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Affleck plays his cards right for $356,000 poker win

HE HARDLY needs the money, but Ben Affleck has banked $356,400 in winnings at the poker table. The Hollywood actor also earned a place in poker's world championship next month.

HE HARDLY needs the money, but Ben Affleck has banked $356,400 in winnings at the poker table.

The Hollywood actor, who commands up to $15m a film, also earned a place in poker's world championship next month, ahead of some of its sharpest professionals.

Affleck (31) played in the three-day knock-out no-limit "Texas hold'em" contest, in which each player is given two cards, then makes the best hand with five common cards.

His success at the 2004 California State Poker Championship, qualifies him to take part in the World Poker Championship at the Bellagio hotel in Las Vegas next April.

Affleck told organisers that he plans to make a bid for the world's highest poker prize. In the final hand, with the table of nine players whittled down to just two, Affleck was dealt a pair of jacks. When the first three common cards were revealed to be a 10, a 6 and a 3, he raised his bet by $30,000.

His opponent, Stan Goldstein, a professional poker player, had an ace and 10 of diamonds in his hand, which with the 10 in the "flop" of common cards gave him a respectable pair of 10s, raised a further $30,000.

However, the final two cards revealed by the dealer were an 8 and a 4, leaving Affleck with the winning hand.

Affleck's interest in poker caused the break-up of his engagement to singer and actress Jennifer Lopez.

Ms Lopez believed he had exchanged his alcohol addiction, for which he has spent two periods in rehab, for a gambling habit. She gave him an ultimatum: give up poker or move out.

Earlier this month Ms Lopez married Marc Anthony, a singer and her former boyfriend. (© The Times, London)

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