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Best of John G. Brokopp

Gaming Guru

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Shuffle Up and Tee Off

25 June 2008

The World Series of Golf, a unique athletic competition that combines the wagering format of Texas Hold'em Poker with the skill of golf, is gathering momentum on the world sports stage.

Following a successful launch in 2007, the 2nd annual World Series of Golf, pitting outstanding amateur players from around the country, was held last month at the Paiute Golf Resort in Las Vegas.

The winner was Andrew "AJ" Johnson, a 36-year-old car salesman who hails from Davison, Michigan. He outlasted 80 competitors, including poker pros Allen Cunningham and Erick Lindgren, to take home top prize of $250,000.

You'll be able to catch the thrilling final round of the competition later this month on TV. It was taped for broadcast June 28 – 29 by CBS, which has an exclusive three-agreement to televise the event.

There are no cards or chips; just clubs, golf balls, and of course, money. Instead of keeping score, players make poker style bets on their shots. The player who wins the hole takes down the pot.

Participants buy into the tournament with $10,000. Wagers are made on every shot. Players ante up before each hole, then, depending on the outcome of their tee shots, they raise, call, check or fold their "hands" on all subsequent strokes.

Bets are made contingent upon each player's position relative to the positions of his opponents. Players are eliminated when they go broke or when they're unable to come up with the ante for the next hole. The ante doubles every three holes.

Next year the stakes will be even higher. Organizers of the event are planning to host a tournament for amateurs that will cost $200,000 to enter and offer a $1.5 million first prize to the winner.

Terry Leiweke, creator and president of the World Series of Golf, is confident there'll be 25 players willing to ante up the $200,000 entry fee. An additional five players will drawn at random from the roster of 125 expected to play in the $10,000 buy-in tournament, which means they'll get a "free ride" for a shot at $1.5 million.

Of the 30 participants, the final six will win more money than they put up. The remaining 24 will gain automatic entry into another tournament planned for later in the year without having to ante up additional funds.

"Our format was two years in the making," Leiweke said. "Our business model is land-based events, but we'll also have an online component that we are in the process of developing. Once people are able to go online and learn to play our format, then we may experience the same success as the World Series of Poker did."

This year's competition included a title sponsor, FullTiltPoker.net, which had 10 of its players on the course. MGM/Mirage is a partner.

It's no secret that friendly wagers are very frequently a component of amateur golf play, which is one reason the format of the World Series of Golf is so intriguing.

"One of the funniest comments I heard last year was: 'When I don't have a bet when I go out and play golf, it's a little insignificant'," Leiweke said. "Gamblers golf and golfers gamble."

Visit www.worldseriesofgolf.com for more information.

CASINO NEWS: Two slot players collected major jackpots at the Grand Victoria Casino in Elgin within six days of one another when a Lombard native hit a Triple Strike progressive for $122,218 on May 24, less than a week after a player from Crystal Lake won $120,000 on a Triple Red 7's progressive.

The hours of operation at Alex, the elegant and atmospheric steak house at Empress Casino Hotel in Joliet, have been extended to five days a week. The restaurant is now open Wednesday and Thursday 5 pm to 10 pm; Friday and Saturday 5 pm to 11 pm; and Sunday 3 pm to 9 pm. In addition, Alex express menu items are also available.

John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp

John G. Brokopp
John G. Brokopp's gaming column appears in Chicago Sun Times (Chicago, Illinois), The Times (Northwest Indiana), The Quad City Times (Davenport, Iowa), The Courier News (Elgin, Illinois), The Gazette (Southwest Suburban Chicago) and Senior Wire (Denver, CO). He's also a regular contributor to The Colorado Gambler, Midwest Gaming & Travel, Casino Player and Strictly Slots. John possesses 28 years of experience as a professional handicapper, publicist, freelance writer, and casino gaming correspondent. He is also the author of two very popular books, The Insider’s Guide to Internet Gambling and Thrifty Gambling.

Books by John G. Brokopp:

> More Books By John G. Brokopp