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Monday, 20 November, 2000, 01:37 GMT
Briton flush with 1m poker prize
Tournament gaming table
More than 150 players vied for the 1m top prize
A 42-year-old British TV director has won the 1m top prize in a poker tournament billed as the world's largest.

John Duthie, from London, scooped the jackpot with a victory over Teddy "Sugar Teddy" Tuil from Tel Aviv, Israel.

The pair went head-to-head at the climax of the Poker Million tournament on the Isle of Man after beating off four other finalists.

Winner John Duthie
John Duthie: Friends would call him "meek", he says
Mr Duthie, who says friends would describe him as "meek", declared: "The feeling is euphoric."

"It is the most tremendous feeling in the world, I feel like I have gone through so much through the last four or five days. I am completely exhausted.

"All I can say is I hope my wife is watching. She absolutely hates poker, she said to me `why are you going over there, you won't win'.

"When I phone her to tell her I have won 1m she'll probably just say `can you pick up the kids from school?'"

Mr Duthie, who has played poker for nine years, eventually triumphed with a full house - two aces and three eights.

Teddy
Runner-up Teddy "Sugar Teddy" Tuil is an Israeli retailer
The week-long championship at the Hilton Hotel casino in Douglas attracted some of the biggest names in the gambling world.

But most of the top players - including US legend Amarillo Slim - were knocked out before the closing stages.

The 156 original entrants from 17 countries were whittled down to six finalists.

They were kept in a closed room after the final began at 1900GMT on Sunday and were forbidden to leave or speak to anyone outside until each one of them lost his place.

Each man had played for up to 12 hours a day since the tournament began with 20-minute breaks every two hours.

The type of poker played was Texas Hold'em, a "community card" game in which some cards are dealt face-up in the middle of the table and shared by all the players.

Each player has two cards of their own to combine with the five community cards to make the best five-card hand.

Strict UK gaming laws

The final night's play was televised to an estimated 300 million viewers worldwide.

The 1m first prize was put up by Ladbrokes Casinos.

Mr Tuil won a 100,000 runner up prize and even the 20th placed player went home with 2,000.

The venue was chosen because of the UK's gaming laws, which prevent the organiser of a poker game publicising where it is to be held. Such rules do not apply on the Isle of Man.

The losing finalists were:

  • Barney Boatman, a 34-year-old writer, from Hendon, north London. Describes himself as "unpredictable and brave".

  • Gary Lent, 36, from Chino Hills, California, is vice-president of an engineering firm. A fan of blues music, he says the only thing he dislikes about poker is "rude players".

  • Teddy Tuil, 41, a retailer and internet entrepreneur from Tel Aviv, Israel. Nicknamed Sugar Teddy, he had planned to take a three-month holiday if he had won.

  • Ian "Reindeer" Dobson, a 33-year-old full-time poker professional, from Lapworth, Warwickshire. A fan of the internet, he also enjoys backgammon.

  • Tony "The Lizard" Bloom, a 30-year-old trading director with bookmakers Victor Chandler, from London. A solid player, whose game plan is "to be focused and patient".
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