It doesn't have the buildup of a Manny Pacquiao versus Floyd Mayweather Jr. bout, but the kickboxing match between Lex Veldhuis and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier is a week away and drawing interest from the poker community. In this edition of the Nightly Turbo, we bring you the the rules and stipulations for the long-awaited fight, as well as more than a dozen operators applying for Spanish gambling licenses, and more.
In Case You Missed It
Day 1a of the PokerStars European Poker Tour Loutraki event is in the books. Find out which players survived the day in our recap.
Poker crowned a new world champion last week. Rich Ryan explains why Pius Heinz runs better than every other world champ in his latest Five Thoughts piece.
Need a new book to read at the tables? Check out our review of Kevin Cook’s new book, Titanic Thompson: The Man Who Bet on Everything.
Veldhuis vs. ElkY in the Ring
We've been waiting more than two years for the kickboxing match between Team PokerStars Pros Lex Veldhuis and Bertrand "ElkY" Grospellier. The fight is exactly a week away, and Veldhuis has laid out the official rules and stipulations on his blog.
The match, on Nov. 22, will consist of five three-minute rounds and there will be a winner only if a fighter is knocked out or quits. Otherwise, the match is a wash. Spinning kicks and punches are permitted, but headbutts, elbows and kicks to the groin are not allowed. There will be a judge in the ring to make sure the rules are enforced.
Veldhuis is confident he's going to win, saying that Grospellier's "coordination seems a bit bad and I don't think he is a natural athlete." However, he does admit that his friend is in better shape and that all in all the matchup is pretty even.
"I am more athletic and I have better coordination, plus some experience in fights," Veldhuis writes. "ElkY is in better shape and has been working out more consistently, going on special training camps and putting in a lot of hours."
We're exited for this fight to go down, but Doyle Brunson appears to be worried for their well-being.
Online Operators Apply for Spanish Gambling License
Spain is expected to become the next European nation to establish an online gambling network on Jan. 1, 2012, and online gambling operators are moving swiftly to carve out a slice of the new Spanish market.
According to Egaming Review, 16 private European operators have completed or are in the process of finalizing the necessary paperwork to apply for a Spanish license. Sources close to the situation told eGaming Review that PokerStars, 888, Ladbrokes, Betfair, bwin.party and William Hill are among the companies that will apply for the license, which will cost an initial €2m.
Several operators have decided not to apply for a Spanish license in the first phase. The lure of the Spanish market is lessened by a steep 25 percent tax on each operator's net income. The new regime will also not permit slots, video poker or sports betting, leaving many operators skeptical that their business could be profitable.
Spain's new online gambling framework will follow the same initiatives in European countries such as France and Italy. Denmark and Germany are also in the process of regulating their online gambling markets.
Read more at Egaming Review.
Online Poker Traffic Report
The online poker traffic numbers from last week have been released. PokerScout.com reported a slide of 7.9 percent across all sites and networks, which can mostly be attributed to the conclusion of PokerStars' 70 Billionth Hand promotion.
One week after seeing its traffic increase by 22 percent, PokerStars dropped 18 percent last week but still maintained a stranglehold on the competition. PartyPoker held on to the No. 2 spot for the eighth consecutive week, and iPoker was close behind in third. The rest of the top 10 remained the same, and Bodog made a move back to No. 13 after dropping two spots last week.
As for year-over-year numbers, PokerScout's ACES indicator reports that online poker traffic (with the exception of Italy) has decreased by 30 percent from last year. The loss of Full Tilt Poker and the CEREUS Network plays a big hand in that number, but the International Poker Network (down 42%), Entraction Network (down 23%) and Ongame Network (down 21%) have all seen significant declines since November 2010. The biggest climbers in the past year are 888poker (up 76%), the Merge Gaming Network (up 70%) and Bodog (up 61%).
Get the full report at PokerScout.com.
Betfair Signs Hans Martin Vogl
Online gambling behemoth Betfair has revealed that German poker pro Hans Martin Vogl is the newest member of Team Betfair Poker. Vogl, a former Full Tilt Poker Red Pro, joins John Tabatabai as part of the site's team of sponsored pros.
Vogl honed his poker skills online with a $5,000 bankroll he earned through sports betting. His brightest moment as a poker pro came in 2007 when he qualified for the Aussie Millions Main Event on Betfair and went on to fifth place for $400,000.
Now, he returns to Betfair, where it all began.
"With Betfair I have gone back to my roots,” Vogl said. “Apart from the attractive poker promotions and great staff at Betfair, I appreciate the size, integrity and expertise of one of the largest online gambling companies in the world. I’m looking forward to a successful partnership.”
Read more about Vogl at Betfair.com.
Pescatori Takes Lead at PartyPoker Premier League
In the first heat of the PartyPoker Premier League Mixed Game Championship, we sawJames Dempsey and Andrew Feldman wisely use their double-up card to earn double points for their respective victories. On Tuesday, Max Pescatori kept that trend going by earning 16 points in Heat 2 of Group A, moving him to the top of the leaderboard heading into the last heat before the final.
Pescatori defeated Tony G heads-up in the pot-limit Omaha round to move past Dempsey in first place in the group. Dempsey took sixth place in Heat 2, earning no points but still sits second overall in the standings. Tony G is third but will have to fend off Matt Giannetti, Schwartz and Jen Tilly in the final heat to earn his spot at the final. Tilly is the only player in Group A that hasn't used her double-up card.
The top three point-getters for each group will earn a spot in the six-handed final. Here's a look at the leaderboard of Group A after two heats:
The full standings and details from each heat can be found at PartyPoker.com.
Full Tilt Poker Entities File Claims for $98 Million
On Tuesday, Full Tilt Poker board member Chris Ferguson filed several separate claims on assets related to the Black Friday bank account seizures at Full Tilt Poker.
The entities, listed as Pocket Kings Consulting Ltd., Pocket Kings Ltd., Tiltware LLC., Kolyma Corporation A.V.V., Vantage Ltd., and Filco Ltd., each filed claims for property with the New York Southern District Court.
Three of the documents asserted that each of the defendants “has right, title, or interest to all funds in the accounts seized by the Department of Justice." One of the documents, pertaining to Kolyma Corporation A.V.V. and Vantage Ltd., lists several bank accounts totaling $98,276,540 in assets.
Read more about this story at PokerNews.com.
PokerNews in Greece!
The PokerStars European Poker Tour is in Greece for the Main Event in Loutraki. PokerNews' Sarah Grant explored the city's gorgeous surroundings and history.