SOURCE: Borgata Hotel Casino and Spa

January 30, 2006 13:29 ET

Round One at Borgata Winter Poker Open Is a Knockout

ATLANTIC CITY, NJ -- (MARKET WIRE) -- January 30, 2006 -- Day one of the World Poker Tour main event is now history and so are some of the game's top players. The Borgata Winter Poker Open's feature event, the $10,000 buy-in, also saw the arrival of numerous media outlets, including CardPlayer, PokerPages, and Pokerwire, to name a few, with more expected over the course of the main event.

Turnout for the big dance proved to be better than expected with 381 players putting up the large buy-in for their shot at a $1,173,373 first-place prize. Although only one person can take the title of Borgata Winter Poker Open main-event champion, 75 players will make the money and go home happier than when they arrived.

The big story of the day has to be elimination of some of the game's biggest players. Falling from the poker sky were recent World Series of Poker Circuit winner, Daniel Negreanu, CardPlayer's Player-of-the-Year runner-up John "the Razor" Phan, Layne Flack, Arnold Spee, Bill Blanda, last year's Borgata Poker Open main-event champion Al Ardibelli, Phil Ivey, "Gentleman" John Gale, Paul "the Truth" Darden, David Oppenheim, Victor Ramidin, Chip Jett, Mike Gracz and the winner of the first 2006 Cadillac Escalade given away by the Borgata, Arthur Azen.

Possibly one of the more interesting stories of the day came from a non-poker professional who left quite an impression at the table. One of the world's toughest men also took place in the poker battle going on in the event center, but he got knocked out in the late rounds of the first day.

Antonio "Magic Man" Tarver, winner of the IBO Light Heavyweight Title in 2005, traded blows with some of game's top players, but eventually fell to the poker canvas when professional Gavin Smith gave him a knockout blow toward the end of the first day of eliminations.

"This is my first time playing in a big tournament. I just told myself I had to participate in the World Poker Tour at least once in my life. I thought my business was tough, but these guys are fighters at the table. Even though I didn't win, I still enjoyed myself here. I always stay at Borgata when I'm in Atlantic City. Borgata is a beautiful place and they treat me like family," Tarver said.

Although Tarver was one of the big stories of the day, the biggest comes from a smaller package. Online star "Johnny Bax," a.k.a. Cliff Josephy, dominated play throughout the day and is in the chip lead with 386,200 in chips. The closest player to Josephy is Joseph Micelli who is in second-place with $179,700 in chips. With plenty of poker firepower left at the tables, Joesphy has his work cut out for him. He still has to beat over 160 players to take the title and the big first-place cash.

Borgata is a joint venture of Boyd Gaming Corporation (NYSE: BYD) and MGM MIRAGE (NYSE: MGM). Located at Renaissance Pointe in Atlantic City, it features 2,000 guest rooms and suites, 125,000 square feet of gaming, 163 gaming tables, 3,600 slot machines, 11 destination restaurants, 11 retail boutiques, a 54,000 square foot spa, 70,000 square feet of event space, and parking for 7,100 cars.

For more information on Borgata, and/or to obtain a copy of this press release visit www.theborgata.com or use AOL keyword: borgata. Additional news and information on Boyd Gaming can be found at www.boydgaming.com, additional information on MGM MIRAGE can be found at www.mgmmirage.com.

About WPT Enterprises, Inc.

WPT Enterprises, Inc. (NASDAQ: WPTE) is a company engaged in the creation of internationally branded entertainment and consumer products driven by the development, production, and marketing of televised programming based on gaming themes. WPTE is the creator of the World Poker Tour®, a television show based on a series of high-stakes poker tournaments that airs on the Travel Channel in the United States and more than 100 markets globally. WPT Enterprises currently licenses its brand to companies in the business of poker equipment and instruction, apparel, publishing, electronic and wireless entertainment, DVD/home entertainment, casino games, and giftware. For show information, tools for improving poker play, and other WPT news, fans may log on to www.worldpokertour.com. The company is also engaged in the sale of corporate sponsorships. WPT Enterprises, Inc. is a majority owned subsidiary of Lakes Entertainment, Inc., a publicly held company. Photos and media information can be found online at: www.worldpokertour.com.

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