Hold 'Em and Hide 'Em; The Profits and Problems With Online Poker

Ben sleeps five hours a night; the rest of the time he sits at his desk in his Brooklyn apartment playing online poker. He won $55,000 one recent evening, but in his tireless ambition for the $2.5 million world championship, this mild-mannered college graduate has become an outlaw in hiding and a twisting thorn in the side of Eliot Spitzer, the New York attorney general. Ben quit his teaching job five months ago and now makes around $100 an hour. Five days a week, he clocks 10-hour shifts of Texas Hold 'Em on his Dell laptop computer. With reggae in the background and coffee mug in hand, he studies his competitors who sit in London, Copenhagen, Los Angeles and elsewhere, while the dealer in Costa Rica tosses cards.

By IAN URBINA

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