Student wins over a million at poker

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A University of Waterloo student has won more than $1.3-million (U.S.) after a week of playing poker in paradise.

After a seemingly endless chain of tense moments, Steve Paul-Ambrose, 22, emerged in first place Tuesday from a pool of more than 700 players in the Third Annual PokerStars Caribbean Adventure at the Atlantis Casino Resort on Paradise Island in the Bahamas.

The third-year business and science student won $1,363,100 and captured a $25,000 seat in the World Poker Tour’s championship tournament, which will be played in Las Vegas in April.

His brother, George Ambrose, spent all day getting updates of the matches online.

“It was colossal,” Mr. Ambrose, 26, said in a phone interview from Kingston, Ont., Steve’s hometown. “I’m just totally excited and blown away.”

The tournament was organized by PokerStars, an online poker site. Spokesman Scott Womer said the admission was $8,000 and “it’s one of the biggest tournaments out there people can participate in.”

But Mr. Paul-Ambrose only paid $102.

The Kingston native got in by winning a series of online competitions through the website.

“It’s ridiculous,” Mr. Ambrose said. “This is the last thing he ever would have expected. He has very little experience.”

Mr. Ambrose said his brother has only been playing online for about two years and has rarely faced opponents at a table.

“Over Christmas, he was playing penny-poker with his uncles and was telling me after that he was practising at getting a read on people,” Mr. Ambrose said.

“Steve is a fairly quiet guy and he’s a really good thinker and problem solver. That’s what this game is about.”

The tournament was based on a popular version of poker called Texas Hold’em, in which players get two cards they must use with five others dealt on the table to come up with the best hand.