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Wednesday, October 05, 2005

Casino tricks

LAS VEGAS (AP) - No woman has won the prestigious no-limit Texas Hold 'em main event at the World Series of Poker. In fact, in the tournament's 35-year history, only one woman has made it to the final table.

But this year, several women have established themselves as top contenders ready to conquer the world of green felt and show this no longer is just a man's game.

"I think that this is the first year that it is actually possible," said Shirley Rosario, who runs the poker-babes.com Web site. "If a woman wins this year, they'll finally have to stand up and recognize that we can compete with them on their level."

Topping the list is Jennifer Harman of Las Vegas, one of the most feared players at any high-stakes table. She finished second in a World Series of Poker circuit championship event this year.

She is among the women who should be taken seriously when the cards are shuffled at the World Series of Poker's most well-known event beginning July 7 at the Rio hotel-casino. An estimated 6,600 players will compete for about $62 million, with a first prize that could reach an eye-popping $10 million.

"She definitely has a shot," said Daniel Negreanu, perhaps the world's best poker player. "She's been tearing it up. Jennifer is already among the greatest players in the world - men or women. She's a killer. She's a pit bull in a Chihuahua's body."

Joining Harman is Annie Duke, who beat out her older brother and eight other poker legends last year to win $2 million at the World Series of Poker's Tournament of Champions.

And watch out for Cyndy Violette and Kathy Liebert, an expert at throwing off opposing players with her quizzical expressions and the first woman to take home $1 million in a poker tournament.