Issue 194
May 31 - June 6, 2004
Volume 4
page 1

This Issue

Gaming News
Poker's on the rise like a stack of chips

Seven Players Eyeing $5 Million and World Championship

2nd Hancock casino envisioned

U.S. appetite for gambling grew in '03

Celine Returns to the Stage After Injury


Show Time
Celine Dion, performs in "A New Day" at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace.

Schlesinger's "Blackjack Attack' Revised, Updated, Better Than Ever By Howard Schwartz

Check out our entertainment highlights & upcoming tournaments

See the lucky winners


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Poker's on the rise like a stack of chips
As reported by The Associated Press

LAS VEGAS -- The best poker player in the world quickly does the math and doesn't like his odds at this week's World Series of Poker.

Thanks to a poker craze created by TV, the Internet and last year's remarkable storybook victory by a young unknown, a staggering 2,576 people are competing this time for a record $5 million first prize.

"When I started playing in 1987, I had a vision that if you became one of the top players, you could expect to win the championship," said Howard Lederer, 40, a man with a lead-piercing stare and a numbers-crunching mind that have led others to regard him as the best in the game. "Even if I'm the favorite, I'm still 200-to-1."

The days of several hundred pros and a smattering of amateurs competing in the grandest of poker events are over. Everybody from "Spider-Man" actor Tobey Maguire to a former Oklahoma beauty queen was betting on being crowned the next poker king on Friday in the 35th annual World Series of Poker at Binion's Horseshoe Hotel & Casino.

Last year, 839 men and women played in the No-Limit Texas Hold'Em event, in which players are dealt two cards each and make the best poker hand they can using those plus five additional common cards that are turned face up on the table. An aptly named accountant from Spring Hill, Tenn., Chris Moneymaker, won the top prize of $2.5 million.

Moneymaker was considered "Dead Money" in poker circles, someone destined to lose early. Instead, his Cinderella story is credited with transforming the game.

Moneymaker advanced to the finals after paying $40 in a qualifying Internet event. For those who do not get lucky in the satellite tournaments on the Internet or at Binion's leading up to the World Series, the buy-in fee is $10,000.

Since his astonishing victory, the 28-year-old Moneymaker has become a poker celebrity. His face appears in poker magazines and people ask for autographs.

Lederer also points to the Internet in creating the groundswell of interest in poker.

Poker player Andy Bloch, a 34-year-old Massachusetts Institute of Technology and Harvard Law School graduate, believes there is another ingredient: "Two letters: TV. It's a great game for television."

ESPN covered the finals in 2003 and has been replaying Moneymaker's performance again and again. This year the network plans to air 22 hours of coverage.

Other networks also have capitalized on the craze. The Travel Channel offers "World Poker Tour," and Bravo has "Celebrity Poker Showdown."

The World Series of Poker has come a long way since cowboy gambler Benny Binion began a poker tournament to crown the world's best player and winner Johnny Moss took home $30,000 in 1971.

Today the World Series comprises more than 30 events that involve different variations of poker, such as pot-limit Omaha and seven-card stud.

Those high-stakes games wrapped up last week before the much-anticipated No-Limit Texas Hold'Em finals began Saturday.

In no-limit betting, a player can risk all his chips with every turn of a card, guaranteeing high-stakes action and big-time losers. And another person's misery makes for great reality TV.

As for the defending champ, Moneymaker lasted only three hours before losing his stack of chips to an opponent who landed one of only two cards that could have beat him.

Seven Players Eyeing $5 Million and World Championship

LAS VEGAS --, the world's largest poker tournament destination, announced today that 7 of its online qualifiers for the 2004 World Series of Poker (WSOP) are still vying for the $5 million top prize, gold bracelet and the title of "World Champion of Poker."

PokerStars qualified 316 players for the $10,000 buy-in event at the WSOP through online "satellite tournaments." These tournaments allow a player to risk a small amount of money for a chance to win a seat in a larger tournament like the $10,000 buy-in event at the WSOP. Two of the remaining PokerStars players won their entries in $33 tournaments on the poker site.

The 2004 World Series of Poker began on Saturday with 2,576 players and was narrowed to 32 by the end of the day on Wednesday. The total prize pool for the event is over $24 million with $5 million going to first place. Thursday will take the field from 32 to 9 (the final table) and Friday (May 28) a new champion will emerge after accumulating all of the nearly $26 million tournament chips.

PokerStars Poker Room Manager Lee Jones is understandably proud of the tournament success of PokerStars' players: "Our players continue to prove that online poker cannot be ignored. PokerStars was the launching point for Chris Moneymaker, the 2003 WSOP Champion, and now we have multiple players with a real chance to fill that role again in 2004."

Dan Goldman, VP of Marketing for PokerStars, is crossing his fingers: "We're still the only online poker site to have produced a World Champion of Poker and if one of our remaining 7 players comes through on Friday, we can lay claim to that title for at least one more year."

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