James Packer Plays In Own Charity Poker Tournament, by Greg Tingle - 31st October 2010

G'day punters, casino and media millionaires and billionaires, politicians and one and all. In big Australian casino and poker news, Crown Limited king of the castle, James Packer, is playing in Crown's Joe Hachem - Shane Warne poker tournament. Packer is on a roll as of late in both a business and philanthropic realm, and this will certainly give the living legend more time to practice his poker face, as he continues his reentry into the Australian mainstream media business with the Network Ten deal and such. Media Man and Gambling911 get you a front row seat at the poker table with this special report on 'Our James' and friends...

JP's no doubt learned a few valuable lessons under his late father Kerry Packer over the years. This weekend 'Our James' will have the opportunity to show off a few of his skills in the most unique of circumstances, which should result in a win - win - win - which tends to be typical of the Packer way.

Here's a quick history lesson for you...In one famous casino "raid" on Caesars Palace casino circa 1992, Kerry Packer snatched $US9 million at the baccarat tables. In plan his stack of chips represented US37¢ a share to the casino's listed holding company, Caesar World Inc, and bankers and top brass didn't know if they were coming or going under, if you get the picture.

In a famous tie in to Kerry's casino heist on Caesar's he apparently halved the casino's quarterly earnings. "He (KP) single-handedly, by himself, demolished that trading quarter," Caesar's chairman Henry Gluck would later revel.

Now some two decades later 'Our James' will make an extremely rare showing on the gaming tables at Crown, but shareholders like Media Man and friends need not loose any sleep. JP is a celebrity entrant in the Joe Hachem and Shane Warne charity poker tournament, and the winnings are understood to be "limited", so Crown won't be bankrupted by its own money man or anyone else, not this weekend anyway.

We've learned that under current Victorian legislation, Crown employees (including management) are banned - barred from playing at the casino, and that iron fist extends right up to 'Out James', chairman no less.

Good mate Shane Warne who is known to help raise funds for his own charitable foundation, of which JP is an ambassador...the casino applied for a special exemption from the Victorian Commission for Gambling Regulation, and we're pleased to report that it was granted.

Packer's also going to say G'day to some folks at Flemington for the Victoria Derby and will be pressing the flesh with many celebs and poker nuts, and a few high rollers, at the Crown felts.

Seats at the charity event put punters back $1000. The first prize is pushed as as a "high rollers package" which includes entry to the 2011 World Series of Poker, return flights, five nights' luxury accommodation and $5000 cash, plus a $1000 JMS Diamonds jewellery voucher. Some Media Man insiders reckon the poker tourney prize might actually be for entrance into the Crown Casino 'Aussie Millions', but time will tell.

In the event that Packer win the tourney, it is understood he will donate any prizes to the Shane Warne Foundation. Good eh.

Warnie and Packer are very tight these days. Early into the new year, Crown is expected to announce a JV with Warnie, with the casino agreeing to a Shane Warne-branded branded poker room. It is not known at this time if Warnie will want out of his existing online poker deals when that happens. At the same time Packer is looking to expand Betfair, and those close to the action say he will even consider b2b deals with the likes of PartyGaming, Virgin, NextGen Gaming or even others, if the deal and legals are right. Old Packer mate Tom Cruise is featured in one of PartyGaming's casino games, so that might be a deciding factor. On the other hand, 888 has had a very mixed player and news media experience in Australia. Also keep in mind that Packer gets on very well with the Virgin king Richard Branson also, so there's a number of possible outcomes. You can rest assured that Media Man and Gambling911 will be close to the action so when the news breaks you will get it pronto.

Well done Crown Casino, Packer, Warnie and all you 'Aussie Gumleaf Mafia' out there. It's a been a huge week, and we're pleased to finish on this high note. And, very soon we will announce the winner, so don't change your dial or website!

Gambling911 Australian News

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James Packer

Crown Casino

Joe Hachem

Shane Warne

Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like the special report? Do you think James should have been allowed to play? Who will win the tourney? Tell us in the forum. If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

Crown Limited Share Price: $8.330

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

*The writer owns shares in Crown Limited

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