Poker idea wins £65,000 backing on U.K. show

Steve Bellis walked away with £65,000 after appearing on the BBC's "Dragons' Den" to persuade the panel of elite business entrepreneurs to invest in his pub poker league. After pitching his idea and asking for £50,000, the panel ended up offering him an extra £15,000 as well.

The Wrexham, England, businessman gave up his own business in the chemical industry to start the Nuts Poker League in November 2005. The league has grown since then and is extending to include Deeside, Manchester, Watford, and London. Plus Bellis said he has been asked to start a similar system in France.

More than 50 pubs, sports clubs and a restaurant are signed up as venues, and 2,500 players are registered in the league.

The pub poker league is played in a tournament format with one winner from each event and players earning points. Current laws make it illegal for entrants to gamble for money, so the league is set up for poker players to play for points and it's free to play. The players with the highest points get a chance to compete for prizes in a regional finals.

There's an entrance fee for the regional final which is donated to the Nightingale House Hospice in Wrexham.

Bellis went on the "Dragons' Den" in June to pitch his idea, and his episode aired Thursday night. According to a BBC spokesman, it was the first time a competitor has gone on the show and been given more money then he asked for.

The money will be used to expand the league and take on self-employed agents to help run it, Bellis said.

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