|Nick Leeson, the ex-convict rogue trader who bankrupted Barings Bank, was the first guest of Celebpoker.com. The poker site, which launched last night, has a novel twist – it allows punters to try their luck against celebrities. In this case, Leeson, who once lost $100m in one day on the Singapore foreign exchange. Stock markets and casinos are almost synonymous, although you don’t need an MBA from Harvard to play poker online, so the choice of Leeson is appropriate. He gambled £800 million on the stock market, all the while hiding his losses from his superiors at Barings...until it was too late. |
Celebpoker.com’s managing director David Donovan said Leeson's notoriety appeals to gamblers who want bragging rights about taking a celebrity to the cleaners. Donovan thinks the chance to email celebrities while playing will attract online gamblers bored with playing faceless civilian opponents. Upcoming celebrities include snooker player Jimmy White, comedian Kenny Lynch, the magician Michael 'the Jish' Feighan and, maybe, members of the England rugby team.
Leeson said yesterday he had been practicing poker and thought he would have better luck at cards than on the stock market. 'I never played poker until 18 months ago, and I have not really sat down and played people face to face. Online it is a little bit different, but it is still quite a real environment.'