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Poker News: April 19, 2006

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Copyright © 2006 USA Today

HEADLINE:
$15M pot brings out poker faces

Body:
Nearly 600 poker players from more than 40 countries will play for a prize pool of about $15 million starting today in the World Poker Tour's World Championship at the Bellagio Hotel and Casino in Las Vegas.

The winner of the No-Limit Texas Hold'em tournament could take home $3.5 million.

Among the players expected are Phil "The Unabomber" Laak, Antonio "The Magician" Esfandiari, Men "The Master" Nguyen, Doyle Brunson, Jennifer Harman, Phil Ivey and Academy Award nominee Jennifer Tilly, who won the 2005 World Series of Poker's Ladies Event.

The championship, which runs through April 24 and has a $25,500 buy-in per player, also features Gavin Smith and Michael "The Grinder" Mizrachi, who are 1-2 in the race for the WPT's Player of the Year title.

Smith, who won the Mirage Poker Showdown, has a 400-point lead on Mizrachi, winner of the Borgata Poker Classic in Atlantic City.

"I would say this is clearly the toughest tournament we play all year," Smith says. "When you have enough chips — this tournament gives you $50,000 to start with — you can outlast the bad beats and the cream rises to the top.

"Winning the tournament is very important to me. Besides the $3.5 million, it means that I would win Player of the Year, and that would prove to people that Gavin Smith is for real."

The WPT's three previous Player of the Year winners — Gus Hansen, Erick Lindgren and Daniel Negreanu — are also in the tournament. The final table and tournament highlights will be shown June 28 on the Travel Channel.

Full Tilt Poker Bonus Code: TPFoffer


Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on April 18, 2006:
http://www.usatoday.com/sports/
2006-04-17-poker-championships_x.htm

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