Phelps has been invited to the World Series of Poker Europe event at Leicester Square with his £10,000 entrance fee paid for him.
Phelps told the Baltimore Sun: "I think it would be cool to play in the World Series of Poker. My game is a little off right now, so I'll have to start improving it a little bit. But I think that would be cool, and it would be cool to meet some of those poker guys."
And American team-mate Amanda Beard recently told a US television show that Phelps "sits on his computer for like ten hours a day playing online poker, that's all he does."
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Phelps has been spotted playing Texas Hold ‘Em in casinos in Ontario, just across the Canadian border from his training base in Ann Arbor, Michigan, but he rejected an invite to the second leg of the Asian Poker Tour in Macau.
In an open letter, Jeff Mann of the Asian Poker Tour said to Phelps: "Some have said you are a ‘human dolphin' but we're keen to know if history's greatest swimmer is really a fish. You may have feet that can reach angles others cannot to give you the ultimate swimming technique but just you wait until you've got sharks like Vegas poker legend Doyle Brunson chasing you. We'll see how fast you really are then when they smell blood - get some flippers on those size 14's! Don't bring your goggles, bring a pair of sunglasses – dive in at the deep end and we would love it if you showed us your hand. You've almost certainly got more chance of making good money from our $1,500,000 prize pool than securing any commercial deals! Your homecoming to a delirious country can wait."
The World Series of Poker Europe events will run from September 19 to October 2 with a $1,000,000 prize jackpot and four WSOP gold bracelets up for grabs.
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The new International Gambling College introduces poker players to state-of-the-art player training methods and prepares to expand its training to people in mainland China, Taiwan and Hong Kong.
The successful emergence of this unlikely institute of higher learning has primarily been made possible by advances in the science of Fractals, Chaos and a new level of understanding in gambler psychology.
In the process, the curriculum has opened unexpected educational and vocational possibilities to enthusiastic students - students who are coming away from their learning experience with dramatic new perspectives and a surprisingly effective set of new skills.
According to coach Ben Yarbrough: "The Chinese people have a more positive attitude about gambling and winning than does the typical American."
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Texas Hold'em is set to Hong Kong by storm according to a local expert.
"I've got over 3,000 players in my database for Hong Kong and that number will easily double or triple in the next 12 months," Kelly Flynn, president of the Hong Kong Poker League, told the Hong Kong Standard.
Poker's popularity has been on the rise since ex-pats and returning overseas students introduced the game to the area four years ago.
"There are some very talented poker players from Hong Kong but not many as of yet," Asia Pacific Poker Tour president Jeffrey Haas added.
The Hong Kong Poker League and the Asia Pacific Poker Tour have coordinated a collection of events as a means to compete in international tournaments
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09/07/2008 AT 14:55