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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

One big game

He occasionally watches poker shows like "World Series of Poker' and "World Poker Tour' to study what moves the players make.

"It" s not just the chips and the cards, but how you read somebody," Rubio said.

Gary Thompson, spokesman for Harrah's Entertainment, which owns "World Series of Poker on ESPN, agreed.

"It" s a very simple game to understand and a very complex game to play," Thompson said. "It" s easy to read the cards and know hands are out there, but it's very hard to read the player."

Thompson said it's a very complicated and psychological game because of this human element.

"You see what a player" s character is like when they are in a situation where there is a big amount of money or prestige at risk," he said.

Thompson said one of the things that adds to the popularity of poker is that it is a game everybody can play because it is based on skill as well as luck.

"I can" t beat Tiger Woods on a golf course, but I can sit at a table and play the same hand that a guy just played and win $5 million," Thompson said.

Lipscomb said poker is a psychological game based on outmaneuvering or outwitting other players.

"I think people love it and keep coming back not just for the high stakes and the money — it" s for the rush of putting all of your senses on the line in a contest against other people," Lipscomb said.

Lipscomb said the poker industry was actually in a decline before "World Poker Tour' was created.

"It" s just increasing the number of people who are finding the great American card game and finding a way to incorporate it into their homes," Lipscomb said.