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Poker News: November 22, 2006

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Copyright © 2006 Bluff Magazine

HEADLINE: U.S. Poker League Launch Pokerbowl

What do you get when you combine the NFL with the World Series of Poker? A team style variation of Texas Hold’em, called the PokerBowl. It’s a competition being organized by the U.S. Poker League in which 6-player teams from 25 cities will compete in Las Vegas for bragging rights and one million dollars. The competition begins on April 3rd, 2007 in Las Vegas.

Many of the competing cities such as Pittsburgh, San Jose and Atlanta have already begun holding open tryouts to find talented players for their teams. However, some have already signed professional poker players willing to represent their hometowns. David Williams will play for Texas, Phil Gordon for Las Vegas, Steve Dannenmann for Baltimore and T.J. Cloutier for Dallas.

Scott Fischman, an original member of 'the Crew', considered by many to be poker's first team, is putting together his own squad of Jewish players, including Mike 'the Mouth' Matusow and possibly Michael 'the Grinder' Mizrachi. Other notable names in the PokerBowl field include Phil Hellmuth Jr., Phil Laak ‘the Unabomber’, Jennifer Tilly, Antonio Esfandiari, James Woods, Elizabeth Shannon, Danny Masterson, Tex Barch and Jenna Fischer.

Although 'team poker' is now set to makes its national debut in the PokerBowl, it has taken years of dynamic progress to reach this level. This is because in the predominantly player-independent sport of poker, collusion, the act of players conspiring with a common strategy, is generally frowned upon. However, it’s this same ingredient that is getting players excited about the prospect of team poker, offering them a chance to employ new strategies.

“Team poker is a whole new ball game,” says Antonio Esfandiari, known in the poker world as ‘the Magician.’

The PokerBowl’s team style allows for players who have been knocked out to still have a stake in the game as long as their team is still alive. It also allows for easy and exciting viewing given the sports team nature where most major cities will have representation.

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