announces winner of $250K endorsement deal

Jim Davenport has won's inaugural Poker Pro for a Year tournament, it was announced Wednesday. An investment banking analyst by trade, Davenport will spend 2006 as a player, crisscrossing the globe to compete in some of the world's top poker events, including the World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event and the World Poker Tour (WPT) Five Diamond Classic and Final tournaments.

The 25-year-old University of California graduate from Newport Beach, CA, defeated nine opponents at the 10-player final table aboard the Majesty of the Seas cruise ship in Nassau, Bahamas, on March 5, 2006, to take first place. Final table play lasted nearly 9 hours.

In addition to the year-long, $250,000 endorsement deal, which includes travel expenses and buy-ins for at least 12 major poker tournaments, Davenport was awarded a $60,000 cash prize, the greatest freeroll prize in the history of online poker.

"The Become a Poker Pro tournament is one of the most memorable events I've played," said Davenport. "It's not just about the competition and winning the endorsement deal, but also the friendships formed with the guys on Team We all love the game and sharpen our skills by learning from each other."

Second place winner, Billy Pero, a 31-year-old father of newborn twins from Boston, MA, received a $13,500 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event prize package for his efforts.

Nine U.S. players and one from Helsinki, Finland, began playing the No-Limit Texas Hold'em tournament at 12:30 p.m. on Sunday, March 5, 2006. It ended at approximately 9:20 p.m. when Davenport and Pero were heads-up.

"The tournament was a huge success and we were very impressed with the caliber of play among all the participants," said Glenn Cademartori, spokesperson for

"Team continues to grow in popularity and is a great example of our commitment to developing individual player skills needed to enjoy, compete and succeed in the game of poker."

The ten players that competed in the Become a Poker Pro tournament qualified through a series of online tournaments that included an online final played in September, 2005, by 84 Team members.

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