Ben Affleck Wins $356,000 in Poker Tourney

Plus: Clinton celebrates book, Whitney heads to China and more

Photo: Kevin Mazur/WireImage

WON: Ben Affleck, 31, beat Tobey Maguire and nearly 90 other poker players over the weekend to win first place and $356,400 at a major California poker tournament. He now qualifies for a seat at the World Poker Tour Championship next April, reports Reuters. “This is not likely the last time you’ll see Ben Affleck at one of our final tables,” Commerce Casino State Poker Championship spokeswoman Nancy Friedman said. “He has become a respected member of the poker elite and continues to work to improve his game.” Maguire, who turns 29 on Sunday, was knocked out early in the three-day tournament.

PARTIED: Bill Clinton, 57, launched the publication of his memoir, My Life, Monday night at an all-star bash at New York’s Metropolitan Museum of Art. The former president, introduced by his wife and senator, Hillary Rodham Clinton (who referred to the author as her “constituent”), told the guests about the early rash of poor reviews for the 957-page tome: “I wanted to write the book myself. So, if it’s no good – as some say – it’s at least my fault.” Meanwhile, book buyers were lined up overnight at two Manhattan bookstores, where Clinton will sign their copies on Tuesday.

SCHEDULED: Whitney Houston will make her debut concert appearance in China with a July 22 show in Shanghai, in what chief sponsors Shanghai Wenguang News and Media Group promise “will definitely be an emotional show,” according to a news release. The Grammy winner, 40, who completed a drug rehabilitation program earlier this year, received a lifetime achievement award at the Women’s World Awards earlier this month in Germany.

INVITED: The Archbishop of Canterbury, head of the world’s 70 million Anglicans and a self-declared devotee of The Simpsons, could soon land in Springfield. Producers of the animated FOX favorite have asked Rowan Williams, 54, to participate in an episode after he praised the program for its humor and humility, Britain’s Sunday Times reported. A spokesman for the archbishop said he had not yet received an invitation but that it would certainly be considered. “It would be a very intriguing prospect,” he added.

WORRIED: Robert Blake’s latest lawyer, Gerald Schwartzbach, says there is almost no way he’ll be prepared to defend the actor, 70, on charges of murdering his wife by the Sept. 9 trial start date, the Associated Press reports. With 60,000 pages of evidence and a large number of audio and video recordings to review, plus several missing items of evidence to locate, Schwartzbach said beginning the trial in three months is all but impossible.

SCRAPPED: Citing poor ticket sales, organizers of Lollapalooza have pulled the plug on the 31-date, 16-city tour, MTV News reports. The lineup was to have included Morrissey, Sonic Youth, PJ Harvey, the Flaming Lips and the String Cheese Incident, among others. “My heart aches along with the bands and all of our employees whose hard work developed one of the most exciting and important tours that this nation was to see,” Lollapalooza co-founder Perry Farrell said in a statement. “My heart is broken.”

SURPRISED: Phish played a 45-minute public concert in Manhattan Monday, performing above the marquee at the Ed Sullivan Theater on Broadway (home to the Late Show with David Letterman) as a large crowd gathered for the show. The four-man group has announced it is disbanding Aug. 15 with a concert in their home state of Vermont. Only those who had checked the Phish and Late Show Web sites knew of Monday’s performance beforehand.

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