Did you miss any of the top poker news stories this week? Well you've come to the right place to get caught up. We're covering the latest in Nevada's efforts to legalize online poker, Rafael Nadal joining Team PokerStars, and more.
Big Steps for Nevada
Nevada is making progress in achieving real-money online poker in the near future.
On Thursday, slot machine developers Bally Technologies and International Game Technology (IGT) were approved for online gaming licenses by the Nevada Gaming Commission. The licenses were the first of their kind in U.S. history, and the door is now open for more operators to receive licenses in the state.
Bally and IGT will offer online poker and other interactive games to Nevada casinos looking to compete in the market. First, though, the companies need to have their technology tested by the board and the state before being given authorization to provide real-money games.
"We are grateful to the State of Nevada for this opportunity," said Bally Technologies CEO Richard Haddrill on Thursday. "We look forward to Bally expanding its leadership role in this exciting new arena of online gaming."
Read more at PokerNews.com.
New Jersey Bill Moves to Assembly
A bill that would permit online gambling in New Jersey advanced through a legislative committee on Monday and will now move to the Assembly for a full vote.
The Assembly Budget and Appropriations Committee passed A2578 by a vote of 6-0 with three abstentions. The bill allows for licensed casinos located in Atlantic City to offer authorized games — including poker — to residents of the state. Supporters of the bill believe it will help boost Atlantic City’s casinos which suffered the biggest revenue drop in the country last year at 9.5 percent. Casinos in neighboring Pennsylvania and Delaware have been siphoning business from New Jersey since 2006.
Another Internet gambling bill is making its way through the Senate, but New Jersey State Sen. Raymond Lesniak told PokerNews last month that the bill likely will not be voted on until fall because of Gov. Chris Christie's "ambivalence" on the issue. Lesniak had predicted that online poker would be up and running in New Jersey by the end of the year, but Christie has gone back and forth on Internet gambling since last year.
Read more at NJ.com.
Poker's New Ambassador
Spanish tennis icon Rafael Nadal is the newest member of Team PokerStars.
The seven-time French Open winner and 2008 Olympic Gold Medalist has joined Boris Becker, Fatima Moreira de Melo and Marcus Hellner on Team SportStars. Nadal will devote time to playing online at PokerStars once his tennis season slows down later this year.
“It’s no secret that I love to compete and try my very best in everything, whether that’s tennis, golf or video games,” Nadal said. “When I discovered the game of poker, I chose to join PokerStars because they understand what it takes to be the best and associate themselves with the qualities of champions. I’m very happy to be working with them.”
Nadal will no doubt serve as the front man for PokerStars' marketing campaign in Spain. Poker was legalized in Spain earlier this month, and online poker rooms are battling for a share of the burgeoning market. Before signing Nadal, the Team PokerStars Spain roster was made up of Ana Marquez, Juan Manuel Pastor and Poli Rincon. As of Thursday, however, Nadal was listed as a United Kingdom Pro in the PokerStars lobby.
For more, read the story at PokerNews.com.
The iPoker Network has announced a new policy that will see the network divided into two tiers beginning in September.
iPoker is the world's largest online poker network with more than 40 skins, each sharing the same player pool. However, under the new policy, iPoker skins which fail to meet a certain set of criteria will be downgraded to a sub-network, limiting them to a secondary liquidity pool. Beginning July 1, skins will be required to maintain a base of at least 6,000 active players, as well as 850 new real-money players per month. According to Playtech, which operates the iPoker Network, "failing to meet any of these standards will cause a separation of the card room from the network main liquidity pool.”
PokerScout.com's online poker traffic rankings have iPoker ranked second worldwide, trailing only PokerStars. William Hill, Titan Poker, Paddy Power Poker and Bet365 are among the bigger skins residing on the network, but only time will tell whether they land in the upper tier come September.
Read more at Pokerfuse.
Availability for the $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop event is drying up fast, but professional gambler Haralabos Voulgaris was able to find a gainful way to enter the event last the weekend.
On Sunday, PTPRPoker reported that Voulgaris purchased a One Drop ticket from Carlos Nahas, who won his $1 million seat in a $25,000 satellite in Montreal last month. Voulgaris reportedly negotiated a deal with Nahas and Keith Hamilton, who had won his seat to the $25,000 One Drop qualifier via a slot-machine contest and let Nahas play for him.
Voulgaris had mentioned on Twitter in past weeks that he was interested in playing the highly anticipated tournament. He told PTPRPoker that his main motivation for playing was the value in playing against a weaker field. "It's a high buy-in tournament, so that aspect of it is very exciting," said Voulgaris. "In addition the field isn't exactly replete with professionals. There are a lot of casual players entered in this tournament so I think it's quite possibly one of the highest EV tournaments ever."
David Einhorn, a hedge fund manager from New York, has also been confirmed as one of the entrants in next month's $1 million buy-in Big One for One Drop at the World Series of Poker.
Einhorn is the founder and President of Greenlight Capital, a $7.8 billion hedge fund in Manhattan. Bloomberg News reported Friday that Einhorn is one of at least 42 confirmed participants in the One Drop event, and he plans to donate all of his winnings in the tournament to City Year, a charity focused on keeping kids in school and on track to graduate.
The prize pool for the Big One for One Drop sits at more than $37,000,000. The event is expected to meet its 48-player cap, with the winner receiving more than $16 million.
Celina Lin Wins Macau Poker Cup
Team PokerStars Pro Celina Lin won her second Macau Poker Cup Red Dragon Main Event on Monday. Lin outlasted a field of 391 players in the HKD $10,000 event to secure a payday of HKD $854,000 ($107,605) and her second Red Dragon trophy in less than three years.
Lin won a back-and-forth heads-up battle against Qi Ming Fan to lock up the title. On the final hand of the tournament, Fan was all in with on a board of and was trailing Lin's . The river brought the and Lin's two pair held up to give her the victory.
Lin last won the event in July 2009, defeating a field of 168 players to win HKD $394,800 ($50,932). She also took third in the Red Dragon Main Event in October for HKD $145,800 ($18,731).
"I always wanted to be the first female champion, but I thought it was impossible to win it twice," Lin told the PokerStars Blog Monday.
Here's a look at the final table results:
|2||Qi Ming Fan||$589,100|
|3||Chul Woo Park||$351,200|
|4||Chang Rak Choi||$278,300|
Read the full event recap at the PokerStars Blog.
Ivey is #1
It took 17 weeks to supplant Jonathan Duhamel atop the Global Poker Index Player of the Year race. Leave it to Phil Ivey to handle the dirty work.
Ivey climbed nine spots to No. 1 in this week's GPI Player of the Year standings after an incredible start to the 2012 World Series of Poker. Ivey made four final tables in the span of 10 days, including a runner-up finish in the $10,000 Pot Limit Hold'em Championship for $279,559. Combined with his success at the 2012 Aussie Millions, Ivey boasts a GPI score of 629.12 — more than 30 points better than Duhamel's total of 595.68.
Duhamel, Dan Smith, Marvin Rettenmaier and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier rounded out the top five of the rankings, respectively. Grospellier jumped three spots with the help of a sixth place finish in the $3,000 No Limit Hold'em Six-Handed event at the WSOP. Grospellier now has four final tables in 2012, including a victory at the European Poker Tour Berlin Eight-Max tournament.
Here's a look at the Top 10 of the Global Poker Index Player of the Year standings:
|Place||Player||Total Score||Change in Rank|
|5||Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier||514.31||+3|
The Global Poker Index Player of the Year, presented by PokerNews, honors the player who has the strongest performance in live tournaments during the calendar year, according to the USA Today Global Poker Index point system.
For the full GPI Player of the Year standings, head on over to EpicPoker.com.
Jungleman WSOP Challenge Update
The cutoff date for Dan "Jungleman" Cates' WSOP Main Event Challenge has passed, and Cates is leaving it up to the poker community to determine the winner.
Last month, Cates offered to give away Main Event seat to a person who performs a good deed and records it on video. More than 30 videos were submitted to Cates before Wednesday's deadline. The winner will also receive free air travel and a free room at the Rio, as well as free poker lesson from Cates himself.
Here's a look at one of the entries:
For more, visit PartyPoker.com.
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