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Poker Hall Of Famer Wins Big As Company Agrees To Buy Stratosphere Casino On Las Vegas Strip

Lyle Berman's Golden Entertainment To Buy ACEP

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Poker Hall of Famer and three-time bracelet winner Lyle Berman hasn’t made a final table at the World Series of Poker in years, but that doesn’t mean he isn’t winning big this summer.

Berman, director and the second largest shareholder of Las Vegas-based Golden Entertainment, saw his net worth increase this week when the company announced that it has agreed to acquire four Nevada casinos, including the iconic Stratosphere on the Strip.

The deal to take over American Casino & Entertainment Properties, owner of the Stratosphere, Arizona Charlie’s Decatur, Arizona Charlie’s Boulder and the Aquarius Casino Resort in Laughlin, is worth $850 million, according to a press release.

ACEP is controlled by a division of Goldman Sachs.

The deal includes $781 million in cash plus about four million shares of Golden Entertainment stock. The news of the deal caused Golden’s stock to rise 8.1 percent to close at $20 per share, according to a report from Startribune.com.

Berman owns 9.1 percent of the firm.

Golden will own eight gambling facilities between Nevada, Montana and Maryland after the deal closes. The company will have about 16,000 slot machines under its control.

Berman, a Minnesota native, co-founded a casino company called Grand Casinos in the 1990s, which later became Lakes Entertainment. Lakes in 2015 bought a company called Golden Gaming, and the combined company was then renamed to Golden Entertainment.

Berman won bracelets in 1989, 1992 and 1994. He also has four runner-up finishes on the poker tournament world’s biggest stage.

His tournament earnings are excellent, but his cash game winnings might dwarf anything he has ever done in a tournament. When Berman was inducted into the Gaming Hall of Fame last year, billionaire casino mogul Steve Wynn said that he had “lost a lot of money sitting across the poker tables from Lyle.”

Prior to this summer, his most recent WSOP cash came in 2011. However, through the first two weeks of the 2017 series, Berman recorded a 14th place finish in the $10,000 dealer’s choice and a 20th in the $2,500 limit mixed triple draw lowball.

The Stratosphere has a long history with poker players. The casino was developed by the late Bob Stupak, a high-stakes poker player who won a bracelet in 1989.