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Thursday, August 24, 2006

Purdue student wins poker tourney Technorati Profile

As the poker tournament finally came to a close, David Wood knew he had it won.

The dealer tossed out two cards, a king and a six. Wood was confident; he knew the outcome before the flop was down.

"King-six is my lucky hand," said Wood, a junior in the School of Management. "I always hit two pairs; I really do."

The flop came. Another king-six, two pair. The tournament was over and Wood won the Win Your Tuition tournament.

"I'm really glad I won, because I was supposed to start with more chips and they took that away from me. I was like 'forget you guys' and told them I was going to win it," he said.

Wood said the tournament officials said each player was supposed to start with the same amount of chips they had once the tournament finals came around.

"I had so many chips that they didn't want to televise the tournament because they thought it was going to be a whole lopsided thing," said Wood. "They told me 'well, if you're that good then win it' and I was like 'well, I will.' And I did."

The tournament took place on Aug. 9 in New York City at the Crobar, a New York City nightclub. Benjamin James, head of the college development project for, said the tournament is a good way to mix school and poker.

"Tuition is a prize that every college student needs help with," said James.

Wood said he was told the winner was only going to win a semester's tuition and was surprised when the officials informed him he had won a year's tuition instead.

Going into the tournament, Wood was confident. He said he felt prepared and ready because he had practiced with his friends. Once the tournament began, however, it was a different story.

"No one would go out. I made so many good calls, I just couldn't knock anyone out," said Wood. "The only time I would ever win (on a call of) all-in was when I was all in."

The audience didn't help either. Each player had fans who would cheer once the player made a good call or won a hand. Wood didn't.

"I was talking trash the entire tournament," he said. "I was giving the audience hell because they wouldn't cheer for me."

Most of the tournament, Wood was in the lead. But there was one point, when he had the least amount of chips, where he thought he might actually lose the tournament.

"I had ace-six, and he had ace-jack, I saw the entire tournament flash before my eyes," said Wood. "It was an ace on the flop, nothing on the turn, then a six on the river. I went nuts; I went so insane."

Wood found out about the tournament completely by accident. One day he was searching Internet poker sites for free tournaments and he came across the Win Your Tuition tournament. Once he realized the final six of the tournament would be televised, he was in. Even though he won this semester's tournament, he said he plans to enter again next time. He's even promised anyone looking to join that he could get him or her a "fat bonus" just for e-mailing him.

When asked whether he considers himself somewhat of a celebrity he said, "If you call a guy that you walk into a party and everyone starts screaming "Woody, what up,' then yeah."

Wood added that he's never looked at a poker book in his life. He said he's learned by just playing and that's the best way to learn.

"I'm not trying to listen to what other people have to say. Like, I don't care if they're pro; I don't care if they're ranked No. 1 in the world. Sure, I'll talk to them about it, but I'm not gonna read a book. It's just not worth it," he said.

Wood went into the tournament knowing he was going to win. Wood had been saying for weeks before the final tournament that he was going to win it all. He said no one believed him.

"I called my shot on TV; I called my shot to all the VPs at Absolute Poker that I was going to win. I was right."

World Series of Poker prize money frozen after suit is filed Technorati Profile

(AP) - Jamie Gold's win at the World Series of Poker might be only half as sweet.

A Nevada judge has frozen half of the $12 million US top prize after a Gold acquaintance sued, saying the two men agreed to split the winnings. Bruce Crispin Leyser, a Los Angeles-based TV development executive, alleges in a suit filed Monday in Clark County District Court that Gold, a former Hollywood talent agent, agreed in July to split his winnings in exchange for Leyser helping him find celebrities to play in the main event while wearing the "Bodog" label of an offshore Internet gambling site.

Bodog paid the $10,000 entry fee for Gold, who beat 8,772 players to win the world's largest poker tournament.

Leyser alleges he fulfilled his end of the deal - getting Scooby Doo star Matthew Lillard and Punk'd comedian Dax Shepard to wear the brand - but claimed Gold has refused to hand over $6 million.

Gold said in a statement issued through his lawyers that he was "disappointed" that "a person he has only known since July of this year has elected to file litigation rather than continue the parties' discussions in an effort to find a resolution to this matter."

After winning the tournament, Gold said he would share the money with friends and supporters.

Clark County District Judge Kathy Hardcastle issued a temporary restraining order Monday preventing the Rio hotel-casino, site of the poker tourney, from disbursing $6 million for 15 days. A hearing was set for Sept. 1 to determine whether the freeze would continue.

Leyser said he has evidence to support his claim - an Aug. 10 voicemail left by Gold just hours before play began at the final table.

"I promise you - you can keep this recording on my word - there's no possible way you're not going to get your half ... after taxes," it says, according to the lawsuit. "You've trusted me the whole way, you can trust me a little bit more. I promise you there's no way anybody will go anywhere with your money. It's your money."

Leyser's lawyer in Las Vegas, Richard Schonfeld, called the case "exceptionally strong."

"That's how we were able to obtain a temporary restraining order freezing the money," he said.

Harrah's Entertainment Inc., which owns the Rio, declined comment.

"Harrah's does not comment on pending legal matters, particularly those in which it is not directly involved," the company said in a statement.

Bodog said it included Gold on its celebrity roster of players because of his help putting the team together, his relationship with mentor Johnny Chan and his tournament experience, but added, "We are unaware of any side deal he may have made."