Late last week I received an email from the staff at PokerStars that contained some bad news. They had underestimated the number of hotel rooms required for staff on our trip to Auckland, and I was the unlucky one to miss out. Ok, no dramas, we’ll just try and book an extra room.
Only problem was that with just a few days notice before we were scheduled to fly out we discovered that Auckland is a pretty popular place. Or at least this week anyway!
Our hosts at the SKYCITY Auckland had nothing available, and neither did their partners at The Grand Hotel over the road. And when I got onto wotif.com I was surprised to discover nearly every hotel in the city was sold out!
What was going on? Was I about to be homeless in Auckland?
Apparently there’s a little band called The Rolling Stones playing this weekend in Auckland and apparently they are a big deal.
I also learned that China’s President Xi Jinping and his 160-strong entourage are stopping by New Zealand for a big of a chinwag on their way home from the G20 summit. Rather ironically, the President is going to oversee the unveiling of plans for a $200 million luxury hotel on Auckland’s waterfront. Sounds great President Xi but that doesn’t put a roof over my head this week!
I was about to be billeted out to the couches of the New Zealand poker community before we had one last thing to try.
The last resort was if one of the PokerStars online qualifiers would be willing to sell back the room they had won in their package. Would someone be so generous? Surely poker players looking for an edge would see it as a +EV opportunity?
After a nervous wait, fortunately a qualifier came forward with an offer and the deal was struck. After one restless night in the adequately-petite Econolodge, I checked in yesterday to the luxurious SKYCITY Auckland Hotel for the rest of my stay. I blasted out some Rolling Stones and watched the Chinese news channel to celebrate.
The moral of the story is don’t take Auckland for granted. At times it may give a sleepy appearance but this town can be a bustling international metropolis!
Heath “TassieDevil” Chick is a Freelance Contributor for the PokerStars Blog.