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PokerTek, Inc. (NASDAQ:PTEK) shares soared 38% before noon yesterday as traders believed institutional investors were impressed with the company’s presentation at the Goldman Sachs Lodging, Gaming, Restaurant and Leisure Conference.

The company has bagged several new contracts with casinos for its latest PokerPro product in May alone.

PokerTek develops, manufactures and markets electronic poker-related products for use in gaming and amusement markets, targeting both large casinos as well as restaurants.

Any interest by institutional investors could substantially increase the share price. Recent contracts have only added fuel to the fire as the shares continue to head north.

We’re of two minds regarding the company. For one, even after yesterday’s run-up, it’s still trading below $5.50… over 50% below its 52-week high. It has negative EPS of -1.14, and its stock price trajectory has followed that of U.S. consumer sentiment downward. The momentum appears to steep, the trigger to flimsy to validate even a short-term hold.

Venturesome investors should consider a short poition between $5.50 and $6… betting on an equally rapid decline of up to 33% by mid-month.

Disclosure: none