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The Nightly Turbo: Natalia Nikitina Wins WPT National Series EFOP Paris, Team PokerStars Challengers, and More

Natalia Nikitina

We're not sure how it happened, but it's already Wednesday, and the only thing we can hope for is that the remaining two days of this work week go as quickly as the first two. In tonight's Nightly Turbo, we've got the results from the World Poker Tour National Series in Paris, the details on the Team PokerStars Challengers, and more.

In Case You Missed It

The 10th Annual European Poker Awards were held Sunday night at the Queenie Club in Paris. Want to know who took home a trophy? Check out our EPA recap.

The World Series of Poker Circuit Tunica stop finished up Tuesday night, and a winner was crowned. Find out how Sam Barnhart navigated his way through the final table in our WSOP-C recap.

While at the WSOP-C in Tunica, Mississippi, we caught up with one of the players trying to qualify for a seat in the National Championship $1 Million Freeroll. Check out the latest PokerNews Interview, to find out more on Chris Tryba and his Circuit grind.

While the Poker Players Alliance didn't lobby to get the intrastate Internet gambling legislation passed in New Jersey, it will be there if the bill becomes law. Read what PPA executive director John Pappas has to say about the PPA's role in New Jersey.

*Photo courtesy of the PartyPoker Blog

From Russia, With Love

No, Natalia Nikitina is not the newest Bond girl, but she did take down the World Poker Tour National Series Euro Finals of Poker Diamond Championship early Wednesday morning. Nikitina was the last woman standing at the end of play, besting the 188-player field and taking home €243,830.

Nikitina battled Alexandre Brivot heads up, with the chip lead transferring hands a number of times before Brivot moved all in with king-jack and was called by Nikitina. Nikitina's ace-three held and all the chips were pushed her way.

“That was a long and hard contest,” she said shortly after her first live major tournament win, “Three hours before the end I was actually finding it hard to stay awake and keep concentrating on my game but I am delighted to win. I am going to celebrate by buying a BMW 6 Series," she said shortly after her win.

Sam Trickett, who has had a stellar year so far, was part of the final table, finishing in sixth place, good for €43,545.

Final Table Results

1. Natalia Nikitina - €243,830
2. Alexandre Brivot - €174,170
3. Jean-Louis Tepper - €113,210
4. Benjamin Pollak - €69,670
5. Tobias Wagner - €52,250
6. Sam Trickett - €43,545
7. Ingo Paulus - €34,835
8. Nicolo Calia - €26,120

Head on over to the PartyPoker Blog for more, including an interview with Nikitina.

Team PokerStars Challengers

While we'd like to say we stumbled across the Team PokerStars Challengers while playing online, it wouldn't be accurate because these guys are playing higher than our $.05/$.10 bankroll will allow us to play. We came across a thread on TwoPlusTwo titled, New "team pokerstars pro' [challenger] ?? and we decided to do a little investigative work. After an email or two to our sources, we've figured it out.

Team PokerStars Challengers are three players from Greece, George Kapalas (gkap13), Alexis Zervos (J0hnny_Dr@m@), and Stavros Kalfas (IDOLLS). The Challengers, who will be gradually introduced over the next few months, are professional players who are well-known in their local market by their performances online and on the European tournament circuit.

The three have agreed to take on a challenge to determine which one will be the best overall performer in 2011. Online tournament ROI, most live-event cashes, and SCOOP and WCOOP performances are some but not all the categories the three are competing in.

We've been told that PokerStars will be releasing more information on the Challengers soon, as well as a way to find out how they're performing.

Why don't you sign up for a PokerStars account and rail their tables, or take advantage of our sign up bonus.

Lend a Helping Paw

Every time the Sarah McLachlan SPCA commercial comes on, we have to turn away from the television. What can we say, we're suckers for animals. On May 21, you can help out the Nevada SPCA at the fifth annual Jennifer Harman Celebrity Poker Tournament at the Peppermill Resort Casino in Reno, Nevada. The event will be included in the Heartland Poker Tour's fall lineup of televised programming.

Players can enter individually for $230, or $2,500 per team, as part of the third annual Throw Down team competition. Teams will get a pro/celebrity team captain, customized jerseys, and more.

"The best thing about adopting a pet is experiencing their unconditional love. The Nevada SPCA ensures these once abandoned and abused animals are cared for, given loving homes, or live humanely in its no-kill shelter for the rest of their lives. Everyone who participates is actually saving a life, and that means so much to me," Harman said.

Jennifer Harman, Howard Lederer, Andy Bloch, Marco Traniello, Daniel Negreanu, Lacey Jones, Maria Ho, Antonio Esfandiari, Joe Sebok, and Barry Greenstein are just a few of the poker pros on slate to attend.

Want to find out more? Check out

Macau Poker Cup Begins Soon

As if the high-stakes cash games in Macau weren't enough to get poker players there, the Macau Poker Cup gets under way next week. Officials are calling for a record-breaking week for PokerStars Macau at Casino Grand Lisboa. The Red Dragon Main Event, which begins February 21, is boasting a HKD $3 million guarantee, and the 321-player record set in 2010 is expected to be smashed this year.

Both Day 1 flights have 200-player caps and already, more than half of the Day 1a cap is occupied by PokerStars qualifiers. Marcel Luske, Pieter de Korver, Celina Lin, Raymond Wu, and Bryan Huang have been confirmed as planning to attend the event.

Find out more at, and while you're at it, we can't think of a reason not to sign up for a PokerStars account and qualify for some events.

Be sure to follow us on Twitter for up-to-the-minute news and become a fan on Facebook.

We are tired of tiny freerolls, no doubt you are too. If so then check out our $34,000 Monster Pot Freeroll series with Poker770 – only a $20 deposit and 20 poker770 points to qualify.

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