. I had no notable hands until we got four-handed. I survived an all-in for my tournament life with A-5, shoving and getting called by K-K on the flop.

When we got three-handed, I made a min-raise with K-Q and the maniac player to my left just threw in 14 big blinds, which was half of my stack. My first thought was just to fold and wait for a better spot to get chips in against this guy. He was the definition of a loose cannon, while the other player three-handed (well-known New Zealand comedian and TV personality Mike King) was playing a solid game.

But, after talking to this player for a while and telling him what I had, I got a read that he really didn't want me to get the rest of my chips in. I was 99% sure he didn't have a good hand, but was still worried he might have a small pair like 3-3 or an A-5 kind of hand that would still be a flip. After a long time, I put it in and he had to call because he was pot-committed with Q-10 suited. My K-Q suited held up and he only had a few chips left.

Heads-up with Mike King only last about three hands.

I thought the tournament was run extremely well by Christchurch Casino, which put on awesome lunches for us every day and provided some wicked trophies for each event. I think Christchurch is the best place to play poker in New Zealand.

PocketFives: Even though it wasn't for a lot of money, it still has to feel good taking down a major live tournament. Talk about that feeling and whether your confidence in live poker games is now higher.

Paul Hockin: The win has definitely increased my confidence. I managed to make a couple of big calls due to getting live tells, whereas I normally would have just folded online. I don't play much live and it was really nice to get a win and a cool trophy. I really enjoyed the vibe down there. There were a lot of big personalities in the tournaments, which made them fun.

PocketFives: What did you take away from the Main Event that will help you down the road in other live tournaments?

Paul Hockin: The types of players are so different and you have to adjust accordingly. My first table ranged from some old guy who was folding everything that wasn't A-A, K-K, A-K, or Q-Q to Jackson Zheng, a really good live player who is loose-aggressive and has had some good live scores.

There were some spots where you would raise with A-J on the button and have to fold to a small stack's shove from the blinds for like 13 big blinds because they had been playing so tight. Online, this would be an instant snap-call, high-five the screen.

PocketFives: You're at #144 worldwide in the PocketFives Poker Rankings right now. Do you have any aspirations about cracking the top 100 again?

Paul Hockin: I haven't been playing much online poker lately, just two days a week, But, I will give the WCOOP a pretty good nudge and see what happens.

PocketFives: What PokerStars WCOOP tournaments are you most excited for?

Paul Hockin: I really enjoy the Shootouts and Heads-Up tournaments. There are no daily, weekly, or even monthly tournaments on any site that are Heads-Ups or Shootouts with a prize pool over $25,000 that I know of. The only time you really get to play them is during big tournament series. I just enjoy the way the game changes quickly in Shootouts and the epic one-on-one battles of Heads-Up games.


  1. GJ , gl at the tables

  2. Nice work buddy!

  3. Shipping it all day every day!

  4. You got an article and everything......sick though being online champ and live champ pretty sick....was a freaking awesome nice trip......heaps of fun.

  5. Dude's a boss! Won 200k online and told his old man to retire, Legend!

  6. Ship paulie, well played : )

  7. cheers ya mates

  8. On ya mate good score!

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