Oklahoma Man Wins Blackjack Competition - Monday 27th of March 2006

GIBRALTAR – 38-year-old Tucker Keelingfrom Bixby, Oklahoma, won the inaugural $250,000 PartyCasino.com WorldBlackJack Championship on board the PartyPoker.com Million V in the Caribbeanlast week. Tucker took home $113,000 but has suffered from ALS, a motorneurone disease, for five years. In 2001 he was given between two and fiveyears to live. He credits his good luck charm - a little Buddha statue - withbringing him the luck to win the tournament.

"I suppose I've beaten the odds in more ways than one," said Tucker."I've been beating the odds for five years, I'm delighted to win. My illnessmeant I had to quit work some time ago."

"I had a serious amount of luck in the tournament. Even going into thelast hand I didn't think I was going to win but I hit 20, which proved to beenough. In the semi- finals, I only won by $25 after betting all my chips andcatching BlackJack. It was one hell of a ride."

Tucker certainly knows his BlackJack. He dealt cards in Vegas for 12years. He qualified for the tournament online through a raffle onPartyPoker.com. He also tried to qualify for the main $5 million limithold'em poker event but didn't get through the special satellite qualifier onthe first Sunday of the cruise.

"My little Buddha statue brought me great luck. I'd have him sat at thetable by my cards. In the first round I nearly went out but I didn't have himwith me then. In every other round I had the statue sitting there bringing megood fortune."

Tucker is married to Lori, 32, a pit manager of a casino in Oklahoma, whoworks while Tucker rests at home and she was delighted by the win. "It isreally great news, he really deserves it," she said. As for the money, Tuckeris no doubt about what he's going to do with it, "I'm going to enjoy it," headded.

A PartyCasino.com spokesman said: "Tucker's story is inspirational. Weare both glad and sad for him at the same time. There couldn't have been abetter winner."

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