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Tuesday, October 11, 2005

Poker hands on

"I think for our show, people come for the celebrities and stay for the poker," Newman said.

The producers came up with the idea while actually participating in private games where they found themselves sitting next to celebrities, he said.

"One of the things that is extremely entertaining at our show is that you" re seeing a side of these celebrities that you don't get to see anywhere else," Newman said. "I think if you want to get to know someone, sit across a poker table and you" ll see what they're really like."

The popularity in poker isn't confined to state lines. Nevada casinos have seen an increase in players, said Keith Copher, chief of enforcement for the Nevada Gaming Control Board. Copher said although poker revenue is combined with other games because it's not that substantial, there are other indicators of its popularity.

"Several casinos have increased the size and remodeled their poker rooms," Copher said. "It has been very beneficial."

Philbrook said Internet gaming has also contributed to poker's popularity.

"I think the Internet is a way where people can check out poker," Philbrook said. "It gives people an opportunity to try it before they come down to San Manuel."

Newman said the Internet has capitalized on the trend as well as added to the popularity of the game.

"I personally prefer playing real poker with real people, but it certainly has helped keep the expansion of poker alive," he said.