Poker celebrities come to WSOP event

By: Kristen Shanahan Email
By: Kristen Shanahan Email

DURANT, OK -- With just a few days left players are going 'all-in' at the the World Series of Poker event in Durant. Friday players put down their hands to shake some hands and meet some of the biggest names in the game.

Scottie Nguyen and Chad Brown are two of the poker celebrities not only playing in the tournament, but playing to their fans.

"People they welcome you, and the way they look at you is nothing but love and welcome, you know that's motivates me to looking forward to come back," Nguyen said.

"iIm enjoying my time here and the fans are great," Chad Brown said.

The World Series of Poker event was the brainchild of Choctaw Casino Resort House Pro T.J. Cloutier. He says there is no better place to hold a tournament this big and it is no small task to put on; however, after a successful first year Cloutier says it is not just the players who come out on top, the community is the real winner.

"All the restaurants and stuff and hotels and stuff like that they're all doing much better business. I think last year when we left the bell men were thanking us because they had so much business. They made so much more money than usual," Cloutier said.

Janet Reed with the Durant Area Chamber of Commerce says the city hit the jackpot with the tournament. It is not only the tourist dollars that benefit the area economy.

"Because of the crowd I'm sure there's a lot of overtime that those people put in, which means additional money in their pockets, and there again it's addition revenue to our retail to our restaurants," Reed said.

Up to 15,000 visitors are expected at this year's event with dreams of a winning hand. Nguyen's advice, pay close attention to your opponents, keep your poker face and dream big.

"I bring my dream to life, you know baby. I set my goal. Everybody can set their goal, but you know baby you set your goal to break it," Nguyen said.

Players can sign up until Sunday morning. The world series of poker finals wrap up on Monday after the winner is named.

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