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The Weekly Turbo: Peter Easgate Comes Out of Retirement, Ashton Griffin's Prop Bet, and More

If you missed any of the news this week, we're here to catch you up on everything. We'll give you the scoop on Peter Eastgate coming out of retirement, Ashton Griffin's insane prop bet, and more.

NBC National Heads Up Championship; Eastgate Out of Retirement

It's that time again. The NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship is just around the corner, and some of the players have been announced, including Peter Eastgate, who has come out of retirement.

The seventh annual NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship kicks off on March 3 at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas. The event will run through March 6 and will bring together 64 of the world's best poker players to compete for their part of the $1.8 million prize pool.

"We are proud to broadcast the National Heads-Up Poker Championship for a seventh consecutive year for our viewers to see some of the most exciting poker in the world,” Jon Miller, president of programming of NBC Sports and Versus said. “You never know what match-ups you are going to get in Heads-Up. Every year we are amazed with the outcome of who beats who when the best of the best battle it out.”

Players already confirmed include, last year's winner, Annie Duke, Phil Ivey, Vanessa Rousso, Doyle Brunson, Daniel Negreanu, 2010 WSOP Main Event champion Jonathan Duhamel, Erik Seidel, and Eastgate.

“Year after year, I look forward to competing among the toughest competition out there that the Heads-Up tournament brings together for fans to see nationwide,” Duke said. “I am excited to compete against the skill and mental toughness that my fellow poker players will showcase on the tables.”

For more, check out the press release.

Eastgate Speaks

We were surprised, as we're sure you probably were, to see Peter Eastgate's name on the list of attendees for the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship and wonder whether he was coming out of retirement for good. Eastgate has since released a statement about his return.

"Sometimes in life a person can feel lost and wake up one morning not recognizing who he is. Last summer that was how I felt. Prior to winning the WSOP in 2008, my life was very much a good solid routine of playing online poker and hanging out with my friends and family. Winning the WSOP changed that. I relocated to London and started a new life, the life of a high profile poker pro. For almost 2 years I was in a constant spotlight, travelling from poker tournament to poker tournament, doing thousands of interviews and never had a chance to catch my breath. In the whirlwind that followed winning the WSOP I lost track of the most importing thing in my life, myself....I do not consider this a comeback, as I always knew there was a good chance I would play poker again. During my hiatus from poker, PokerStars have been very supportive. Therefore, I am pleased that I will start out with playing two events where I will be sponsored by PokerStars."

There's plenty more where that came from, but you'll have to check out the PokerStars Blog for the full statement.

The Million Dollar Bet

Haseeb "InternetPokers" Quereshi took to his blog to recount the million-dollar prop bet that went down recently with Ashton Griffin. Quershi talks about how the bet began and how the money was booked. Then he recounts Griffin actually performing the bet and how he called his mother and sister for support and his mother telling them the bet was over and how horrible his "friends" were for making him do this.

"It was almost 11:00PM and Ashton was still in his bedroom. He had completed 30 miles of the 70. Midnight would be the halfway point in the bet, and it seemed that he still had not gotten a wink of sleep. At this point, I was positive that the bet was over. Ashton had simply underestimated his own exhaustion. He had not even reached half of the mileage - and the first marathon would be the easiest. There was no way he could run the second and third marathons at a faster pace. I thought my role would be to explain to his parents what all had happened and why. I thought it was over," wrote Quereshi.

Read all of Part 1 and Part 2 for the whole story.

High-Stakes Poker Changes

The seventh season of High-Stakes Poker is going to have a few changes. We've already told you that your favorites, (Phil Ivey, Tom Dwan, Patrik Antonius, etc.) would not be making appearances. Well, there's one more familiar face who won't be on the show - Gabe Kaplan. Who will be replacing him, you might ask. Norm MacDonald will be taking over as host from Kaplan. He'll be joined by Kara Scott who will be returning for her behind-the-scenes looks at the show.

Not only that, but if you've got 3D glasses, you can bust those out and put them on because the show will air in 3D on DirecTV's n3D channel.

We're sure you're wondering who's actually going to play on the show this year, so here are a few names to get you by: Daniel Negreanu, Antonio Esfandiari, Johnny Chan, Doyle Brunson, Vanessa Selbst, Jason Mercier, and 2010 World Series of Poker champion, Jonathan Duhamel.

If you want a full cast list, and more on the host change, you can head on over to BuzzerBlog.com.

PH, Meet W

Over the weekend, Phil Hellmuth met former President George W. Bush at his presidential library. He tweeted a photo of him with the former President and Condoleezza Rice. While we're curious to see if tweets will come later this year like "Dinner with W at his Texas ranch," we'll have to wait and see. Poker Show host Jesse May caught up with Hellmuth to discuss his meeting, among other things.

"I go to meet Bush and I hand him a signed book and a signed beer can. He thinks the beer can is the coolest thing ever," Hellmuth said.

Hellmuth recounts his initial meeting, then going back over to meet Condoleezza Rice and talking to Bush yet again. "We hit it off really well," he said.

Tony G took to his blog to offer up $100 for the best caption submitted for the photo.

Listen to the Poker Show and leave your best caption to try to win $100 of Tony G's money on the PartyPoker Blog.

Welcome to the Team!

Team PokerStars Online has announced the addition of 15 new members, doubling its roster. The mysterious Mer "PeachyMer" Brit is one of the newest faces on the team, along with Shane "Shaniac" Schleger, Andrew "foucault82" Brokos, Dale "daleroxxu" Philip, among others.

Regarding Brit's signing, Team PokerStars Online member and PokerNews Strategy's Randy "nanonoko" Lew said, "I have so much respect for Mer's tournament game. Her success in tournaments has inspired me to work on my game to reach her level. Beyond poker, I can confidently say she's one of my best 
friends."

The new pros will be blogging, tweeting, and chatting with their fans at the tables at PokerStars.

“I have always been able to relate to a wide range of players, from the 20-something crowd to the guys who have been playing since before I was born; and although I enjoy live poker, travelling the circuit and meeting players from around the world, I am, and always have been, the most happy and comfortable grinding PokerStars tournaments from my living room," Schleger said.

Read more on the PokerStars Blog.

Light Group to Buy Rio?

Rumors are swirling again regarding the Rio All-Suites Hotel and Casino. Robin Leach's recent story on Las Vegas Weekly alludes to giant nightlife company The Light Group as the purchaser of the property. The Light Group owns night clubs up and down the Las Vegas Strip, including Jet, The Bank, and Haze.

According to Leach, he has heard from three reliable sources that The Light Group was looking to purchase the Rio. The Light Group has started expanding since last year and there was a rumor that TLG owner Andrew Sassoon was looking to buy the Hard Rock Hotel. "That rumor was promptly denied, but I had a hunch that I’d gotten the right information but the wrong hotel," wrote Leach.

Nothing has been confirmed or denied yet, but we'll be sure to bring you any news once we hear it.

Read more from Leach at LasVegasWeekly.com.

World Poker Tour Returns to Television Sets

We can't count how many times we've told you about the new and improved World Poker Tour, and quite frankly, we're too lazy to count. If you don't know anything about it, here are some key things you should know: Kimberly Lansing is returning and will be the show's anchor, handling interviews, etc. Tony Dunst has a spot on the show, hosting the Raw Deal segment in which he picks apart the action, and, of course, who could forget the Royal Flush Girls, the new brand ambassadors of the show.

If you haven't been able to make it to a World Poker Tour stop this season, you'll be able to catch all the changes on your television sets beginning this Sunday, Feb. 13, at 8:00 p.m. and 11:00 p.m. local time on FSN.

The broadcast is taking a new approach, including coverage from Day 1 action, to show you how the final six made it to the final table, a four-color deck will be implemented, as well as new stats on the players, and new theme music from NFL Flims' Emmy-Award winning Tom Hedden.

“As Season IX rolls out, fans will find all the great poker action they’ve come to expect with a new, faster-paced, edgier tone,” Steve Heller, CEO of World Poker Tour said. “We are introducing new elements, graphics and talent throughout the season. Each week viewers are guaranteed to see something unexpected and uniquely WPT.”

Be sure to check your local listings so you don't miss out on the new show, and if you want to find out more, head on over to WorldPokerTour.com.

Opa!

PokerStars has announced a partnership with Club Hotel Casino Loutraki in Athens, Greece, which will bring the first major poker tournaments to take place in Greece. The collaboration will begin March 24 with the Greek Poker Cup Main Event. The €1,000+€100 no-limit Texas hold'em tournament will run through March 27 and will have a 200-player cap.

“We are honoured to have the privilege of producing this historic event with Club Hotel Casino Loutraki at their incredible holiday resort of Loutraki, easily accessible from the historic capital of Greece,” Jeffrey Haas, spokesman for the Greek Poker Cup said. “We expect the best poker players in Greece to compete for their first poker Championship title, and I’m sure we’ll see exciting visceral action from the moment the cards are in the air.”

Club Hotel Casino Loutraki opened the first poker room in Greece in September and with 14 tables is the largest live poker room in the country. “We are very happy with this new collaboration and we see PokerStars as a strategic partner. Club Hotel Casino Loutraki is the first casino in Greece that introduced Texas Hold’em in the country and we are looking forward to this international gaming experience," General Manager of CHCL Alexandros Doukas said.

Qualify for the Greek Poker Cup on PokerStars today!

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