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Poker News: August 9th, 2009

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HEADLINE: Asian Poker Tour Invites U.S. Swimmer Michael Phelps to 2009 Event

For the second straight year, record-breaking U.S. Olympic swimmer Michael Phelps has been invited to play in the Asian Poker Tour’s (APT) Macau event. The festivities run from August 12th to 23rd at the Galaxy StarWorld Hotel and Casino.

Last year, a six-day event played out in the Asian metropolis. This time around, the poker festivities will occur over the course of 12 days. After recording eight gold medals during the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing, which included seven world records and one Olympic record, Phelps was invited to play in the APT event in nearby Macau. The worldwide race to lure Phelps to a major poker event began after he told his hometown newspaper, the Baltimore Sun, that he wanted to compete in the annual World Series of Poker (WSOP). Phelps was escorted to poker events by the game’s legends like Doyle Brunson and news of the swimmer signing with various online poker sites abounded. However, entry into a major event did not occur.

WSOP Europe sponsors Betfair invited Phelps to play in the 2008 tournament series. In addition, Phelps was set to become involved with the poker stage show The Real Deal at the Venetian. An open letter sent by APT officials to Phelps this week read, “We heard positive noises, but there was no sign of the human dolphin when they called ‘shuffle up and deal.’ We would like to extend this invite once again to you to come, all expenses paid, and take part in this showpiece poker event. The Main Event is in Macau between the 20th and 23rd of August, but the 12 day festival of poker starts on August 12th, so let us know!”

Phelps’ appearance in a tabloid newspaper holding a bong led to a three-month suspension from competitive swimming. He also lost several endorsement deals as a result, but has recently appeared in Subway commercials opposite Jared Fogle. The bong in question allegedly belonged to 2008 PokerStars World Championship of Online Poker (WCOOP) Main Event Champion Carter “ckingusc” King, a South Carolina native.

The open letter alluded to Phelps’ recent public relations difficulties: “Some media reports even suggest that you may have got in with the wrong crowd in the last 12 months – we promise to keep you out of trouble. We’ll give you access to pools of sharks, fish, and those that you swim in! If you don’t want to bring your goggles, fair enough; bring a pair of sunglasses and your poker face! While you are at it, you could ask a certain poker playing President by the name of Barack Hussein Obama II if he fancies joining you!”

Last year’s APT Macau Main Event was won by Yevgeniy “atimos” Timoshenko, who also took down the World Poker Tour (WPT) Championship in April, the culmination of the WPT’s seventh season. Timoshenko defeated Steve Yea heads-up in Macau, with 40 players finishing in the money. Day 1A of this year’s APT Macau Main Event kicks off on August 20th, with two starting days set to play out. Players will be given 10,000 starting chips, with blinds increasing every 60 minutes and starting at 25-50. Antes kick in at Level 4, when blinds are 100-200.

Among those slated to battle it out in this year’s APT Macau Main Event are 10-time WSOP bracelet winner Johnny Chan, J.C. Tran, Nam Le, Steve Sung, Quinn Do, 2008 WSOP November Nine member David “Chino” Rheem, and Kwang Soo Lee. Each will participate in filming of the new movie “Poker King,” which Chan stated may trump “Rounders.”

Article downloaded from the World Wide Web on August 9th, 2009

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