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Poker News: June 15, 2008

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Copyright © Baltimore Sun

HEADLINE: Yale grad, philanthropist, pros win at poker World Series

The World Series of Poker going on in Las Vegas right now always produces its share of intriguing human interest stories.

In the last few days, winners of tournaments included a few famous TV poker personalities and a couple of less familiar players but with fascinating back stories.

The famous names to capture bracelets were Daniel Negreanu and Mike “The Mouth” Matusow. Negreanu won Event No. 20 (there are 55 tournaments leading up to the famous Main Event beginning in early July), the $2,000 Limit Hold ‘em event that paid him about $205,000. It was Negreanu's fourth WSOP bracelet. The colorful Matusow won an event that had a small field (85 players) but was packed with top pros. The Mouth won the $5,000 No-limit 2-7 draw lowball with rebuys (Event No. 18). He won about $538,000.

But some of the lesser-known winners are equally newsworthy. Eric Brooks, a businessman from suburban Philadelphia, won the $10,000 Seven-card Stud Championship for nearly $416,000 and is donating it all to an educational charity, one that helps students (K-12) develop decision-making skills. And Vanessa Selbst (right) won the $1,500 Pot-limit Omaha tournament worth nearly $228,000. Selbst is a Yale graduate who plans to return to New Haven to study law and pursue human rights issues.

Getting into the Main Event itself is a pricey endeavor; it costs $10,000 to enter but some Internet sites, such as AOL, have offered free opportunities. A strictly poker Web Site, PurePlay, which is based in San Francisco and whose officials say it is compliant with federal laws also is offering WSOP seats. It does offer two levels of membership, though. One is completely free (basic) and the other has a $20 a month subscription fee attached to it. No endorsement is implied here.

Both categories of players have opportunities to win seats in the WSOP Main Event, albeit the odds are long. Free players have to win a multi-table qualifier (1,000 players) to get to the semifinals, finish in the top five of the semis (250 players) and then win the finals (500) outright. Subscribers get to enter much smaller opening round qualifiers and then advance to the same-size semis and finals. The finals are being held June 22.

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Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on June 15, 2007

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