Ben Affleck Wins Commerce Casino's California State Poker Championship No-Limit Texas Hold 'Em Event; Pockets $356,400

$10,000 Buy-in Event Attracted 90 Players Including Tobey Maguire



Affleck Becomes First Celebrity to Win a Major Poker Open; Secures Seat at

World Poker Tour Championship



Jun 21, 2004, 01:00 ET from Commerce Casino

    COMMERCE, Calif., June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Proving that his poker skills
 are just as accomplished as his acting talents, Ben Affleck became the first
 film star to win a major poker open last night when he captured Commerce
 Casino's California State Poker Championship's $10,000-buy in event that
 netted him a cool $356,400 for first place, and a seat at the World Poker Tour
 Championship next April.
     The actor outlasted a field of 90 players, including Tobey Maguire, who
 went out the first day of the three-day tournament, but stuck around to see
 the finish.  Coming in second was poker pro Stan Goldstein and third was
 Castle Rock Entertainment president and co-founder Chuck Pacheco.  Affleck
 used a couple of pairs -- two jacks in the case of Goldstein and two fives
 with Pacheco to knock them out of the tournament.
     Casino executives said that Affleck played "a very strong game" and that
 he was relaxed and enjoyed himself immensely.  In a brief speech after the
 tournament while being awarded his trophy, Affleck congratulated Goldstein on
 being a worthy opponent.  With self-deprecating humor, the actor noted he was
 pleased with his own play, serving notice to the skeptics that he wasn't "a
 complete donkey" at poker.  Among the players Affleck outlasted at the final
 table was former World Champion John Esposito.
     Affleck, who has played in a number of the World Poker Tour events, is an
 avid student of the game who paid tribute to such WPT pro players as Annie
 Duke, Antonio Esfandiari and Allen Cunningham, as well as Gabe Kaplan, the
 former actor-turned poker pro, for tutoring him.  Affleck obviously learned
 his lessons well as he fought his way to victory after starting the final
 table with the second to lowest chip count among the nine players.
     Just like in the movies, Commerce Casino's California State Championship
 final table provided plenty of drama, with the lead changing many times, even
 in the final few hands before Affleck outpointed his final two adversaries.
 As play came down to the last hands, Affleck joked to the poker pro Goldstein,
 "I like it that you are showing respect.  I was afraid you thought you could
 just take it from me."
     Goldstein assured him, "You've got respect."  Shortly thereafter, Affleck
 finished off Goldstein.
     The victory will earn Affleck a coveted $25,000-seat in the World Poker
 Tour Championship next April at the Bellagio, which will be filmed for airing
 on The Travel Channel.  While the $356,400 prize money pales in comparison to
 what Affleck would even get for a cameo in a film, as hard as he has worked to
 earn it, the trophy may well take its place on the mantle with Affleck's
 Academy Award for writing the screenplay Good Will Hunting.
     "This is not likely the last time you'll see Ben Affleck at one of our
 final tables," said Nancy Friedman, Commerce Casino Marketing Manager.  "He
 has become a respected member of the poker elite and continues to work to
 improve his game.  We expect he'll be a big factor in the World Poker Tour
 Invitational and the LA Poker Classic early next year as well.  At this rate,
 Ben might even being toying with turning acting into his avocation and poker
 into his vocation."
 
     Commerce Casino, in Commerce, CA, is the largest poker casino in the
 world.  There are more than 200 poker tables featuring just about every form
 of poker: Texas Hold 'Em, 7-Card Stud, Omaha, Lowball, Pot Limit, Mexican
 Poker, Pineapple, Draw, Low-Ball and many others.  Also offered are Pan and
 California games.  Additionally, Commerce Casino will run satellite
 tournaments for the World Poker Tour events throughout the year, which anyone
 can enter.
 
     Commerce Casino is located at 6131 East Telegraph Rd., Commerce, CA 90040,
 just off the Santa Ana (5) Freeway at the Washington Blvd. exit.  The phone is
 (323) 721-2100.  For more information, go to www.commercecasino.com.
 
 Final Standings and Payouts
 1. Ben Affleck...............$356,400
    Los Angeles, CA
 2. Stan Goldstein............$204,930
    Los Angeles, CA
 3. Chuck Pacheco.............$106,920
    Los Angeles, CA
 4. Jimmy Tran.................$62,370
    Las Vegas, NV
 5. John Esposito..............$49,005
    Las Vegas, NV
 6. Ty Nguyen..................$40,095
    Winnipeg, Canada
 7. Raymond Davis..............$31,185
    Bell Gardens, CA
 8. Pogos Simityan.............$22,275
    Glendale, CA
 9. Amir Vahedi................$17,820
    Sherman Oaks, CA
 
     Interviews available with Casino Executives, but NOT Ben Affleck.  Photo
 available upon request.
 
 

SOURCE Commerce Casino
    COMMERCE, Calif., June 21 /PRNewswire/ -- Proving that his poker skills
 are just as accomplished as his acting talents, Ben Affleck became the first
 film star to win a major poker open last night when he captured Commerce
 Casino's California State Poker Championship's $10,000-buy in event that
 netted him a cool $356,400 for first place, and a seat at the World Poker Tour
 Championship next April.
     The actor outlasted a field of 90 players, including Tobey Maguire, who
 went out the first day of the three-day tournament, but stuck around to see
 the finish.  Coming in second was poker pro Stan Goldstein and third was
 Castle Rock Entertainment president and co-founder Chuck Pacheco.  Affleck
 used a couple of pairs -- two jacks in the case of Goldstein and two fives
 with Pacheco to knock them out of the tournament.
     Casino executives said that Affleck played "a very strong game" and that
 he was relaxed and enjoyed himself immensely.  In a brief speech after the
 tournament while being awarded his trophy, Affleck congratulated Goldstein on
 being a worthy opponent.  With self-deprecating humor, the actor noted he was
 pleased with his own play, serving notice to the skeptics that he wasn't "a
 complete donkey" at poker.  Among the players Affleck outlasted at the final
 table was former World Champion John Esposito.
     Affleck, who has played in a number of the World Poker Tour events, is an
 avid student of the game who paid tribute to such WPT pro players as Annie
 Duke, Antonio Esfandiari and Allen Cunningham, as well as Gabe Kaplan, the
 former actor-turned poker pro, for tutoring him.  Affleck obviously learned
 his lessons well as he fought his way to victory after starting the final
 table with the second to lowest chip count among the nine players.
     Just like in the movies, Commerce Casino's California State Championship
 final table provided plenty of drama, with the lead changing many times, even
 in the final few hands before Affleck outpointed his final two adversaries.
 As play came down to the last hands, Affleck joked to the poker pro Goldstein,
 "I like it that you are showing respect.  I was afraid you thought you could
 just take it from me."
     Goldstein assured him, "You've got respect."  Shortly thereafter, Affleck
 finished off Goldstein.
     The victory will earn Affleck a coveted $25,000-seat in the World Poker
 Tour Championship next April at the Bellagio, which will be filmed for airing
 on The Travel Channel.  While the $356,400 prize money pales in comparison to
 what Affleck would even get for a cameo in a film, as hard as he has worked to
 earn it, the trophy may well take its place on the mantle with Affleck's
 Academy Award for writing the screenplay Good Will Hunting.
     "This is not likely the last time you'll see Ben Affleck at one of our
 final tables," said Nancy Friedman, Commerce Casino Marketing Manager.  "He
 has become a respected member of the poker elite and continues to work to
 improve his game.  We expect he'll be a big factor in the World Poker Tour
 Invitational and the LA Poker Classic early next year as well.  At this rate,
 Ben might even being toying with turning acting into his avocation and poker
 into his vocation."
 
     Commerce Casino, in Commerce, CA, is the largest poker casino in the
 world.  There are more than 200 poker tables featuring just about every form
 of poker: Texas Hold 'Em, 7-Card Stud, Omaha, Lowball, Pot Limit, Mexican
 Poker, Pineapple, Draw, Low-Ball and many others.  Also offered are Pan and
 California games.  Additionally, Commerce Casino will run satellite
 tournaments for the World Poker Tour events throughout the year, which anyone
 can enter.
 
     Commerce Casino is located at 6131 East Telegraph Rd., Commerce, CA 90040,
 just off the Santa Ana (5) Freeway at the Washington Blvd. exit.  The phone is
 (323) 721-2100.  For more information, go to www.commercecasino.com.
 
 Final Standings and Payouts
 1. Ben Affleck...............$356,400
    Los Angeles, CA
 2. Stan Goldstein............$204,930
    Los Angeles, CA
 3. Chuck Pacheco.............$106,920
    Los Angeles, CA
 4. Jimmy Tran.................$62,370
    Las Vegas, NV
 5. John Esposito..............$49,005
    Las Vegas, NV
 6. Ty Nguyen..................$40,095
    Winnipeg, Canada
 7. Raymond Davis..............$31,185
    Bell Gardens, CA
 8. Pogos Simityan.............$22,275
    Glendale, CA
 9. Amir Vahedi................$17,820
    Sherman Oaks, CA
 
     Interviews available with Casino Executives, but NOT Ben Affleck.  Photo
 available upon request.
 
 SOURCE  Commerce Casino