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[01/03/05 - 12:00 AM]
GSN's World Series of Blackjack Returns with a Stellar Line Up of the World's Top 40 Players

[via press release from GSN]

GSN's WORLD SERIES OF BLACKJACK Returns With a Stellar Line Up of the World's Top 40 Players

Season Two Players Include Joe Maloof (Owner of the Sacramento Kings), Rene Angelil (Husband of Celine Dion), and MIT Mike (Last Year's Champion)

SANTA MONICA, Calif., Jan. 3 -- Premiering on January 21 at 10 PM ET/PT, GSN's WORLD SERIES OF BLACKJACK is back for a second exciting season with 40 of the world's top blackjack players all vying for over $500,000 in cash prizes and the title of the world's top blackjack player. The series premiere's on Friday, January 21 at 10 PM ET/PT.

Shot at the legendary Golden Nugget Hotel & Casino Las Vegas, the invitation only tournament will have viewers on the edge of their seats until the final card is drawn. Returning players from season one back for a second chance are:

* Stanford Wong, the Godfather of Blackjack, has authored several books on Blackjack, including "Basic Blackjack," and "Casino Tournament Strategy." A professional gambler for over 40 years, Wong is also an inductee into the Blackjack and Video Poker Halls of Fame and resides in Southern California.

* Micky Rosa, who is credited with authoring the M.I.T. thesis on blackjack, is featured in the NY Times best-selling book, "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas For Millions." He now resides in Australia and works in investments.

* M.I.T. Mike, Last years champion, balances his blackjack play with work in the non-profit sector in Washington, D.C., nurturing and mentoring high school students. He also is featured in the NY Times best-selling book, "Bringing Down the House: The Inside Story of Six MIT Students Who Took Vegas For Millions."

* Anthony Curtis, one of the world's most recognized gambling authorities and Las Vegas resident, is the author of "Bargain City-Booking, Betting, and Beating the New Las Vegas," and "The Art of Gambling Through The Ages," as well as the publisher of the Las Vegas Advisor.

* Regina Guzior, legally blind, is credited as one of the best female blackjack players in the country -- she hails from Michigan.

* Michael Konik, a true Renaissance man, expert blackjack player, and successful author of gaming books, "Telling Lies and Getting Paid" and "The Man with $100,000 Breasts: And Other Gambling Stories." He also is a jazz musician and a golf columnist for Delta Airline's in-flight magazine.

* Ken Einiger, an aggressive blackjack player and former champion of the Mandalay Bay Blackjack Tournament, recently placed third in the Hilton Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament. Originally from New York, he also lived in Fort Lauderdale before moving to Las Vegas.

* "Hollywood" Dave Stann, the undisputed Bad Boy of Blackjack, also an actor, uses psychology to gain the advantage over other players. He is a resident of Southern California and is the dealer on GSN's CELEBRITY BLACKJACK.

* Jimmy Pine, a lifelong gambler known for his winning expression "pay the little man," is also a professional singer who resides in Rhode Island.

* Ken Smith, a software and website developer has won over 30 blackjack tournaments to date and founded a popular blackjack tournament website -- http://www.blackjackinfo.com. He resides in Mississippi.

Rounding out the remaining competitors are the following tournament players:

* Rene Angelil -- Born and raised in Montreal, Quebec, Canada, noted fan of blackjack, Rene Angelil is most known as Grammy Award winning Celine Dion's husband. Since 1985, Angelil has won many tournaments.

* Joe Maloof -- President of Maloof Companies, Maloof's favorite casino game is blackjack. Maloof has been playing the game since the age of 16, and has won one million dollars in the highest stakes blackjack tournament ever.

* Dr. Richard Taraska -- A Board Certified Emergency Medicine M.D., Dr. Richard Taraska not only has a love of Ferrari's (he owns one), he is an avid tournament blackjack player. Citing the fact that he has attained a level of discipline while he plays blackjack, "If you play blackjack correctly, the casino advantage is only slight -- you can't win all of the time, but with enough discipline you can walk away ahead more often than not."

* Nicki Vermeulen -- Nikki Vermeulen is in a casino everyday, as a cocktail waitress. She has learned her game by watching other's play and as such, she has sharpened her skills. Her biggest win thus far in one game was $12,000.

* Chuck Gorson -- At almost seven feet tall, and having won over $1 million in tournaments for the last 15 years, Gorson has earned a six-figure income as a professional gambler. After capturing $50,000 in a 1989 blackjack tournament at the Aladdin Casino, Gorson sold his successful chain of talent and modeling agencies and never looked back. Today, he's one of America's top gambling professionals, with a string of tournament victories in every casino and every casino game.

* Erica Schoenberg -- An accomplished match champion, model and pro-beach tournament volleyball player, Schoenberg was bit with the blackjack bug one year ago when she turned $25 into $2000 at the tables. Schoenberg plays the game twice a month when she is not busy teaching kickboxing and working as a personal trainer.

* Robert Blechman -- Having played in over 300 blackjack tournaments all across the country and many foreign countries, Blechman has won well over $1 million dollars. When he is not playing the game, Blechman works as a paralegal and he is a California native.

* Joe Pane -- A retired Brooklyn police officer complete with the accent, Joe Pane is one of the most accomplished blackjack tournament players around. He has played in over 500 tournaments and has almost a half a million dollars in wins to his credit. Pane is a writer for http://www.blackjackinsider.com, and resides in Las Vegas.

* Jason Geraci -- Rhode Island native Jason Geraci plays blackjack with his instinct over typical advantage play. His favorite part of playing blackjack is "catching a run, and knowing enough to send it in when the cards are flowing."

* Henry Tamburin -- Henry Tamburin is a blackjack enthusiast and noted book author. He has since authored ten books including the popular "Blackjack: Take the Money & Run," "Craps: Take the Money & Run." He also hosts the popular web site for casino players at http://www.smartgaming.com and publishes the monthly "Blackjack Insider Newsletter" for blackjack players at all skill levels (http://www.bjinsider.com).

* Viktor Nacht -- Viktor Nacht is an avid blackjack player, owner of RGE Publishing, Ltd., and the webmaster of AdvantagePlayer.com, the world's busiest blackjack website. It is Nacht's goal to "add sex appeal to the somewhat mundane world of legitimate blackjack methods and techniques, and educate average players about how they can get the most from their play."

* Eric Kiel -- Eric Kiel is the defending champion of blackjack's biggest event, the Las Vegas Hilton Blackjack tournament where he took home $1 million dollars. Residing in Texas, Kiel is a successful small business owner as an oilfield consultant and enjoys fast cars, old cars and anything mechanical.

* Brian Zembic -- One of the notorious gamblers in the world who will bet on anything, Brian Zembic's most famous wager required him to get breast implants, which he still possesses. Known to his blackjack peers as "Brian the Wiz," Zembic says his biggest accomplishment is "having blackjack putting him through life without having to really work."

* David Page -- Going by the nickname of "Legend," David Page is one of the most accomplished tournament blackjack players, and considers tournaments his passion. His unique style is to annoy other players and take them out of their game. He is currently working on launching an online gaming website that will allow tournament blackjack to be played much in the same way tournament poker is played online.

* Kevin Blackwood -- Since teaching himself how to count cards from a book, Kevin Blackwood started playing blackjack with just a few twenty dollar bills and has since won over one million dollars at the tables and is considered the best card counter in the world. Blackwood, the author of the book "The Counter," enjoys the mental challenges, quick decisions and memorization of the game.

* Lorna Fox -- Lorna Fox considers herself a professional blackjack player and plays three to four times a week, and says her favorite part of playing is "meeting different people all the time, and not having to answer to a boss."

* Angie Moneytaker -- Angie Moneytaker got the blackjack buzz a few years ago, when she entered the Hilton Million Dollar Blackjack Tournament on a whim. It was when she qualified for the finals that she became addicted to tournament play. She plays online weekly, and hits the tables in Las Vegas a few times a year.

* Rick Jensen -- Rick Jensen is currently on a seven year winning streak in tournament blackjack -- he has won one tournament each year for the past seven. The competition, winning, and the friends he has made are his favorite part of playing blackjack.

* Marshall Sylver -- Not only is Marshall Sylver a skilled blackjack player, he is well known as one of the world's leading hypnotists. Sylver enjoys the tension involved with blackjack, and says, "It's just a game."

* Nancy Kubasek -- Nancy Kubasek is a seasoned tournament veteran, and is known for wearing a blue wig for good luck. Kubasek has a history of making a number of final tables every year in various tournaments where the top prize is over $10,000.

* Tyrone Jackson -- Chicago native Tyrone Jackson enjoys beating casinos at their own game. He says he has "pioneered the technique of using shuffle tracking techniques in actual blackjack gameplay."

* Michelle Richards -- Michelle Richards was once one of the most feared casino managers in the business, now she takes her game to the other side of the table where she faces off against many of the same players she has banned from playing the game.

* Russ Hamilton -- Having played blackjack professionally since 1990, until he began being asked to leave the tables, Russ Hamilton considers himself a professional gambler, having played for the past 30 years. In addition to his blackjack skills, Hamilton also plays Poker and won $1 million dollars in the World Series of Poker in 1994.

* Leann Moell -- Leann Moell, or "Lean" as her friends like to call her is the youngest player in the tournament at 21 years old. Moell currently works as a table games supervisor at Barona Valley Ranch Casino & Resort, and plays the tables in Vegas once a month.

* Rick Blaine -- Native New Yorker Rick Blaine has been playing the game of blackjack since the early 1980's. He is currently a part-time professional as a financial executive with a Fortune 500 company, and he plays at least six times a year overseas.

* Katya Underhill -- Master of disguise Katya Underhill has been a professional full time player since 2000, after a friend took her to Las Vegas, and she says she hasn't looked back since. Her biggest single win at the tables was $32,000, and says her favorite part about playing blackjack is that any play can make money for the player.

* Rick Swogger -- Arlington, Texas native Rick Swogger says the probabilities of blackjack are his favorite part of the game, and he tries to play as often as he can, just about once a month or so. He recently placed second place in the March qualifier Million Dollar Blackjack 2 quarter finals.

* Kamila Lis -- Born and raised in Warsaw, Poland, Kamila Lis is a very skilled blackjack player. She began learning the game as a dealer at the Sands, CalNeva and Peppermill casinos in Reno, and then took that information and made money playing the game in other casinos. She has played in many international cities around the world including Warsaw, Amsterdam, Sun City, Hong Kong and Macau.

* Jean Scott -- Better known in the blackjack world as "Queen of Comps," Jean Scott has been a winning player for the past 20 years. Most recently, Scott took first place in the Rio Blackjack Tournament in June, 2004. Scott also works outside the world of blackjack as a writer on different gambling subjects, and before retiring, she was a high school English teacher.

* Charlene Ono -- Although Charlene Ono's biggest prize money won in a game of blackjack was $25,000, she says her biggest accomplishment in blackjack thus far is having been invited to play in this tournament. She plays the game monthly, and enjoys winning and meeting different people from all over the world.

WORLD SERIES OF BLACKJACK is produced by Montana Productions for GSN. Paul Abeyta and Peter Kaikko serve as the series' executive producers.

The Golden Nugget Las Vegas is one of the premier hotel-casinos in Nevada and the largest in downtown Las Vegas, offering 1,805 deluxe guest rooms and 102 plush suites and penthouses. Winner of the AAA Four-Diamond Award for 27 consecutive years, the Golden Nugget is the most luxurious resort in downtown Las Vegas, and consistently receives critical acclaim for exceeding customer expectations. The property is a foundation member of the Fremont Street Experience, which was developed in 1996 to attract and entertain visitors to the area. A 38,000 square-foot casino space features more than 1,208 of the most popular slot and video poker machines, 68 table games including blackjack, roulette and craps, as well as keno and a complete race and sports book and a poker room. Amenities of the property include headline entertainment, five world-class restaurants, a complete spa and salon, 12 meeting and banquet rooms accommodating up to 400 people, and a year-round outdoor swimming pool with cabanas. Additional information and online reservations and travel packages are available at http://www.goldennugget.com.

GSN, the Network for Games, is the only U.S. television network dedicated to game-related programming and interactive game playing. The network features game shows, reality series, light sports, documentaries, video game programs and casino games. As the industry leader in interactivity, GSN features 84 hours per week of interactive programming, which allows viewers a chance to win prizes by playing along with GSN's televised games via gsn.com. Reaching 56 million Nielsen homes, GSN is distributed in the U.S. through all major cable systems and satellite providers. The network is jointly owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Liberty Media Corporation. For further media information, visit GSN's press website at corp.gsn.com.

SOURCE GSN
Web Site: http://corp.gsn.com http://gsn.com





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