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November 18, 2008 07:00 ET

PokerIsland has a Winner: Ryan Hurst From Canada

From Vancouver to St. John's to Tuktoyaktuk, Canadians are among the most successful poker players in the world.

VIENNA, AUSTRIA--(Marketwire - Nov. 18, 2008) - bwin, the world's leading online gaming provider, has found its winner on PokerIsland: 32-year-old Canadian Ryan Hurst is the winner of the 14-week poker tournament. After seven weeks of intense poker playing on PokerIsland, he emerged as the victor in the final round. "The tournament was nerve-wracking and very exciting," said Hurst, a professional poker player: "All the participants in the final round played incredibly well and it wasn't easy."

The final round of PokerIsland was played on November 4 and broadcast live on www.bwin.com. After a four-hour duel, Ryan Hurst emerged as the winner, earning his membership in the bwin Poker team. Thanks to the $100,000 bwin sponsoring package, Hurst now has the chance to take part in all major live poker events in 2009, such as the WSOP and WPT. "I am really happy to be able to participate in the world's biggest poker tournaments thanks to the support from bwin", said Hurst.

Party with the Pussycat Dolls

Over 500,000 participants tried to make it to PokerIsland in qualifier tournaments held daily on www.bwin.com. In this poker tournament, the winners of the online qualifiers experienced the bwin Poker lifestyle and exclusive leisure activities such as cruises, quad bike tours, waterskiing, and courses in surfing and golf all summer long. "My stay on PokerIsland was fantastic and an unforgettable experience!", said the PokerIsland winner enthusiastically.

Private concerts featuring the Pussycat Dolls, Lady GaGa and Triinu Kivilaan gave PokerIsland the necessary glitter and glamour. To get a shot at partying with Nicole Scherzinger at the after-show party, special tournaments were offered on www.bwin.com to qualify for the PokerIsland Pussycat Dolls Weekend. A special PokerIsland TV show was broadcast worldwide by many TV channels, bringing bwin and its poker innovation into the public eye.

"With PokerIsland, bwin has proven that poker can be a lot more than just a table, chips and cards. The winners of the online qualifiers were offered pure poker lifestyle, they met stars and experienced a poker dream. The enormous rush on the PokerIsland online qualifier tournaments showed that this innovative concept generated a great deal of interest", said bwin Press Officer Kevin O'Neal.

PokerIsland 2009

The gates to PokerIsland will be opened again in 2009, offering another shot at experiencing the dream by winning the online qualifier tournaments. To win your ticket to the sunny island paradise, you can start trying your luck right away in numerous qualifier tournaments and freerolls on www.bwin.com.

The bwin Group has over 13 million registered customers (including 8 million "play money" customers) in over 25 core target markets and operates platforms for sports betting, poker, casino games, soft games and skill games. Under various licences (e.g. in Germany, Italy and Gibraltar), it also offers audio and video streaming of major sporting events (such as matches of the German Soccer League) through subsidiaries and associated companies. The parent Company, bwin Interactive Entertainment AG, has been listed on the Vienna Stock Exchange since March 2000 (ID code "Bwin", Reuters ID code "Bwin.VI"). All details about the Company can be found on its investor relations website at www.bwin.ag.

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