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Bernard Lee Named Official Spokesperson for Foxwoods Casino Resort

Lee Will Promote the Casino for the Next Two Years at Live Poker Events and on His Radio Show, 'The Bernard Lee Poker Show'

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Bernard Lee at Foxwoods Casino ResortFoxwoods Resort Casino announced today that Bernard Lee (pictured right) will be the official spokesperson for the property’s World Poker Tour-branded poker room for the next two years.

“We’re thrilled to add Bernard Lee to the Foxwoods team,” said Mashantucket Pequot Gaming Enterprises (MPGE) President Michael Speller. “Bernard is such a compelling figure on the poker landscape, and we’re certain that his expertise and talent will bring even more excitement and energy to the poker experience at Foxwoods.”

Lee will wear the Foxwoods logo at all participating tournaments moving forward. Additionally, Lee’s radio show, The Bernard Lee Poker Show, is now officially presented by Foxwoods Resort Casino.

“If there is such a thing as a home-court advantage in poker, for me it’s at Foxwoods,” Lee said. “I’m proud and humbled that Foxwoods would choose me to be their official spokesperson among the millions of poker players in the world.”

Lee has made eight final tables (winning three of them) at Foxwoods during his poker career, and he has won $755,000 in prize money at the property.

Other casinos have used players to sponsor specific tournament series in the past (most notably the Scotty Nguyen Poker Challenge at the Cherokee Casino in Oklahoma), but this is the first time a casino has signed a player to a long-term sponsorship contract. In this case, Lee was brought in because of his strong identification with New England poker.

“This sponsorship agreement is a huge breakthrough for the industry,” said Terry Chiaradio, director of poker at Foxwoods Resort Casino. “While online poker rooms have regularly sponsored players, classic brick-and-mortar casinos have yet to establish these relationships. For Foxwoods, this relationship was a perfect fit. I believe other casinos could find a natural match, as well.”

Card Player called Lee the “Voice of Poker in New England” in 2008.

“Although a national and worldwide presence is important, casinos focus their efforts primarily on drawing players from the surrounding regions,” said Chiaradio. “Foxwoods Resort Casino is the premier gaming destination in the region, and Bernard Lee is the top poker personality and professional player in area.”

Lee will be playing in the Foxwoods Mega Stack Challenge XV this week in his first appearance as the official spokesperson for the Foxwoods Casino Resort.

Lee emerged in the poker world when he finished in 13th place in the World Series of Poker main event in 2005, and since that time he has accumulated $1.35 million in career earnings. Lee has also become one of the busiest players in poker media in the last couple of years. He is the radio host of The Bernard Lee Poker Show on 1120 AM in Boston (MoneyMattersRadio.net) and RoundersRadio.com worldwide. He is the co-host of ESPN.com’s weekly poker show, ESPN Inside Deal. Additionally, Lee is the Boston Herald Sunday poker columnist and a regular poker columnist on ESPN. He has also released two books, The Final Table, Volumes I and II, both compilations of his Boston Herald columns.

Bernard LeeCard Player caught up with Lee to discuss the new sponsorship deal recently and here is what he had to say.

Ryan Lucchesi: Congratulations on the sponsorship deal. How do you feel about being signed by Foxwoods and what do you think you can provide to the property during the sponsorship?

Bernard Lee: First and foremost, I’m really, really honored. It’s amazing that they would consider me, and bring me on board as their spokesperson. I think a lot of what they are looking for from me is to bring new excitement and fresh ideas to their poker room. Foxwoods WPT-branded poker room is one of the best rooms in the country and they want to continue that tradition.

RL: You have talked about a home-field advantage at Foxwoods? Why do you identify that casino as your home court?

BL: I was there within the first few months that they opened up in 1992. It has been the site of many of my firsts. It is the first place that I played in a tournament. It is the first place that I played in a big buy-in main event, in the 2004 World Poker Finals. It was the first place that I won a poker tournament title. When you have success somewhere it just feels like home.

RL: You are a very active member of the poker media. How will that bring more exposure to Foxwoods through your sponsorship deal?

BL: A poker player who is solely a poker player … if they don’t have success on the felt, then they don’t have much visibility. One thing with me being very active in the poker media is whether I do well on the felt or not is a bonus, because I have a lot of visibility elsewhere. When you are part of a lot of other ventures, then people will recognize you more. So, if you are sponsored and wearing a logo in that situation, you’re going to be visible.

RL: We have seen casinos sponsor players in smaller regards before and the partnerships are usually short-lived. Do you think now that Foxwoods has stepped up to sponsor you for two years to promote their casino that other properties will follow suit?

BL: I think it is a progression. Sponsorship is the next step for poker to get to a really big level. The World Series of Poker has done a great job of that with mainstream companies. Before players jump to that level the natural progression is from online rooms to brick-and-mortar casinos where a lot of people play. I think Foxwoods had the foresight to see that we could have a good relationship, and they decided to take the plunge. I would not be surprised that if by the end of 2010 we don’t have another player signed by a casino.