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Poker Camp For Kids Shuts Down Before Starting

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Good poker player that he is, Larry Klatt knows when to fold 'em.

Mr. Klatt, one of the organizers of a summer camp to teach children to be winning poker players, knew the deck was stacked against him when B.C.'s Solicitor-General called the two-day event "reprehensible."

The camp was to be divided into two groups, with one for 15- to 18-year-olds and the second for players aged 10 to 14. Professionals would teach the youngsters math and analytical skills, in addition to the downfalls of gambling.

"The government was fairly aggressive in letting us know they were going to come down fairly strong on us," Mr. Klatt said yesterday. "We hoped they were keeping up with changes and attitudes. Poker used to be looked down on and it's not looked down on now. You have to educate people and acknowledge that poker is here to stay and the benefits far outweigh the other things."

Solicitor-General John Les, who said he was going to be watching the summer camp "like a hawk" when the camp was first publicized a month ago, amended B.C. gaming regulations this week to force businesses that teach children how to gamble to be licensed.

The camp, which was to culminate in a tournament with prizes, was scheduled to begin in June.

But before the government pulled the plug, Mr. Klatt said the organizers pulled it themselves because they knew British Columbia would shut the camp down.

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