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Gold medalist invited to APT Macau
Michael Phelps has conquered the pools in Beijing, and now the Asian Poker Tour is inviting him to stop in Macau to play some poker before he heads back to the United States with his eight gold medals.
Phelps heading to the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing favored to win another eight medals. His goal, however was to win eight golds and top the record seven gold in one Summer Games held by Mark Spitz.
Phelps' determination paid off as he won six individual events and his teammates helped him win two more for the record. His coach and others have mentioned to the media that he is driven not by a need to win, but by a need to not lose, which makes him an intimidating force in the water.
It's that same drive that Phelps takes with him to the poker tables when he's not busy training or competing. It turns out this world-record holding Olympic athlete may be a fish in the water, but he's not one at the poker tables.
Some of his fellow Team U.S.A. members have mentioned Phelps sitting at a computer playing online poker for hours during his free time. The Windsor Star, in Windsor, Ontario, also did a story about Phelps' regular trips across the river from Michigan to the casinos in Windsor to play poker.
The best evidence of Phelps' poker enthusiasm, however, comes from the man himself.
"I think it would be cool to play in the World Series of Poker," he told Baltimore Sun reporter Kevin Van Valkenburg. "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."
He could get that chance to meet some of the big names in the poker world and to brush up on his skills if he takes up the APT's invitation to detour to Macau on his way home.
The open letter to Phelps from the APT reads as follows:
First of all, congratulations on your eight gold medals and world record breaking feats - what a supreme sporting achievement and I hope superstardom treats you well. However, I write this open letter to you to say that I am in a position to add weight to the argument that you should be crowned history's ultimate sportsman.
I noticed recently that you have told your local newspaper that you were a big fan of poker and look forward to playing again. By a strange twist of fate, I represent the Asian Poker Tour and we are running Asia's largest ever guaranteed tournament NEXT WEEK in Macau. It starts on the 27th and runs until the 31st and guarantees a prize pool of $1,500,000 and a first prize of $500,000.
This is the biggest prize pool ever offered in Asia! While you are already in China, why don't you give it a go? It would be our pleasure to fly you in, organize your accommodation and buy-you in to the tournament!
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.
Go all-in Michael! We'll even get some special one-on-one lessons for you from poker's greatest players. If it makes you happier we'll even bring in Mark Spitz too and you can play heads-up! Some have campaigned for poker to become an Olympic sport. The fact that you are a 'human dolphin' doesn't mean you will necessary get a gold medal for Texas Hold'em!
In all seriousness, come join us, you may as well while you are there! We'll definitely show you a good time and would be honored with your presence. Get the closing ceremony over and done with first though!
The Asian Poker Tour
The APT Macau will take place at the Galaxy StarWorld Hotel and Casino Resort Aug. 27-31 and guarantees a prize pool of $1.5 million and a first-place prize of $500,000 - the largest to date in Asia. The event has a $5,300 buy-in and already has a wide range of poker pros planning to attend. Doyle Brunson, Todd Brunson, J.C. Tran, John Juanda, Kenny Tran, Nam Le, Quinn Do, Steve Sung and APT Manila champion David Saab are all planning to play.
Many online players are expected to be coming in for the tournament from all over the world as well. Joining the stars are players who have won seats to the event by qualifying through online satellites at PartyPoker, Titan Poker, Bodog and other sites.