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Sunday, October 16, 2005

Casinos sleazy image

But while many card clubs are still viewed as male-dominated and intimidating gambling dens, virtual poker allows a wide range of players — including more and more women — to participate from the safety of home, avoiding having to handle some of the psychological elements of a real-life game.

A survey published last week by, the comparison organisation, claimed that 30 to 40 per cent of online gambers in Britain are female. This compares with just 5 per cent of players at casinos and betting shops.

John O’Reilly, managing director of Ladbrokes’ e-gaming and telephone betting arm, says: “Poker is seeing huge growth because it’s a game of skill that appeals to the twenty-somethings who like to follow the latest fashion. It’s become very trendy and fashionable.”

One of the biggest factors behind the growth of websites such as and, a rival set up in 1999 by two poker-mad Swedish businessmen, is the success of an appropriately named amateur player from Tennessee in his twenties called Chris Moneymaker.

Two years ago and just four years after learning how to play poker, Mr Moneymaker played in the World Series of Poker in Las Vegas after qualifying through a $40 online event. He went on to win the main tournament, pocketing $2.5 million.