Red dragon rules, OK!

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THE RED DRAGON RULES, LOOK YOU!

Wales is the epicentre of Brit poker

The results of a new gambling research study released this week by market researcher organisation Mintel indicates that 31 percent of the Welsh people who took part in the survey said they had played the game at least once this year. By contrast, this compares with 27 percent of Scots and 22 percent of English, making the folks who fly the red dragon flag tops in the poker pops.

With most of the big tournaments taking place in England, a country with a larger population this may come as surprising news, but Welsh players have bcome more noticeable in both domestic and international competitions. And leading poker television shows such as Late Night Poker are produced in Cardiff - a Welsh concept from a firm called Presentable.

And another Welshman, Steve Bellis (45) is the creative mind behind the pub poker outfit Nuts Poker League, a business that has really taken off since he appeared on BBC2s hit show Dragons Den last year. Bellis became the only contestant to walk away with more money than he wanted. He asked for GBP 50 000 for his idea and was offered GBP 65 000.

In the event, Bellis was too immersed in business to follow through on a contract with Dragons Theo Paphitis and Deborah Meaden because the publicity from the show had such a dramatic impact on his venture. Its growing like you wouldnt believe," he said recently. I think its popularity was down to TV initially and the fact that people come to us because they can play in a live game in a safe and secure environment."

That success is likely to continue - since September 1, low-stakes games have been given the go-ahead to take place in UK pubs.

Mintel analyst Matt King commented: Live games are just as popular as online ones. The social side of the game is an important aspect for many players.
 
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