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Ryan McLane

Ryan  McLane
Ryan McLane was a poker reporter for Casino City. Although he has a strong background in reporting, the same can't be said for his poker skills. He has never won a major tournament nor is he a professional player. Currently, Ryan lives in Boston and occasionally makes international treks to cover tournament poker and news.

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Final Chance to Play in the Lavalife Party Poker Challenge

1 Jun 2006

By Ryan McLane

Players looking to win a trip for two to the Turks & Caicos Islands, earn a 50-inch plasma screen TV, or find their soul mate have one more chance tonight - Thursday, June 1.

The Lavalife Party Poker Challenge, a series of 12 tournaments designed to give single poker players a chance to meet, will hold its final qualifying tournament on that date, giving 20 more players a chance to play in the $25,000 final on June 8.

So far, 200 players have received spots in the final by placing in the top 20 in their respective qualifying tournaments. Every player in the challenge finals will leave with at least a $25 gift certificate to a leading vendor.

"I'm happy with the gift certificate," said 23-year old Rich Bloom, a tournament qualifier and an employee at Casino City. "Although I'd be lying if I said I didn't want the trip for two or a big screen TV."

Bloom decided to play in the tournament after hearing about the freeroll online at . To play, he had to be a member at the online single's site Lavalife and Party Poker. After registering at both sites, Bloom played and qualified.

For Bloom, the best part of the tournament was the free entry, but another significant draw was the fact that most registered players don't show up for the tournament, giving him 11 chances to qualify with large amounts of dead money.

In an attempt to boost participation, Party Poker automatically registers players for every qualifying tournament, meaning Bloom only had to sign on to his account every Thursday to play. Now that Bloom's in the finals, he'll get a chance to parlay his victory into a bigger prize at no cost to himself.

"It's a fun tournament where you don't need to be a professional to qualify for the final tournament," Bloom said. "If you lose, it's fine because you didn't invest any real money."

Three Casino City employees have already qualified for the final tournament, besting more than 700 players in a weekly qualifier to earn a final tournament seat. In all three cases, the Casino City players had no live opponents at their opening table, an advantage that allowed them to amass chips early without a contest.

Many of the participants who were polled during online play experienced the same phenomenon, giving players with little to no tournament poker experience a good shot at the $25,000 prize pool.

"I played because it was a freeroll," participant and Casino City employee Steven Corfman said. "I was taking a break from real-money play since I'd lost a lot recently, so naturally any chance to win something without putting my own money at risk was exciting to me. The whole dating theme didn't really sway me, it was more just the fact that it was a small freeroll. I figured with so few people I actually had a chance to win." Those who actually come looking for a date, however, may be disappointed. There are many more men that women and although a player has the ability chat up a potential date at their table, Party Poker denies players the chat option from table to table.

This means even if you happen to find a possible suited connection, you'd have to avoid being moved to a different table, or busting out in order to continue a conversation, both of which are sometimes impossible.

"The whole theme of flirting and finding love doesn't really work when there is only one real person at each table and you can't use the chat feature at a table aside from the one you're seated at," the 24-year old Corfman said. "Now suppose there were live players at the table and you're in the middle of a charming conversation. Better not bust out, or the conversation is over."

Officials at Party Poker continue to say that the tournament is a place for singles to meet, but in reality, the series is nothing more than a giant freeroll with decent odds for players who a.) Show up, and b.) Only came to play poker.

The final qualifying tournament takes place Thursday, June 1 and only players who finish in the top 20 in a qualifier are allowed entry into the June 8 finals.

The good news for players who do qualify for the finals is that the player pool is for the final is limited to 220 players, giving participants a realistic shot at taking home a decent-sized title.

Casino City will be covering the Lavalife Party Poker Challenge live. Look for updated articles in our network of Web sites.

For more information on the Lavalife Party Poker Challenge, visit Make sure to sign up with Casino City, your reliable home for original poker and gaming news.

Ryan McLane is a gaming industry reporter for Casino City and is assigned to the poker beat. Email your comments and questions to him at .

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