Hundreds Compete in Jacksonville for Huge Poker Prizes | News

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Hundreds Compete in Jacksonville for Huge Poker Prizes

ORANGE PARK, Fla. -- Nearly 400 professional and amateur poker players signed up for the World Poker Tour event at the Jacksonville Poker Room in Orange Park.

For $3,500, participants entered the nationally televised and internationally esteemed contest. More than $1 million in total cash money was up for grabs, with the winner taking home $325,000.

"Even sixth place wins $46,000," said tour president Adam Pliska.

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Pliska said this is the first event of its kind held in Jacksonville at the Poker Room, mainly because of a change in state poker laws a year ago.

"A poker event in Florida wouldn't have even been on the radar for professional players a year ago," said Randall Kasper. 

He manages professional players from around the world. He's so confident in the future of poker in North Florida that he moved from his headquarters in Las Vegas to take up permanent residence in Jacksonville.

"The immediate gut reaction of a lot of players was to go to South Florida, but that's changing because of all the opportunity here," he said.

The Poker Room plans on opening another branch in the Regency area in the next year.

No local players were left at the final table of six on Tuesday evening, so no one from Jacksonville will bring home the big bucks.

Officials said the event could last well into the evening hours.


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