News Gerardo Gamboa who handed in $300,000 found in the back of his taxi

A Las Vegas taxi driver proved it is the season of goodwill - after he handed in $300,000 left in the back of his cab.

Cool-hand Noel is $1m poker champion of the world

NOEL FURLONG, an Irishman, calmly outplayed the best of the West yesterday to clinch the $1m (pounds 625,000) first prize in the World Poker Championship in Las Vegas.

Video Round-Up

The Spanish Prisoner (PG) to rent

Pursuits: Poker

YOU THOUGHT Hold'em was a simple game, didn't you? Just two cards in the hole and five in common on the flop. Could hardly be easier, could it?

Independent Pursuits: Poker

ANYONE WHO thinks gambling offers an easy way of life is seriously mistaken. Just how badly mistaken can be seen in a new television programe entitled Winners, which shows a trio of the best poker players in the country in action: David Mosely, Dave "Devil Fish" Ullyott and Surinder Singh.

Sporting Vernacular 6. Jackpot

WHEN THE Tote jackpot, worth nearly pounds 700,000, was held over last week from the Cheltenham Festival to Fakenham on Friday, a nation's punters went collectively crazy.

Motoring: My Worst Car: Eddie Shah's Mini - Taking a gamble on a Mini

I HONESTLY don't think that I have owned a worst car. For me, the motor car is a fabulous expression of freedom. It gets you precisely where you want to go, which isn't as stupid a statement as it may sound. Purely as a business tool, I have found them invaluable as a mobile office. That is why my cars always look so untidy inside, whether they have been Minis or Bentleys.

To live and die in Vegas

There was nothing Stu Ungar didn't know about playing no-limit poker. Unfortunately he knew nothing about anything else.

Obituary: Stu Ungar

STU UNGAR, three times World Poker Champion in Las Vegas, was regarded as the best no-limit player on the professional circuit. He was found dead last Sunday in a motel room on the Las Vegas Strip, with $800 in his pocket.

Essay: Hollywood looks for a flush (in an underhand way)

As the film 'Rounders' opens, Daniel Rosenthal pays tribute to poker's tense role in 100 years of movie-making

The Critics: Cinema: The Matt Damon backlash starts here

Rounders (15) Ronin (15) The Eel (18) Les Miserables (12) Dead Man's Curve (18) The Fountainhead (PG)

Poker

ACES! DON'TCHA love 'em? Here are two examples from a low-level game of Hold 'em, blinds pounds 1, pounds 1, pounds 2, which I encountered recently.

Independent Pursuits: Gambling

INSIDE EVERY poker player a monologue is going on, beneath the surface of the game. It's a kind of inner reflection on your state of play - the mistakes you made, how you feel about the other players and how they are doing, the equation of getting back to even or hanging on to some notional figure of profit - elusive, personal things that are not really related to the cards and hands as such.

Games: poker

Poker tournaments seem to be the dominant feature of the contemporary game and the way of the future. According to one estimate, there are probably 30,000 small-stakes poker tournaments held across America in a year. Entry is often as low as the $10-$25 range, as distinct from the thousands of dollars required in the World Series. In Britain too, tournaments are increasingly popular, with buy-ins of pounds 10-pounds 20 or so (and no casino charge to pay). The point of these events is that you can win a prize of several hundred for a very small outlay.

Back to the day job for cardsharp Matt Damon

SOME pretty colourful characters normally take part in the annual world poker championships here, but they do not, as a rule, attract yearning teenage girls, let alone 20 television crews. So other players were unaccustomed to the fuss when they were joined last week by Matt Damon, high-school heart-throb, Oscar winner and star of the recent movie Good Will Hunting.

Games poker

Lowball, the version of seven card stud when the best possible hand is A-2-3-4-6 off-suit, is a tricky game. Someone once told me it was merely 2 per cent skill and 98 per cent luck. I think it is more complicated than most players realise. It certainly can be very expensive. Here is a case in point.
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Burgundy, the River Rhone & Provence – MS Swiss Corona - seven nights from £999pp
Lake Maggiore, Orta and the Matterhorn – seven nights from £899pp
Sicily – seven nights from £939pp
Pompeii, Capri and the Bay of Naples - seven nights from £799pp
Istanbul Ephesus & Troy – six nights from £859pp
Mary Rose – two nights from £319pp
A new Russian revolution: Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc

A new Russian revolution

Cracks start to appear in Putin’s Kremlin power bloc
Eugene de Kock: Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

Apartheid’s sadistic killer that his country cannot forgive

The debate rages in South Africa over whether Eugene de Kock should ever be released from jail
Standing my ground: If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?

Standing my ground

If sitting is bad for your health, what happens when you stay on your feet for a whole month?
Commonwealth Games 2014: Dai Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Greene prays for chance to rebuild after injury agony

Welsh hurdler was World, European and Commonwealth champion, but then the injuries crept in
Israel-Gaza conflict: Secret report helps Israelis to hide facts

Patrick Cockburn: Secret report helps Israel to hide facts

The slickness of Israel's spokesmen is rooted in directions set down by pollster Frank Luntz
The man who dared to go on holiday

The man who dared to go on holiday

New York's mayor has taken a vacation - in a nation that has still to enforce paid leave, it caused quite a stir, reports Rupert Cornwell
Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business, from Sarah Millican to Marcus Brigstocke

Best comedians: How the professionals go about their funny business

For all those wanting to know how stand-ups keep standing, here are some of the best moments
The Guest List 2014: Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks

The Guest List 2014

Forget the Man Booker longlist, Literary Editor Katy Guest offers her alternative picks
Jokes on Hollywood: 'With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on'

Jokes on Hollywood

With comedy film audiences shrinking, it’s time to move on
It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

It's the best of British art... but not all is on display

Voted for by the British public, the artworks on Art Everywhere posters may be the only place where they can be seen
Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Critic claims 'I was the inspiration for Blanche DuBois'

Blanche Marvin reveals how Tennessee Williams used her name and an off-the-cuff remark to create an iconic character
Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Sometimes it's hard to be a literary novelist

Websites offering your ebooks for nothing is only the latest disrespect the modern writer is subjected to, says DJ Taylor
Edinburgh Fringe 2014: The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee

Edinburgh Fringe 2014

The comedy highlights, from Bridget Christie to Jack Dee
Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

Dame Jenny Abramsky: 'We have to rethink. If not, museums and parks will close'

The woman stepping down as chair of the Heritage Lottery Fund is worried