Cat Helps Owner Win Ferrari - Thursday 22nd of December 2005

GIBRALTAR – Bruce Bartfeld of Churchville,Maryland was playing a free-entry online poker tournament on PartyPoker.netand was running out of chips. The 52-year-old pet store owner says he has hiscat Sadie to thank for helping him claw his way back-and right into the seatof a brand new Ferrari F430 Coupe.

"I was really short stacked," said Bartfeld. "Then Sadie decided to jumpup and sit on my lap and my luck changed for the better. They say cats havenine lives; Sadie certainly gave me a lifeline."

Bartfeld was playing in his first tournament in an online poker room.PartyPoker operates the world's largest online poker room, andits companion play-for-free education site,, where Bartfieldplayed in a "freeroll" Texas Hold'em tournament-without spending a penny. Themarried grandfather of one beat thousands of top players and is now the proudowner of a sleek Ferrari F430 Coupe with a 4.3-litre, V8 engine that will topout at 195 mph. PartyPoker spokesman Warren Lush said: "Bruce's story showshow ordinary guys can go all the way in poker and win fantastic prizes. We'veinvited him and Sadie to join us on the PartyPoker Million V Cruise aroundthe Cayman Islands in March, where they'll have a shot at a $5 million prizepool."

Commenting on his win, Bartfield said: "A friend of mine kept telling meto play online, but I was a bit cynical. I'd always been a five or seven-cardstud man and have played for years with family over Thanksgiving andChristmas. I learned Texas Hold'em about a year ago, playing with friends,and finally thought I'd give it a go online when I saw the tournamentoffering the chance to win a Ferrari."

"I remember shouting out to my wife Cookie during the tournament. 'HoneyI'm in the final three,' I screamed and she didn't react. She told meafterwards that she didn't want to say anything since she was desperate notto distract me. I rode my luck a lot in the tournament. Sometimes I wentall-in with very little and was just praying that others would fold. Luckilyfor me, they did. Thank goodness for Sadie."

Other players may recognize Bartfeld's poker user name "bestdragon." Hechose that name because he breeds bearded dragon lizards for sale as pets inhis pet store. Lizards and poker are his two primary hobbies. Ten years agohe even provided the snake for WWE wrestler Jake "The Snake" Roberts whenthey were in town.

"This is a major event in my life, "said Bartfield. "I'm now going totake my poker a lot more seriously and try and qualify for the World Seriesof Poker. I've seen how ordinary guys like Greg Raymer and Chris Moneymakercan do it and now I want my chance at the big-time. My accountant knows SteveDannenmann, who came second in the main event this year. If I could achieveeven a little of what he has I'll be a happy man. My mother made me a dreamerwhile my father taught me self discipline."

No need to dream anymore. There'll soon be a new Ferrari sitting inBartfeld's driveway. His current car is a Chrysler Town-and-Country van. "Thefact that I won still hasn't sunk in. I'd always dreamed of having a nicecar, but a Ferrari? I haven't had a speeding ticket in 10 years. I'm going topolish it and perhaps I will sit it on the driveway and let the neighbourslook at it!"

Maybe he'll even let Sadie go for a ride.

Bartfeld wasn't the only winner. Jim Williamson, a 57 year-old railroadworker from Sebring, Florida won the tournament on, thecompany's 'real money' gaming site, but decided to take $150,000, the cashequivalent to the car.

"I'm going to use it to pay off bills," said Williamson. "I think I'llnever have a better day of poker than I did on the final table. I didn't hita full house once and never had a hand which I'd consider to be the nuts. Iwon the money with ace high. I passed on the car even though I can see theSebring Speedway from my back garden!" recently dealt its 3 BILLIONTH hand, a milestone that wascelebrated with a payout of more than $500,000 to those lucky players on thetables at the time.

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