The long Thanksgiving weekend is behind us, and we hope you (and your credit card) survived the second "Black Friday" of 2011. Plenty happened during the holiday weekend, including a settlement in Tobey Maguire's Hollywood poker lawsuit, the retirement announcement of Congressman Barney Frank, and a new champion crowned at the World Poker Tour. We'll cover those stories and more in the Nightly Turbo.
In Case You Missed It
John Stolzmann won the World Poker Tour World Poker Open in 2005 for $1.49 million. What has he been up to since? We caught up with Stolzmann to find out in the latest edition of Where Are They Now.
How did the Sunday Majors play out on PokerStars? Who took home the biggest win? Find out in the Sunday Briefing.
Phil Collins is coming off a fifth-place finish at the World Series of Poker Main Event. We asked him about some of his favorite hobbies away from the table in the latest Off The Felt piece.
When did Team PokerStars Pro André Akkari get his big break in poker? Find out that and more in the second part of Seat Open with André Akkari.
Tobey Maguire Settles Hollywood Poker Lawsuit
Earlier this year, Spider-Man star Tobey Maguire was one of 22 people sued for their winnings in a high-stakes Hollywood poker game organized by a criminal Beverly Hills hedge fund manager. On Nov. 22, Maguire reportedly agreed to an $80,000 settlement with a bankruptcy trustee who is trying to recoup more than $30 million in lost funds, the Associated Press reported on Monday.
Maguire was being sued for more than $300,000 for winnings he earned from the invitation-only games organized by businessman Bradley Ruderman, who is serving a 10-year prison sentence for running a Ponzi scheme to pay off debts. Ruderman operated a wire-fraud and investment-adviser fraud scheme that lost investors $25 million, and then allegedly lost another $5.2 million in the high-stakes cash games trying to win the money back.
According to the Associated Press, 14 of the 22 people sued have agreed to settlements in their cases. Former High Stakes Poker host Gabe Kaplan also agreed to pay $26,900 after he was sued to try to recoup nearly $63,000 in winnings, according to the AP report. All of the money recouped will be used to repay the victims of Ruderman's Ponzi scheme.
Read the full Associated Press story at the Washington Post.
Barney Frank To Step Down
On Monday, Barney Frank (D-Mass.) announced that he will not return to Congress for a 17th term in 2012. Frank, one of the major political advocates for the legalization of online poker, cited changes to the new congressional map as a major factor in his decision to step down.
"I was planning to run again, and then the congressional redistricting came," Frank, 71, said at a press conference in his hometown of Newton, Mass.
During his time with the House Financial Services Committee, Frank has introduced several bills pushing for online poker legislation in the U.S. In his most recent venture, Frank served as a sponsor for Congressman John Campbell's Internet Gambling Regulation, Consumer Protection, and Enforcement Act (H.R.1174). The proposed bill was referred to the House Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism, and Homeland Security in June, but no action has been taken since.
Frank also recently testified on behalf of Internet poker at a House Energy and Commerce subcommittee hearing. He has arguably been the biggest driving force behind the legalization of online poker since the Unlawful Internet Gambling Enforcement Act (UIGEA) was passed in 2006.
Read more about Frank's retirement announcement at the Wall Street Journal.
Mohamed Ali Houssam Wins WPT Marrakech
Mohamed Ali Houssam bested a field of 246 players to win the €3,000 World Poker Tour event in Marrakech over the weekend. Houssam, playing in his home country of Morocco, entered the final day as the chip leader and emerged as the champion to collect $267,011 and his first WPT title.
The nine-handed final was stacked with well-known pros, including Team PokerStars Pros Jonathan Duhamel, Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier and Arnaud Mattern. Grospellier (eighth place) and Duhamel (seventh place) hit the rail early, and Mattern was eliminated in fourth place when his ace-eight couldn't improve against the pocket sevens of Maksim Martinov.
Martinov was sent packing in third place after taking a brutal beat to Toufik Ourini, setting up a heads-up match between Houssam and Ourini for the title. The two players began with nearly identical stacks, but Houssam secured the win by flopping a set of eights against Toufik's top pair on the final hand of the tournament. With the victory, Houssam also received a $25,000 seat into the WPT World Championship at Bellagio in May.
Final Table Payouts
|1||Mohammed Ali Houssam||$267,011|
|8||Bertrand “ElkY” Grospellier||$30,699|
Rush Poker Not Patentable?
While it will likely be a while before players can fire up some Rush Poker tables at Full Tilt Poker, a new online poker room will soon be launching its own version of the popular fast-paced variant. The InstaDeal Poker Network is set to introduce a similar form of Rush Poker after drawing on legal advice that Full Tilt Poker did not meet the necessary requirements to patent the concept.
Full Tilt Poker applied for a patent on Rush Poker in several global markets back in 2007, but InstaDeal Chairman Per Hildebrand recently told eGamingReview that Rush Poker “was never patentable” as Full Tilt only met one of the three criteria required to be granted a patent. Hildebrand claims that the feedback he received from his attorneys gave him enough security to move forward with his own project.
“From that time on we were confident they were never going to get a patent for it," Hildebrand told eGamingReview.
Hildebrand, the former chief executive of the Entraction Network, says he's surprised that no other online poker room beat him to the punch. “PokerStars has suggested launching something similar and no one really knows what they’re up to but we gather that they’re looking into the legals. In all honesty I’m a little surprised that they haven’t launched anything yet,” Hildebrand added.
Read more about this story at eGamingReview.
Kahnawake Gaming Commission Suspends 24Poker License
Online poker room 24Poker had all of its games blocked late last week after its license was suspended by the Kahnawake Gaming Commission. The Microgaming network, which provides the software for 24Poker, released the following statement about the decision:
"Microgaming today announced that all game play on the 24Poker website has been blocked due to the Kahnawake Gaming Commission suspending 24Poker’s gaming license. Both Microgaming and the Kahnawake Gaming Commission have tried without success to contact the 24 Poker Management Team. Further announcements will be made as additional information becomes available.”
Players began having cash-out problems at 24Poker beginning in September and weren't receiving any responses to e-mails regarding the issues. The site, which is owned by BPRServices Limited, had been licensed by the KGC since 2004. Its license was not due to expire until January 2012.
The KGC's press release regarding 24Poker can be found at gamingcommission.ca.
PokerStars Announces $10K High Roller
PokerStars has added another event to celebrate its upcoming 10th anniversary. The site has announced a $10,300 High Roller tournament that will run alongside the first-ever $10 Million Sunday Million, making for what will be one of the most exciting Sunday grinds online poker has ever seen.
The High Roller event will feature a $500,000 guarantee and gets underway at 1530 ET (2230 GMT) on Sunday, Dec. 18. Two players are already registered — Toby "810ofclubs" Lewis and Team PokerStars Online Pro Mickey "mement_mori" Petersen — and dozens more will likely sign up before registration closes.
Get more information on the 10th Anniversary $10K High Roller at the PokerStars Blog.
WAG Diaries From Macau
In the latest edition of the WAG diaries, Lynn Gilmartin catches up with Team PokerStars Pro Bryan Huang to test how much he knows about his soon-to-be wife, Summer Ha.