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Blackjack Pros Out for Tournament

9 January 2006

COLORADO – (PRESS RELEASE) -- World renowned blackjack tournament pros were out in full force during the second tournament of the World Series of Blackjack held at the Ute Mountain Casino- Hotel & Resort January 6th and 7th in Towoac, Colorado. In a crowd of professionals and amateurs alike, names like Regina "BJ Sweety" Guzior, Darrell "Rock 'n Roll" Arnold, and Ken Smith could be seen on the tables and in the audience. In a drastic change from the previous two years, this year the pros have their work cut out for them.

In a bold format change by GSN, The Network for Games, host of the franchise World Series of Blackjack, the players in the taped finals are no longer 'by invitation only' as in the previous two years, but now are the winners of different satellite events being held around the country. Now amateurs and pros alike have to duke it out for the 40 seats in the televised finals from Las Vegas. Ute Mountain Casino, the largest casino in southwest Colorado, is currently hosting three preliminary blackjack tournaments. A total of three seats will be awarded at Ute Mountain Casino, and the stars of blackjack were eagerly looking for the opportunity to seize one of them.

One of those celebrities of blackjack was Regina "BJ Sweetie" Guzior from Michigan. Legally blind, she is credited as one of the best female blackjack players in the country. Well known on the blackjack circuit, Regina uses a "reader" (a person who "sees" for her by letting her know what the cards on the table are, including her own) in order to play. Regina is also one of the most popular players with the fans after being on the reality TV program "Caesars 24/7" and last year's World Series of Blackjack 2005. When asked about her play, Regina remarked "I prefer tournaments; I just love to play big using their (the casino's) money!" A force to be reckoned with, Regina has been playing for ten years. "I was really happy to come here and play, but this tournament threw me off some" Remarked Ms. Guzior. "I hadn't played the format that Ute Mountain did in years. I have been used to playing a set number of hands during the round, but at Ute Mountain it was 21 minutes of play and then five final hands. It really made me re-think my strategy."

Another up and coming star of blackjack in attendance was Darrell "Rock 'n Roll" Arnold of Mississippi. A relative newcomer on the circuit, Darrell has been working at his tournament game for the past three years and making strides. "I'm still a baby in this!" remarked Darrell. "But last year alone I amassed over 61 trophies from different tournaments around the nation. I'm looking forward to making a big impact in this field. Your definitely going to see more of me, especially in the yet to be shown "UBT (Ultimate Blackjack Tour)." With fiery tattoos on his arms, nose jewelry, and long, black and red highlighted hair, he will certainly turn heads too.

Amongst the veterans and well known strategists of the game playing at Ute Mountain was Ken Smith of Mississippi. Ken is a 15 year veteran of the blackjack tournament circuit as well as author and owner of the popular website Blackjackinfo.com. When asked about the future of blackjack and the tournaments he has been involved in, Ken quickly remarked "I think 2006 is going to be the year of blackjack because of the efforts of GSN and the UBT (Ultimate Blackjack Tour). Just as we saw with poker and Texas Hold'em in 2003 with Chris Moneymaker's win, I really think this year you're going to hear a lot more about this game." Since Ken was an invited participant in the final table of last year's WSOBJ 2005 tournament in Vegas, we asked how he handled the stress of having to actually winning a seat in the finals this year. According to Ken "it is all about practice. I have been to so many tournaments now in the past 15 years; I just take it as another day at the tables."

By tournaments end however, none of the pros ended up a winner of the coveted seat to the finals in Las Vegas. That prize was won by Scottie Black of Cal Springs, Arizona. A twenty-four year old amateur, Scotty had won his $100 buy – in to the tournament by playing, and winning, a weekly $10 pre - tournament the Ute Mountain Casino holds on its gaming floor. And who knows? Just as Moneymaker parlayed his $40 internet buy-in to $2.5 million dollars in 2003, Black just might be the next big thing.

Ute Mountain Casino – Hotel and Resort will be hosting their third and final tournament on the 20th and 21st of January with GSN being on site taping some of the action and interviewing the winners for usage in the series. Registration and check-in will be all day Friday the 20th with the tournament being held on Saturday the 21st. Ute Mountain Casino offers a large variety of slot machines and table games with blackjack being one of its most popular card games. Blackjack enthusiasts who would like further information about the Ute Mountain blackjack tournaments can call toll free: 1-800-258-8007.

GSN, the Network for Games, is the only U.S. television network dedicated to game-related programming. The network features game shows, reality series, documentaries and casino games. As the industry leader in interactivity, GSN has allowed viewers to play-along with on-air programming via their computers and GSN.com for some time. The recent launch of GSNi (GSN Interactive) has taken interactivity to the next level, affording viewers the chance to play-along with TV shows using only their remote controls. Reaching more than 57 million Nielsen homes, GSN is distributed in the U.S. through all major cable systems and satellite providers. The network is jointly owned by Sony Pictures Entertainment and Liberty Media Corporation. For further media information, visit GSN's press website at corp.gsn.com.

Located only eleven lucky miles from Cortez, Colorado, The Ute Mountain Casino – Hotel & Resort is the gateway to Colorado, located minutes from Mesa Verde National Park and the Four Corners. Nestled in the shadow of the legendary Sleeping Ute Mountain, The Ute Mountain Casino – Hotel & Resort with its mix of Nevada-style casino games, dining options, and distinctive accommodations offers something for everyone. The Ute Mountain Casino – Hotel & Resort is owned and operated by the Ute Mountain Ute Indian Tribe.

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