Aussie dusts househusband for Kiwi title

Lee Nelson couldn't take him out. Neither could 2006 champ Alan Goodrum. And when it came down to the final two, Aussie Eric Assadourian sent the home crowd - and one working wife in particular - away disappointed, knocking off Kiwi Richard Grace for the New Zealand Poker Championship.

In a fitting bit of payback for the Kiwi Nelson taking the 2006 Aussie Millions title, Assadourian struck a small blow for his countrymen late Sunday night at the Christchurch Casino.

His spoils: $100,000, a seat in the World Series of Poker Main Event and the New Zealand Poker Championship trophy.

"I used all my experience to win the tournament," Assadourian said in a release after his win, "but I was made to really work for it."

"When I made it to the final table, I only had one thing on my mind and that was to win the tournament. People kept folding around me and I was able to build up a decent amount of chips."

Richard Grace, a househusband from Wellington, New Zealand, made it down to the final two, and picked up $60,000 for his efforts.

Christchurch Casino Poker Operations Manager Mick Ryan was pleased with the event, despite the lack of a hometown winner.

"It was a brilliant tournament and a fitting end to a perfect week of poker," Ryan said in a release.

"There were people trying to knock each other out right from the start, it was great to see a kiwi there at the end, but Eric 'The Voice' Assadourian has shown throughout the tournament he is a very shrewd player and knows when to take a risk."

Assadourian, for his part, played the grateful guest.

"The hospitality at Christchurch Casino has been exceptional," he said, "and without doubt I'll be back to defend my titles next year.

"As well, I'll be recommending that all my poker friends, and there are a lot, come to New Zealand next year."

Here are the rest of your top finishers at the 2007 New Zealand Poker Championship:

1stEric Assadourian $100,000
2nd Richard Grace $60,000
3rd Jan Suchanek $40,000
4th Constantine Harach $32,000
5th David Bradford $27,000
6th Nick Wright $21,000
7th Jovo Scekik $16,000
8th Mark Erickson $13,100

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