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The Nightly Turbo: Tom Dwan Versus Viktor Blom, NBC Heads-Up Poker Championship Returns

Professionals

Tom " durrrr" Dwan and Viktor "Isildur1" Blom haven't had any epic battles at Full Tilt Poker since 2010, but that's about to change this weekend. We're bringing you that story, plus the return of the NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship, in this edition of the Nightly Turbo.

In Case You Missed It

Zynga is making a move to enter the real-money gaming market in Nevada. Get the full story here at PokerNews.com.

The 2012 World Poker Tour Doyle Brunson Five Diamond World Poker Classic resumed Wednesday in Las Vegas. Michael Mizrachi finished Day 2 as the leader, but several notables were right on his heels.

The Full Tilt Online Poker Series (FTOPS) resumed on Wednesday. Who took down the biggest score? Find out in our FTOPS XXI Day 4 recap.

Phil Hellmuth is moving up the Global Poker Index after his impressive run at the World Series of Poker this year. Did he do enough to crack the top five in this week's rankings? Mickey Doft breaks down the biggest movers and shakers of the GPI.

Day 1c of the 2012 World Poker Tour Prague Main Event took place on Tuesday. Yannick Bonnet was the leader with 197,200 chips, just 7,000 more than Kevin MacPhee.

Clash Of The Professionals

Online railbirds will have good reason to log into Full Tilt Poker on Sunday. At 15:00 ET, Tom "durrrr" Dwan and Viktor "Isildur1" Blom will face off at the site for the first time in nearly two years, each putting up $100,000 across four tables for a winner-take-all heads-up match.

Blom announced the terms of the match via Twitter on Thursday:

Viktor Blomthe poker gods and @FullTiltPoker have answered my tweets. @TomDwan has accepted my challenge and wants to play this Sunday :)
Viktor Blomme and @TomDwan will play @FullTiltPoker for $100k a side to start, 4 tables, nlhe. this is yrs in the making and will be so fun!

Dwan and Blom make up two-thirds of The Professionals, Full Tilt Poker's pro team (Gus Hansen is the other member). But the two cash-game specialists have battled for millions of dollars in the past, playing some of the biggest pots in online poker history. Blom has gotten the best of Dwan for the most part, taking more than $4.5 million from his nemesis during their previous encounters at Full Tilt Poker, according to Poker Table Ratings.

During a four-day stretch in 2009, Dwan lost more than $3 million to the Swede. At that time, Blom's real identity was unknown; it wasn't until the 2011 PokerStars Caribbean Adventure that Blom was revealed as the mysterious Isildur1.

Although this doesn't quite have the feel of some of their previous battles, we still expect some eye-popping action at Full Tilt Poker on Sunday. Be sure to check out PokerNews on Monday for the results.

NBC Brings Back National Heads-Up Poker Championship

After a one-year hiatus, the popular NBC National Heads-Up Poker Championship will return in 2013, according to a Twitter post by POKER PROductions on Thursday.

The $20,000 buy-in event will run from Jan. 24 through 26 at Caesars Palace, the same venue where the event was held from 2005 through 2011. POKER PROductions announced Thursday that episodes will arrive in March and run for six consecutive weeks. Each episode will air for two hours.

The event posted a respectable 1.5 rating during its seven years on NBC, but the network pulled the plug after PokerStars and Full Tilt Poker, two of the show’s biggest advertisers, were removed from the U.S. market.

The National Heads-Up Poker Championship is mostly an invitation-only event featuring 64 of the world’s top poker players and celebrities. Phil Hellmuth won the inaugural event in 2005, and he was followed into winner’s circle by several heavy hitters, including Chris Ferguson, Ted Forrest, Annie Duke, and reigning champ Erik Seidel.

The show is produced by Poker PROductions, the same company that produces the World Series of Poker for ESPN, as well as Poker After Dark. In an interview with PokerNews in February, producer Mori Eskandani said there was a "90 percent chance" that the event would return to TV in 2013.

"That’s a very fun event and I know it’s going to be sorely missed this year, but it’s coming back," Eskandani told Chad Holloway. "All these shows are coming back, it’s just that things got murky out there, and like I said, all of a sudden there were dark clouds up there. I know it’s still there and all of us are hoping it’ll go away. I’m confident, I have a lot of faith in our justice system, and I think things will get worked out."

Aria Introduces Multi Action Poker

The Aria poker room might be on the brink of something big. On Wednesday, the room launched a new poker format dubbed Multi Action Poker, a new format intended to increase the action of live poker — similar to the multi-table options you'd find online.

The table may look odd and unique, but the concept is simple: each player is dealt two hands, each of which will be placed over a red spot and a blue spot separated by a wooden plank to distinguish hole cards and chip stacks from each player. The table will remain a nine-handed game with two dealers facing each other in the middle of the table with two decks in play. There will also be different colored chip stacks, but for the time being, Aria has not implemented this technique.

Aria officials explain that the games will start off as limit hold’em but are open to the players wants if there’s interest. “For speed, it’s definitely better suited for limit games,” Timothy Frazin, creator of the game, told PokerFuse. “But it’s not called multi speed poker; it’s called Multi Action Poker. If you want action, it’s built for action.”

Many players have tweeted photos and posted mixed reactions on the TwoPlusTwo forums. Frazin initially thought of the idea in 2007 but didn’t act on it until recently. Using trial runs, he has already worked out the quirks to run a smooth game.

“I love the action,” said Frazin. “And if you’re a casual player, this could draw you in.”

PokerFuse has more.

Celebs, Poker Pros Go All-In for CP

On Saturday, Dec. 8, the Fifth Annual All-In for CP charity poker tournament will be held at the Venetian in Las Vegas. The event, co-hosted by actress Cheryl Hines and poker pro Karina Jett, aims to raise funds toward easing the lives of those with cerebral palsy.

The charity tournament kicks off at 2 p.m. PST and features a $500+$40 buy-in with $200 rebuys for the first 90 minutes. Among the celebrities and poker pros scheduled to attend are Donnie Wahlberg, Sam Simon, Jennifer Tilly, Joe Jonas, Rick Tocchet, Mekhi Phifer, Scotty Nguyen, Mike Sexton, Mike Matusow, Antonio Esfandiari, Patrik Antonius, Andy Bloch, and Phil Laak.

Players who reach the final table will receive a share of more than $25,000 in cash and prizes. There will also be on-site raffles with rare and collectible memorabilia.

The One Step Closer Foundation has raised more than $460,000 in the first four All-In for CP charity poker tournaments, including $290,000 in 2011 alone. The event is the brainchild of Jacob Zalewski, who copes with cerebral palsy and serves as president and CEO of the One Step Closer Foundation. Over the years, Zalewski has made friends with many of poker’s biggest stars, many of whom support his foundation by playing in the event.

Here's a look at some of the highlights from last year:

Get more information about the great event at the One Step Closer Foundation website.

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