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Phil Gordon

As a professional poker player with career winnings of $3.5 million, Phil Gordon usually is the guy making big bets. But the 41-year-old Gordon — a computer scientist and former Netsys exec — just had some folks make a nice-sized gamble on him.

Gordon’s new company, Newport, Washington-based Jawfish Games, recently landed $885,000 in seed capital from Right Side Capital and other angel investors, GeekWire has learned.

Gordon — who was in Seattle last month to participate in the Startup Poker 2.0 tournament — said the money will be used to build out Jawfish’s unique online gaming tournament platform. The first of those games, Word Joust, went live on Facebook a few weeks ago. Players compete head-to-head in real-time as they attempt to solve anagrams in a 16-player bracketed tournament. (I played a few rounds this afternoon, and promptly lost, but one could see how this could get a bit addictive).

“We’re well on our way to proving that tournaments are sticky and fun for players,” said Gordon, adding that additional features and enhancements will be added to the game in about a week.

In addition to the new funding, Gordon said that the company has named Kyle Stewart and Jon Mittelhauser to the board. Gordon has known Mittelhauser — one of the founding engineers of Netscape — for more than 10 years. And Stewart, part of the founding team at Zynga, was introduced to Gordon through Right Side Capital.

“He is a perfect fit for our board and brings deep and valuable experience, contacts, and insight to the company,” said Gordon of Stewart, who also participated in the angel round.  Gordon said that Jawfish will likely try to raise an additional series A round later this year.

Previously on GeekWire: Poker pro Phil Gordon’s 6 steps to startup (and gambling) success

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