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Online Poker News Archives - January 6, 2006

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Copyright 2006 The Australian

January 6, 2006

All hands on deck for poker contest

Author: Brendan Cormick

ONCE seen as a game played in smoky rooms by seedy characters, poker is now one of the most watched and played sports in the world.

And the stars of the gambling phenomenon, such as commentator Billy "The Croc" Argyros, are in Melbourne for the Australian Poker Championship today at Crown casino.

No Limit Texas Hold'em is the game that has made card playing socially acceptable in the 21st century and about 1000 people, from the poker elite to amateurs, will do battle in 14 events over the next fortnight.

"In the last six years, television and online gaming have been the ingredients of a perfect storm for poker," author and tournament regular Lee "Final Table" Nelson said yesterday.

"It is now fashionable, acceptable and mainstream to play poker. It is played by doctors, lawyers and other professional people.

"It requires a combination of short-term luck and long-term skill," said Nelson, who co-wrote the bestselling poker reference book Kill Phil - The Fast Track to Success in No Limit Hold'em Poker Tournaments.

Argyros said poker tournaments were the only form of sport that allowed the person in the street to go head-to-head with the champions.

"You can't play golf with Tiger Woods, soccer with David Beckham or tennis against Roger Federer but you can play against the famous at poker," Argyros said.

"There will be 50 tables operating and some people will have won their seat playing $50 to $200 satellites for a chance at the $US1 million ($1.3million). And they can win. Chris Moneymaker won a $US40 satellite three years ago for his seat at the World Series of Poker and came away with $US2.5 million."

Australia's World Series of Poker champion Joseph Hachem will be out to call the bluff of the star-studded overseas line-up when the main event - the Crown Aussie Millions - commences next week.

One of the top 10 tournaments in the world, the Aussie Millions will have an overall prize pool in the order of $5 million, with $US1 million for the winner.

Hachem, from Melbourne, came from having the shortest chip stack on the final table to win the sought-after bracelet and $10 million first prize last year in Las Vegas. He will try to defend his home tournament with the help of local and international stars.

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