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Friday, July 18th, 2008

Uh-Oh! Ex-Con in WSOP Final!

Written by Tom Somach in Poker News

One of the nine players who made the 2008 World Series of Poker (WSOP) Main Event final table is an ex-convict who is still wanted on criminal charges in Florida.

According to a story this week in the Sun-Sentinel, a newspaper in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, USA, final table qualifier David “Chino” Rheem was convicted eight years ago in Broward County, Florida, on charges of burglary, dealing in stolen property, larceny and marijuana possession.

The burglary and dealing in stolen property charges were felonies and the larceny and marijuana possession charges were misdemeanors, the newspaper reported.

For the offenses, Rheem was sentenced to a total of four months in prison, followed by 30 months of probation, the newspaper reported.

In addition, in 2003 Rheem failed to appear in court on a misdemeanor trespassing charge in Hollywood, Florida, the newspaper reported.

For that charge, a court order was issued for his arrest, and that arrest warrant remains active, the newspaper reported.

Rheem, 28, a professional poker player, now lives in Los Angeles, California, USA.

The WSOP Main Event opened in Las Vegas, Nevada, USA, two weeks ago, with 6,844 participants.

Twelve days later, the field was whittled down to just nine players–the so-called “final table.”

Instead of continuing play until a final champion is left, as was done the last 38 years, the WSOP is pausing the action for four months to maximize publicity.

“The world will have four months to get to know the Main Event final table participants,” WSOP flacks cried when the change was announced earlier this year. “They’ll all become household names. It will be great publicity.”

Yup, four months of news media reports about one of the WSOP Main Event final table participants being a thieving, drug-using ex-con on the lam.

Great publicity.

(E-mail Tom Somach at [email protected].)

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