Bad news, Jason Mercier fanboys (and girls). The poker superstar is officially off the market. Mercier announced via Twitter Friday that girlfriend Erica Holland had accepted his marriage proposal. As word traveled through Twitterverse during the day, Mercier received felicitations from the poker community — and so did his horses.
In other news, a trial date for indicted Black Friday principles John Campos and Chad Elie has been targeted for next March, and Jesper Hougaard found an online poker sponsor. Read about those stories and more in your Friday edition of the Nightly Turbo.
In Case You Missed It
How was the high-stakes action at the PokerStars tables this week? Read the Online Railbird Report to find out the week's biggest winners and losers.
Who's leading the way at the World Poker Tour event in Prague? Find out in our Day 1a recap.
What do you buy for the poker play who has everything? We've put together a list of ideas to make your holiday shopping easier this month.
Sunday is almost here and that means football. Check out our picks and fantasy football advice for Week 13 in the latest Pigskin Diaries.
Miss anything this week? Sarah Grant and Kristy Arnett get you caught up on the latest news, views and gossip in the PokerNews Weekly.
Elie, Campos Face Trial
Chad Elie and John Campos, two of the 11 men indicted on Black Friday for their involvement in alleged fraud and money laundering associated with online poker sites, were told Thursday by U.S. District Judge Lewis Kaplan that their case is likely to go to trial in March.
The two men had filed motions to dismiss the April 15 indictment filed against them by U.S. Attorney Preet Bharara, but Judge Kaplan listened to arguments from both sides Thursday before telling attorneys to expect a trial on March 12.
“I think it's extraordinarily unlikely the entire indictment will be dismissed,” Kaplan said at the end of the hearing, according to Forbes.
Lawyers for Elie and Campos argued that the U.S. law making it illegal for businesses to make transactions with unlawful online gambling companies doesn't apply to poker because it is a game of skill. Elie, a former payment processor for PokerStars, Full Tilt Poker, and Absolute Poker, and Campos, the vice chairman of a Utah Bank that processed payments for the three sites, filed motions to dismiss the case in October.
According to Forbes, Kaplan seemed unsympathetic to many of the arguments put forward by lawyers representing Campos and Elie, openly disagreeing with some of their points. With a trial on the horizon, Kaplan will now have to decide whether or not a jury will be asked to determine if poker constitutes illegal gambling.
Read more on this story at Forbes.
Jesper Hougaard Signs with Bet24
Denmark's Jesper Hougaard is the newest sponsored pro at Bet24.com, a European online poker room residing on the OnGame network.
Hougaard, also known as "Kipster" online, has compiled an impressive list of poker accomplishments since turning pro in 2007. At the 2008 World Series of Poker, he won a $1,500 no-limit hold'em tournament for $610,300, and followed that up with a bracelet at the WSOP Europe in 2009 to become the first player to win bracelets in Las Vegas and London. Hougaard is also one of only a few players two win the PokerStars Sunday Million twice.
“I’m very excited to be signed by Bet24.com and I’m sure that with me as team captain Bet24 I can be a great ambassador to makeBet24.com the leading betting company and the natural choice for poker players in Denmark after the legislation. It feels very good to be on the winning team," Hougaard said.
Hougaard's deal with Bet24 will take effect on Jan. 1, 2012, but he will be in Prague for the European Poker Tour later this month.
Read more about Hougaard at Bet24.com.
MGM Resorts Files Suit Over Domain Names
MGM Resorts International has filed suit against four individuals and two companies for trademark infringement. The lawsuit, which was filed Thursday in the U.S. District Court in Las Vegas, claims that each of the defendants registered poker-related websites between 2002 and 2005 that used names of the following MGM properties: bellagioonlinepoker.com, circuscircuspoker.com, excaliburpoker.com, luxorpoker.com, mandalaybayonlinepoker.com, mgmpoker.com and ariapoker.com.
The lawsuit charges that casino names have become famous because of billions of dollars MGM spent advertising and promoting them over the years, according to the report. MGM claims that the defendants are trying to capitalize on MGM's investment in each property. Attorneys for MGM Resorts have requested a temporary restraining order against the defendants that would block them from using the domain names.
Read more on the story at PokerNews.com.
Another Mega Milestone Promotion at PokerStars
In case you needed more incentive to log into PokerStars during its 10th Anniversary celebration, the online poker site has announced it is giving away more than $750,000 for a special 72 Billionth Hand promotion in December.
Traditionally, PokerStars only runs the milestone hands promotion for every 5 billion hands, but more than 1,000 players will earn cash prizes leading up to hand No. 72 billion this time around. Winners will earn cash every millionth hand from 71,770,000,000 through 72,000,000,000, and everyone dealt into the mega milestone 72 billionth hand will get at least $10,000.
One change made to this promotion is the disabling of all heads-up tables a few hours in advance of the mega milestone hand being dealt. You may recall the two winners of the 70 billionth hand "fast-folding" leading up to the mega milestone hand, and PokerStars has decided to make heads-up games unavailable to prevent anything similar in the future.
Get more info at the PokerStars Blog.
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