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POKER: The Game You Should Be Playing

PokerFrom Steve McQueen in the Cincinnati Kid to Matt Damon in Rounders, poker has always had an air of irresistible cool. But after years in the wilderness with a reputation as a game played purely by dodgy looking blokes with braces in smoky backrooms, something strange has happened. Poker’s gone mainstream. In fact, it’s not so much gone upmarket, as gone trendy.

 

It’s the game to play and be seen playing.

 

Kick-started by the high-stakes drama of Late Night Poker, Channel 4 and Sky’s unexpected post-pub TV hit, the poker boom has been further fuelled by the meteoric rise of online poker. This impact of this surge of new blood coming to poker via their modems was highlighted by the victory of the aptly named Chris Moneymaker, a US-based accountant and Internet poker player, at the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas. Having qualified online for $40, Moneymaker went home with $2.5m.

 

And like any new in-thing, poker has its fair share of celebrity followers. Matt Damon and Rounders co-star, the newly crowned Unique Casino GQ man of the year Ed Norton, are both avid players going so far as to play in the World Series. Other fans include comedians Stephen Fry and Ricky Gervias, Friends star Matthew Perry, writers Vicky Coren, Louise Wener and Martin Amis, not to mention those legends of the green baize Stephen Hendry, Steve Davis and Jimmy White.

 

So what exactly is the secret behind the rise and rise of …

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